Lessons Learned: Making a Market in Foreign Exchange
00:00 Kevin Millien: My name is Kevin Millien. I am the Chief Operating Officer of Boston Technologies, a Boston-based software company that provides training technology to banks and brokerages for online foreign exchange trading.
How did you come up with the idea?
00:15 Millien: Like most of our best ideas, it was... It came to us from a customer. We don't pretend to be the smartest guys in the room, but generally the most attentive. So a customer came to us and said "We need a way of accessing our training facility at Dresdner Bank." So we called Dresdner Bank, told them what the customer needed, and then we brainstormed with them on ways to be able to create something that hadn't existed yet. So what my company does is we... In the foreign exchange market, there's no central exchange. So what that means is that for different market participants to be able to trade with each other, they have to form a bilateral relationship and form a bilateral technology relationship, which means they have to do customer integrations with each other. Well, absence of any central exchange, a company like mine will have all the tools that you will need to plug into us, and we can connect two different participants on either end without them having to talk to each other and figure out how to connect to each other and send trades to each other.
What makes you stand out from other trading solutions?
01:15 Millien: We're highly opportunistic, so we seized on a few things. One is real agility. So, there's a lot of solutions in the marketplace that if you band... You tie them all together with a piece of string, you probably have a solution that looks like what our modern-day platform looks like now, but I think the uniqueness that we bring to the marketplace is fact that we have so many products off the shelf, we have 53 different products and services that we offer to the marketplace, and what ends up feeling like a really unique and innovative product is really a combination of a few different products and services that we take off the shelf, tie together in unique ways, and it feels like a very custom-tailored solution when we give it to the customer. So it's using the best of what we have to really deliver the most value we can to the clients.
Do you bring transparency to the market?
02:03 Millien: There's an immense amount of transactions that go through the marketplace on a daily basis. So for us, it was an obvious marketplace to tackle because there is so much fragmentation, and so having a solution that can literally connect different pools and different constituencies in the marketplace, it'll take some time, but we really see the ability to unify the market in a broader sense. When you bring a lot of information all in one place, you get a few things. You get price discovery, you get a highly competitive marketplace, both of which force people to be honest, and capital markets do have to be incentivized to be honest and to deliver a fair price and fair terms. So, I think the more that we can leverage our connections and leverage our network to drive these participants together, I think that's a lot more transparency will emerge as a result.