The Revolution of AI in Businesses

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Over the years, as I navigated through various business domains, I encountered operational challenges and efficiency bottlenecks. From tech start-ups and fintech to real estate and green energy, my entrepreneurial journey has been marked by innovation. The rapid advancements in AI over the past decade have made it an indispensable tool for modern businesses. As an early adopter, I’ve consistently been attracted to the promise of emerging technologies, especially AI, and its transformative potential in challenging traditional paradigms. At its core, the AI business model works as a catalyst for growth, aiding in refining your business model and enhancing decision-making on both internal and external strategic fronts. However, understanding ‘what’ and ‘how’ AI can offer opportunities is crucial.

How I Began Implementing AI In My Businesses

Blog Understanding the advantages of AI is one thing; implementing it is another. Here are the steps to consider:
  • Defining your Vision
Start by clearly defining the objectives you aim to achieve with AI. Before diving into it, pinpoint your goals. Whether it's automation, product enhancement, or improved decision-making processes, knowing your objectives will guide your search for the right AI solutions.
  • Spot the Use Cases
Once your goals are clear, delve into specific applications that resonate with your startup’s ethos. For instance, if you’re considering several AI marketing tools, ensure they align with your marketing strategy.
  • Do Your Homework
Before investing, research to find the ideal AI tool for your initiative. Understand the technology, its potential risks, and limitations. Factor in your budget and your team’s tech proficiency.
  • Employee Training
As you integrate, ensure your team is equipped to maximize its potential. The journey of AI success is a learning curve, driven by your team’s adaptability.
  • Start Small, Aim Big:
When introducing new tech, it's best to start with manageable projects and gradually scale up. Start with a simple project that you can complete quickly, test rigorously, and then progressively tackle more complex projects. Always be prepared to adapt to unexpected outcomes.
  • Gradual Implementation
After achieving some early successes, resist the urge to implement AI across the entire business immediately. As above, start small, test, iterate then build out. You need to give your team time to get used to using AI and integrating it into their workflows and also in the culture and always monitor customer feedback.
  • Continuous Assessment
AI solutions should never be left on autopilot. Regularly evaluate the value and cost-effectiveness of the AI tools in use. If a tool is not delivering, adjust until you strike the right balance.  

How AI Revolutionized My Businesses


Automated Customer Interactions

The first noticeable change was in customer interactions. By implementing AI-driven chatbots, my businesses were able to offer 24/7 assistance, significantly reducing overhead costs and drastically improving customer satisfaction rates. Within months, I witnessed higher engagement and increased loyalty—testament to the power of personalized and instantaneous support.

Data Driven Decisions

Another revolutionary change was in data analytics. My startups were able to process vast amounts of data, extracting actionable insights in real-time. This deep understanding of customer behavior enabled us to refine our offerings, predict market trends, and proactively tackle potential challenges.

Enhancing Operations & Productivity

My teams once spent considerable time on routine tasks. AI introduced efficiencies, reducing these timelines by an impressive 50%. From automating document verification to predicting market fluctuations, AI's integration translated to faster decision-making, reduced errors, and an overall increase in operational efficiency. This freed up time was redirected towards innovation.

AI in Marketing & Sales

From predictive analytics to sentiment analysis, AI in marketing aids in market research, facilitates content creation, and automates campaigns. Furthermore, AI-driven sales processes, like chatbots, handle traffic and convert sales efficiently.

Talent Acquisition

Hiring is often a challenge for startups. AI can streamline the process by screening CVs, automating interview schedules, and ensuring a smooth hiring process, ultimately securing top talent.  


  Reflecting on AI's role in my businesses, I see its value not just in advanced tech but in tangible, measurable outcomes. The hours saved, the dollars not spent, the resources freed up represent tangible benefits, not just abstract concepts. These gains have empowered me to focus on growth, innovation, and pioneering change. AI, for me, isn't an option; it's a necessity. It's the edge that every entrepreneur, including myself, needs in this ever-evolving business landscape. As technology continues to advance, I believe the potential of AI will only grow, further revolutionizing the business landscape.  
With over 12 years of experience in the business environment, my investment portfolio is both diversified and extensive. From nurturing early-stage startups in tech to investing in groundbreaking ventures in green energy and real estate, my day-to-day activities center around analyzing market trends and making calculated investment decisions. This multifaceted involvement not only broadens my understanding but also uniquely positions me to interpret complex economic landscapes. One question, increasingly urgent for both business leaders and investors, looms large: "Why are all the big companies firing employees?" The critical nature of this issue demands a thorough review. Let's delve into the forces currently at play. 

COVID-19 and Evolution of Tech Companies 

  The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the digitization process, fueling tech giants. However, this rapid growth came at a cost. In the quest to dominate market share, these companies aggressively expanded their workforce. Yet, as the pandemic eases, diminished advertising revenues have led to financial strains. The result is overstaffed, inefficient tech companies with work-from-home policies that are proving less effective than initially anticipated.   

Fears of Global Recession: USA, EU, China 

  Blog   Concerns of a looming recession are not restricted to one geographical area; from the United States to the European Union and China, the anxiety is widespread. Large companies are taking precautionary measures, bracing for a potential downturn.   

High Inflation 

  Skyrocketing inflation, coupled with rising interest rates, is adding fuel to the fire. Businesses across the board are feeling the impact, from increased supply chain costs to surging employee wages, putting additional pressure on already weakened balance sheets.   

Negative Cash Flows 

  Despite impressive revenue figures, various tech giants, like Amazon's robotics division and Meta's Bulletin, are experiencing negative cash flows. The era of unchecked innovation appears to be meeting its financial limits, prompting a reassessment of corporate strategies.   

AI Innovations and the Irony of Progress 

  Blog   Ironically, the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI), once proclaimed as the future, is contributing to layoffs. Technological advancements in automation and intelligent systems are making several job roles redundant. Yet, it's important to note that the AI revolution is not just eliminating jobs; it's also reshaping job requirements. New roles are emerging that require skills in data analysis, machine learning, and algorithmic decision-making. These roles often demand a level of specialization and adaptability that wasn't as critical in the past. The transition we're witnessing is less about the wholesale loss of jobs and more about a shift in the kinds of skills that will be highly valued in the future.   

Industry Maturity vs. Investor Expectations 

  As industries mature, expectations change. A sector can't be in a hypergrowth stage forever. The transition from hypergrowth to a mature industry is a bittersweet moment. For investors, the expectations have shifted; the thrilling spectacle of skyrocketing growth rates is now replaced by sober evaluations focusing on sustainability and profit margins.   

Is This Just the Tip of the Iceberg? 

  Given the current landscape of widespread layoffs and market instability, one must question whether this is the beginning of a larger, unsettling trend. Early indicators suggest a significant shift that transcends the tech industry.   

In Chaos, Lie Unseen Opportunities 

  History has shown that no company is too large to fail. Those that do not adapt face the risk of becoming cautionary tales. However, turbulent times often reveal untapped investment opportunities, potentially offering high returns both financially and socially.   

Final Thoughts 

  In these volatile times, the landscape is ripe with both challenges and opportunities. For discerning investors, now may be the moment to reevaluate and reposition portfolios. As the saying goes, "In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity." The key is to seize it.   

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” 

Looking back to the starting point, we’ve come a long way in understanding what it takes to build a brokerage house. Without question, if you remain consistent, committed to the finish, and realistic about your goals, your time and effort will finally pay off. You now have well-shaped products, reputable licenses, versatile payment services, and top-tier liquidity providers connecting you to exchanges, so all in one, your trading infrastructure is just about ready to welcome clients aboard. In the 4th article of the series, I will lay down the ground structure of your Marketing department, or at least how it’s supposed to look & function in different stages of your company’s evolution. Then we’ll talk about Governance, from the Board of Directors and shareholders to Compliance officers. You also need people talking about your products, so, apart from Marketing, you’ll have to build strong Sales teams and a well-oiled Back Office.  

Get the Marketing Machine Moving


                    Almost every business relies heavily on marketing to increase sales and recognition, so you’ll need to devote considerable time and effort to assembling your team. Strategies shift from an early stage to an advanced point, depending on the company’s progress bar. I thought of dividing your marketing needs into 3 phases: the early, mid-range, and high-level phase that coincides with the peak of your company’s growth process.  

Early Marketing

Blog                 Worldwide there are 4.9 billion internet users with purchasing power and specific consumer behavior. The main questions you need to ask yourself in this early stage are related to your target audience and communication channels. In a later stage, you’ll have to focus on a multi-channel approach, but, for the moment, the secret is to keep it lean and have minimum requirements from your marketing department.  

Basics to Start With

  Planning is one of the most significant tasks in the marketing department. It involves a marketing strategy to match your company’s objectives, identify customer personas, determine content initiatives, define KPIs, do competitive studies, and establish the budget. To bring in leads and start representing the company outward, you’ll first need a Digital Marketing Manager to distribute your budget between:
  • PPC (Pay Per Click)/ media buying
  • Automation
  • Affiliation
  • Front-end development
  • Outsourced design & content
  I. With PPC (Pay Per Click), you pay when someone actually clicks or engages with your ads. For reporting, you begin with conversion data and move to traffic metrics. On the other hand, for media buying, you pay upfront for ad views and get reports for awareness metrics & reach. II. With automation, you’ll be using technology across multiple channels and actually make a difference if you absorb and touch base with the latest trends. Using as much automation as possible helps bring potential consumers closer to your sales pitch. After all, studies show a significant increase in lead numbers and conversions when using marketing automation software. Blog                     III. On the affiliate side, make sure you have competitive payouts (do some research to see what others are paying), a robust tracking system that allows affiliates to check their performance, and fast & professional assistance for them. Taking care of affiliates guarantees your product receives the necessary exposure to efficiently attract new clients. IV. You’ll need at least 1 Front-End Developer, also known as a client-side developer, to produce HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for your website or Web Application. He’s at the crossroads of design and engineering, blending personas, pixels, and polish with the realm of logic and loops. V. As for Design & Content, you can outsource the services at this stage. Most agencies charge between $80 and $200 per hour for digital marketing. Just make sure your briefs are thorough enough and can generate content and creatives to match your projections.  

Mid-Range Marketing

Blog                   Usually, it's not a matter of if but when your brokerage house hits the mid-range threshold. Most players in the market dwell in this juicy phase, where a lot of change is happening, and you start to get traction. You've just come out of the simmering stage and need to ramp up your marketing efforts for advanced brand recognition. You'll start focusing on how you rank in your client's preferences and your overall ratings, so here is a breakdown of what's next:  

Marketing Managers

  • Apart from the early requirements, you now need Marketing Managers for each subdepartment or office you may have in different corners of the world. It's almost impossible to single-handedly coordinate everything, so having someone in charge of each division of your marketing machine is crucial. Your trusted CMO should oversee the entire activity, approve plans & strategies, and maintain a steady flow of communication.

PR, Internal & External Branding

  • The most valuable asset your company has is the brand. Write that down. Then ask yourself what you can do to protect it and make it stand out at the same time. Use PR campaigns to build trust and stability, bring new launches into the spotlight, and manage your online reputation. In the end, this will only increase your client numbers and rank.
  • Any marketing activity carried out under your brand name can be called branding to some extent. Make the most out of the Social Media platforms, do profile building, link building (SEO), reach out to as many influencers you can afford, put up some outdoor ads, go for radio advertising, and everything else that counts as an external branding effort.
  • When it comes to internal branding, your focus should be on employee morale and company culture. When you finally have a well-thought-out internal brand, you'll find that your staff is more engaged and productive, so it's a win-win on both sides.

Conferences, Summits, Presentations, Sponsorships

  • You'd be surprised to find out what an excellent conversion rate you can achieve by simply hosting some product-related presentations, such as the Coffee Trading workshops one of my marketing managers thought of. Meet with your clients, attend themed conferences, be active and visible, and leave them wanting more.
  • Sponsorships work effectively when you're pushing for brand awareness. You can try attaching your name to a big sports game, as I did with Juventus F.C., one of football's G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Time), or music festivals, art shows, business expos, you name it. Be prepared to spend considerable cash, from 20-30K for some influencers to millions of dollars for big names out there. Then harness sponsorships' power through personalized content, email marketing, and social media. As a result of your activation efforts, you get more leads that will eventually become paying customers.

Social Media & How to Diversify Further

  • Although social media is mostly used for social networking, it has become a powerful tool for advertising a company's name and products online. With the power of social media, you can quickly reach many people while simultaneously reducing costs. At this point in history, I don't think it's complete bollocks to say Tik-Tok may supply the next president to God know what country, so don't underestimate the impact social media platforms could have on your business.
  • When I say diversify further, I mean you should consider selling your technology to 3rd parties that may include White Labels, IBs, or any other partners interested in your offer. It goes without saying that you should have everything stable and tested, ready to be sold as a premium package of products & services. This time it's you who's selling, so tables do turn if you put your back into it.

High-Level Marketing


                  If you've reached this level, kudos to you! Few brokerages houses make it this far, so take time to breathe in the thin air, then start strategizing again. Everyone expects the world from you now, so reaching new heights gets trickier while free falling is a constant reminder.  

How to Look After Your Business When You're On Top

  • I suggest you add B2B services at an institutional level, selling your products & services to other businesses and organizations. B2B is very different from B2C marketing, which is geared toward consumers. In B2B, you need to guarantee the highest level of security and compliance and spot-on solutions for your institutional clients.
  • At this point, you should be even more concerned with branding and pursuing global partnerships & ambassadors that could help you stabilize your market position in the long term. You can choose ambassadors from cinema, football, racing, tennis, UFC, and even extreme sports such as the wingsuit flying industry. The budget here is in the millions of dollars. Let's assume your Branding Manager has good negotiating skills. In this case, you might even be able to strike a deal for less than a million and use the ambassador's image for only 3-4 months, with limited posts and reach on their part.
  • When your company name is on everyone's lips or at least talked about in your market segment, why not focus on Environmental, Social, and Governance ("ESG") factors? Your relationship with your customers can be well nurtured due to such a smart move. When your clients show interest in ESG, broker-dealers should consider these preferences part of the know-your-customer ("KYC") process and use them as a sidekick on the road to greatness.


  The business world is definitely not for everyone. However, considering that you are reading my 4th article on Building a Brokerage House, it shows that you've already embarked on this journey, or just gathering priceless information to give you an edge for when you're ready to start. I've tried to fit everything into a logical, step-by-step approach, similar to how I've managed to succeed in this field and many others. However, no matter how much you write and explain, nothing compares to each entrepreneur's real, on-the-spot experience. This article will be continued in a future post, in which we'll discuss Governance, Compliance, Back Office, and Sales in detail. Stay tuned, and always on top of things!
This is the third post in the Building a Brokerage House series. The first article sketched the business’s general layout, helping you define your services, product package, and target audience, while the second article put the intricate regulation side in perspective. I’m about to go deeper into the subject and reveal the next moves you need to make to see your business take off and adjust your strategies as you go along. Every broker-dealer is different, but calibrating technology to your business model follows the same pattern, so I’ll share a breakdown of costs, skills, technology & payment providers, connection to exchanges, and everything else I find useful for you to know.  

Internal vs. Outsourced Development

Blog                   Between 2000-2005 trading was the prerogative of informed and institutional investors. However, with the growing internet and smartphone spike, technology has rewired the trading infrastructure, allowing retail clients to access the markets and use derivative instruments, increasing trading volumes and liquidity.   Blog                     Because everyone is now focusing on technology, your startup needs to constantly advance the backend & frontend and automate most of the processes, but first, you’ll have to choose between: 1. Internal Development 2. Outsourced Development 3. A mix between Internal and Outsourced


Internal Development

  Most of us dream of becoming the architects of our vision, but it’s paramount to understand that doing everything in-house may involve not only huge costs but teams of highly-skilled professionals. You may spend hundreds, if not millions of euros a year and gain an advantage of nanoseconds over your competitors.


  • You build everything from scratch and get total freedom over design, features, integration, and functionalities.
  • You adjust along the way and save time by not waiting for outsourced developers to start working on your requests.
  • You manage your own teams, which gives you a free hand in picking them out and leading them towards your goals.



  • The overall costs are massive and could cripple your business from the start.
  • It’s not cheap to have Dev-Ops Engineers, considering they rank in the top five of all tech salaries, commanding an average pay of €106,000.
  • It’s unrealistic to claim that the entire technology ecosystem can be developed internally, so you’ll have to reach deep into your pocket and pay for extra services and integrations as well.

Outsourced Development

  This approach may be sensible for a brokerage house just starting out. Paying for already-developed services, such as a Whitelabel, with rule-based automation can spare you the nuisance of doing everything yourself. You’ll be able to focus on improving the customer experience, create partnerships to sustain your cash flow needs, and strategize for better and faster ROIs.


  • The start-off is cheaper, ranging from €250,000 to €500,000, and it gives you extra space to funnel your funds into other areas of your business.
  • You get a determined product package accompanied by a support network.
  • Apart from the platform and features, they provide API for all your other integration processes.



  • Most of the 3rd party services you pay for are pre-built with little room for development or customization.
  • You still have to make a lot of additional integrations and pay tens of thousands per month for hosting, technical support, maintenance & change requests, feed, liquidity, and Back Office.
  • Depending on the business plan you acquire and the technology provider’s availability and priorities, all your development tickets will take time.
  • You just rent the technology, you don’t own it, which means that every additional request will pile up as an extra cost for you.

A mix between Internal and Outsourced

  In my experience, paying for a Whitelabel and adding internal developments might be what you’re looking for at this point. You can buy the platform & features, brand them, negotiate as much as you can for extended permissions to customize, then proceed with the CRM, payments, and liquidity processors integrations yourself. Basically, you need a predefined structure that you can fashion to your necessities.  

Essential Integrations to Get the Ball Rolling


                    You now have a functional platform with various features. But there’s no business without clients, and you’re not going to have them unless you start receiving online payments.  

Choose the Best Payment Provider for Your Business

  If you want to smoothly run your customer payment process and set up your cash flow, online payments via payment gateways are the best way to go. You need a well-built system to handle sensitive information when charging clients’ debit/credit cards. The gateway transfers the transaction data and approves or declines the payment. This is when the payment processor comes in and acts as a mediator between the cardholder, merchant, acquiring bank, gateway, and issuing bank. It groups and manages all clients in one big merchant account, with almost the same rate and fee for all clients.   Blog  

Choose your PSP based on:

  1. Overall reputation: focus on longevity, quality, and level of support. 2. Service package: international coverage and multiple payment methods (debit cards, e-wallets, prepaid cards, mobile payments). 3. Technical requirements: API & iFrame connections. 4. Security protocols: the PSP must adhere to worldwide security standards, such as Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). 5. Account opening process: find out if it’s lengthy, time-consuming, or straightforward and less complicated. 6. Support services: a large number of payment rejection rates can lead to reduced profits. You’ll have to pay additional costs by 3–4.5% of direct debit payments for collections and warnings. Most PSPs can provide risk protection services to eliminate these additional charges. 7. Costs: PSPs usually have a one-time setup fee and a fixed monthly cost that could start as low as €475.

As a brokerage firm, you’ll also need to store customers’ funds in separate bank accounts, to ensure that they will never be misappropriated. Segregated accounts mean that the company cannot use the funds to conduct business operations. The money is secure in case the company goes bankrupt. Traders are more likely to trust brokers that offer segregated bank accounts, so it’s a win-win situation.  

Liquidity Providers & Connection to Exchanges

Blog                   A liquid market translates into smoother transaction flows and competitive pricing, so liquidity provision is essential for effective trading. The main purpose of a liquidity provider is to ensure an uninterrupted flow between demand and supply and provide the best buy and sell prices. If you choose an Electronic Communications Network/Straight Through Processing (ECN/STP) network to execute your clients’ trades, make sure to connect to multiple Tier 1 liquidity providers to secure the best spreads and dealing rates. When brokers connect to the exchanges, they typically use the FIX Protocol (Financial Information eXchange.) Most trading systems have FIX API connections available.  

To find the best liquidity provider, you’ll have to analyze several factors:

  1. Overall package: should provide multi-asset liquidity, nominated account in different currencies, and access to the FIX protocol and historical data. 2. Market depth: a high number of buy and sell at each price suggests a higher market depth, indicating market liquidity. 3. Fast execution: with re-quotes or slippage. 4. Pricing: competitive spreads and low commissions. 5. Data feeds: stable & reliable with feeds reflecting real-time prices from various exchanges. 6. Regulation: for best practices, the liquidity provider should adhere to strict rules and comply with regulations the same way a broker does. 7. Reporting: automated and compliant reporting system: trades, FIX bridge, swaps & rollovers, order book access. 8. Software: FIX protocol and other APIs, MT5 bridge connections, FIX bridges.  

Cost Estimates and How Brokers Make Money

Blog                   Apart from the core technology, there are additional costs for all integrations you need. You want extra features - you need to pay. You want constant developments - it adds up to your monthly bill. All service providers have various business plans you can choose from, and most of them leave room for negotiation, so write down your necessities and start searching for the ideal setup.  

I’ve rounded up some of the most important integrations you’ll have to make and the average costs of covering them.

Blog                   As for profits, you need to understand that commissions on trades are now a relic of the past since Robinhood disruptively eliminated them. You can still apply deposits/ withdrawals, inactivity, and overnight fees. Like most players in the industry, you can choose the bid-ask spread as a key source of revenue.  


  Nothing is as easy as it seems, especially when you want to go the entrepreneurial way. Building a Brokerage House takes more than just basic knowledge about the financial markets. It requires a large capital and in-depth research, high technology with key people, a great deal of willpower on your part, negotiation skills, and a trained eye for innovation opportunities. Expect the worst, but aim for the best and be prepared for a lengthy process. Even so, the rewards will definitely outmatch the obstacles and difficulties along the way. There are still some important sides of the business you need to be aware of, but I’ll leave it for the following articles in the series.   You can follow me on Twitter  and  LinkedIn!
In the first article from my new series, 'How to build a brokerage house', I reviewed all the essentials you need to know if getting into this line of business. I believe that today's market is full of untapped opportunities due to a lack of know-how and proper management of the disruptive challenges invading the fintech world. A deeper understanding of these technologies will help you gain new insights in this competitive field, then find a niche where you can grow. My second article on this topic will cover the licensing part and how to regulate your business.

What is a brokerage license?

Blog                   The brokerage license allows you to offer online trading services depending on the jurisdiction you choose and the regulatory entity covering the services you want to provide. So, once you've done your homework and feel ready to get started, you can think about the licensing and regulatory side of the business. Choosing the regulator helps you to: 1. Decide on the type of customers you are targeting 2. Have a clear idea of what services you can offer 3. Prepare the amount of capital you need 4. Establish the company's organizational chart Before I get into more details, I will discuss the pros and cons of having a brokerage license.

Pros and cons of a licensed broker


Pros of brokerage license:

  Credibility and authority boost A regulated business gives customers the certainty that you comply with the law and are committed to ethical business practices. Additional exposure to financial support Generally, a brokerage license can provide a seamless flow of funds, which, in turn, contributes to business development. Motivates investors Authenticity and credibility are something you can't earn overnight. To gain such benefits, a company must work within the letter of the law and maintain compliance without the slightest deviation. Such commitments can even help the business benefit from significant investment from outsiders. Discourages unfair practices Virtually every business that holds a brokerage license has an obligation to avoid unethical business practices.  

Cons of brokerage license:

  Strict financial obligations Obtaining a brokerage license has certain costs, both to receive and maintain it over time. I will talk about this later in the article. Ongoing monitoring and verification If you become a licensed broker, you should expect frequent visits from the regulated authorities to ensure the smooth running of the financial markets locally, such as the ASF in Romania. Lack of flexibility in marketing activities A brokerage license can limit your creativity in how you promote your online trading products and services.  

How does the regulatory and licensing part work?

  The world's major financial markets are constantly under the scrutiny of regulators designated to ensure that their activities comply with legal requirements. For example, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is responsible for the smooth running of capital markets in the United States. At the same time, for Europe, we have the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). Going even further, we have different regulators at the local level - BaFin in Germany, CNMV in Spain, CONSOB in Italy, and HCMC in Greece are just a few examples. Next, I will focus on the licensing side of the European market, as this is my forte in knowledge and expertise.

Brokerage Licensing in Europe - CySEC

Blog                   The Cyprus Securities Exchange Commission, known as CySEC, is the regulatory body for the financial industry in Cyprus. Its mission is to ensure the protection of investors and the prosperous growth of the securities market. As soon as Cyprus became a member state of the European Union (2004), CySEC's regulations and operations overlapped with the European financial regulatory framework, offering Cyprus-registered companies access to all European markets. Most companies currently licensed under CySEC are STP brokers or Market Makers offering access to online trading of financial instruments via Contracts for Difference (CFDs). Others handle asset management or investment advice. STP brokers and Market Makers - what are the differences?
  • STP brokers: they send all orders to the market
  • Market Maker (MM) brokers: they provide bid and offer quotes for specific financial instruments, which can be viewed and traded by individual clients on the broker's online platforms; under their risk management mandates, the Market Maker brokers may hold some or all market risks arising from client orders.


How can you set up a CIF (Cyprus Investment Firm)?

Blog                   According to the Legal Framework, a broker must set into place or outsource the following departments and functions to receive CySEC regulation and access to the rest of the European markets:
  • A Cyprus-established firm with local offices
  • It must have at least two executive and two non-executive directors
  • Management consisting of 2 senior managers (CEO & COO/Managing Director)
  • Trading room for receiving and transmitting customer orders and executing orders
  • Portfolio management department (if applicable)
  • Investment advisory department (if applicable) for providing personal recommendations to clients
  • Back Office for opening new accounts and maintaining and updating client files
  • Finance and Accounting Department for book-keeping and record-keeping of both CIF and client records
  • Marketing and Customer Service departments
  • IT department for the protection of the company's data, network, servers, and personal computers
  • Risk Manager for identifying and assessing risks, plus designing and implementing risk strategies or procedures
  • Compliance Officer responsible for the compliance of investment services and activities with the CIF's legal obligations
  • Internal auditor to ensure that the operations manual is up to date with the provisions of both internal processes/procedures and external legal obligations
  • Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Officer
The licensing process can take up to 6 months.   What are the minimum capital requirements? Depending on the investment services and the type of broker you choose, certain minimum capital requirements will apply. The levels are the following: 1. 50.000 € (without holding client funds) or 125.000 € (holding client funds) for STP brokers The services include reception and transmission of orders, execution of orders on behalf of clients, portfolio management, and investment advice (the last two require a special license). 2. 730.000 € for Market Makers In addition to the services rendered by STP brokers, Market Makers can also offer underwriting and placement of financial instruments on a firm commitment basis. Your clients will also benefit from the operation of the multilateral trading facility.  

What other types of brokerage licenses are there?


ASIC – Australia FCA Canada – Canada DFSA – UAE SFC – Hong Kong MAS – Singapore FCA UK – the UK I will elaborate more on UK licensing.  

UK brokerage license

  The regulations set by the FCA must be strictly followed by the licensor's customers and ensure long-term cooperation between the parties. Licenses for brokerage activities in the UK are issued to firms that fully comply with all UK legislation, have their own office in the UK, and have a certain amount of authorized capital. The main feature of the UK financial rules is the absence of clear restrictions on the amount available in the company's bank account: the applicant sets the required level himself, however, a form justifying the amount is added to the pile of documents. Confirmation of the account's funding level is often necessary together with the other papers. UK jurisdiction involves and requests the employment of UK residents in senior management positions. All other board representatives must have considerable financial management experience. The application form, branch information, and local bank accounts are essential for your request to be considered. Obtaining a brokerage license is impossible without registering a legal entity and opening an account. The brokerage license is issued after a thorough study of documents and tools for operating in the foreign exchange market. The main condition is an authorized capital of €125,000. Another mandatory requirement is the presence of at least 2 local directors (British citizens) in the company structure.

Other types of licenses - EMI and neobanking

Blog                   EMI
  • An EMI (Electronic Money Institution) license allows an e-money institution to operate. An EMI license can open many opportunities, such as expanding your business worldwide by opening IBAN, SWIFT, and SEPA accounts and offering your own payment cards.
  • Early summer of 2018, the Romanian government took emergency measures in e-money regulation and EMI activities in the country.
  • Here are some of the provisions that came into force:
  • authorized capital of 350,000 euros;
  • BNR (the National state bank) must approve the company’s management
  • credit structures, legal entity-issuers, and postal service providers releasing e-money may be allowed to operate according to the rules of national and European regulators;
  • a clear administrative system for organizing the issuing of electronic funds;
  • the business can start within 12 months of receiving regulatory authorization (RNB);
  • an audit once a year - with the report received and submitted to the RNB (acting as supervisory authority);
  • evidence of reasonable management, a well-established e-money issuance process, a clear organizational structure, and developed risk control procedures;
  Neobanking Neobanks are 100% online banks that use digital channels to serve customers. Unlike traditional banks, neobanks do not have physical branches, and everything is done through digital services. Typically, a company can offer neobanking services in two ways:
  • By obtaining an EMI license enabling digital payment services, including the creation of IBANs, as well as the release of e-money (BIN sponsorship - credit card) and managing it, allowing the end-user to keep funds in the account.
  • Through a Payment Institution (PI) license, which supports a wide variety of payment services allowing transactions to be made by card, mobile app, transfer, or direct debit. PI also supports cash withdrawals, account deposits, foreign exchange transactions, and data processing.


Blog                   Obtaining a brokerage license involves strict rules, significant capital requirements, and time to devote to the process. A brokerage firm can provide a good return on investment if you learn to play your cards right. Not everyone in this industry can launch a successful business. Hard & soft skills could be a plus, as well as generous investment capital and a high capacity to adapt to industry changes. I will talk about all these points and more in the next parts of the series, hoping it will help you set up an online trading company. You can follow me onTwitterandLinkedIn! 
Find out in the following few lines how I transformed into a global startup business (article published in Finance Magnates): Octavian Pătrașcu is a Romanian angel investor, and founder & CEO of, a leading global broker. Throughout his career, Mr. Pătrașcu has been involved in several companies activating in the fintech sector, such as (acquired by Playtech), Vector Watch (acquired by Fitbit), and many other startups from Romania, and Europe, in general. – one of the leading global brokers

Blog                   The story of began in 2016, initially founded as a trading platform for CFDs, and gradually growing into what it is today - a multi-asset trading platform operating at a worldwide level. Octavian Pătrașcu felt like operating on the European market under the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) license wasn't enough, given the global vision he had in mind for That lead to pursuing new licenses and regulations in order to turn his trading platform into the powerhouse it is today, operating also on the non-European market under Seychelles Financial Services Authority (FSA) license, covering the South African market under South African Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) license, and last, but not least, the UAE market where prides itself as being the first broker to have received “in-principle approval” from Abu-Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) in 2019 and was given the green light to operate in 2020. Although is a global brand, it still keeps the same family-like energy since when Octavian Pătrașcu originally founded the company.

Experience the fresh X-branded line of products

Blog                   Although he is the founder and CEO of a leading global player in the online trading sector, Octavian Pătrașcu knows that there’s always room to learn from other entrepreneurs, from other big companies, and even from your competitors. In this regard, he still prides himself on being a student of the game, constantly looking to pinpoint the next big thing. This is how the X-branded line of products came to life, inspired by Elon Musk’s revolutionary SpaceX program. “X” stands for innovation and for the revolutionary spirit promoted by Elon Musk through all his enterprises that are pushing humanity to the next level. Through the X-branded line, featuring products like ThematiX, StoX, and QuantX, plans on taking trading to the next level, revolutionizing the way people are investing worldwide. • With StoX, Octavian Pătrașcu wants to offer investors the ability to trade unleveraged fractional CFDs on shares, straight from the comfort of their homes. • Through QuantX, traders gain access to a tool that allows them to build a stock portfolio according to their set-up parameters, which they can easily monitor in a matter of minutes. • ThematiX groups the world’s most popular stocks under specific umbrellas, based on their sector of activity. Mr. Pătrașcu wanted to keep things simple for all types of investors (beginners or experienced) giving them the option to trade through ThematiX by opening a single position featuring all these stocks, in just a couple of clicks.

How Octavian Pătrașcu plans on turning into the next industry disruptor

Blog                   With an already vast portfolio of trading instruments, covering more than 10.000 assets, is far from stopping here. A lot of companies say they want to be industry disruptors, but few actually put in the hard work needed to achieve this goal. That's where the company's CEO steps into play. He wants to promote education amongst traders, offering several learning tools, such as CAPEX Academy, online webinars with industry professionals, expert daily analysis, market insights and much more. Through, investors get to learn and to stay updated with all the latest market news, while trading through state-of-the-art trading platforms: CAPEX WebTrader and MetaTrader 5. Democratization is a huge factor in online trading today, and Mr. Pătrașcu knows that investors are always looking for new opportunities. The current economic landscape is giving more people the chance to start investing in various types of assets that were not considered affordable just a couple of years ago. Being an experienced investor, with over a decade in online trading, Octavian Pătrașcu knows exactly when the moment to start implementing changes has arrived. Traders should keep an eye out for all the latest releases, because plans to surprise investors worldwide with a couple of new and exciting products in 2022.

New products to hit the market in 2022

Blog                   Special times require special measures and adaptations, and Octavian Pătrașcu is very well aware of this aspect of the trading game. That’s why, for 2022, plans on adding a couple of new features and products to their platform, to respond to investors’ needs and requests. “As a top fintech company, it’s only natural for us to add neo banking products, Direct Market Access instruments, DeFi, and several Blockchain-based services,” Mr. Pătrașcu stated. Through these soon-to-be-added products, investors will be able to enjoy all the things they already have available on, but also gain access to equity shares, ETFs, government bonds, and options from over 15 countries. Direct Market Access will deliver better pricing, higher liquidity, faster execution, and more control over the trades. You can follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn!
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