2020 has been anything but a normal year, and its’ been marked by several dramatic changes in our behaviour. From Zoom parties to Remote Working to learning to Bake, the list of changes is substantial. Not more than in the world of trading, where every few minutes a new retail trader learns how Charts work and how to make money on stocks like Tesla.
We covered a story about Robinhood in August where we covered that 3 million new accounts had been opened between January and May 2020. The value of Robinhood has continued to hover above the $11 billion mark ever since, which by anyone’s book is quite a valuation. Except that these numbers pale into significance with some of the other main players in the financial services industry.
Just take the second largest deal this year, when S&P Global agreed to buy HIS Markit. Admittedly, the price was higher than what the London Stock Exchange paid for Refinitiv, substantially higher. But elements like ESG and revenue synergy were just some of the reasons that S&P Global decided to buy even more Data:
Interestingly, IHS Markit’s Lance Uggla was quoted saying about Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters in the FT last week saying: “They each serve as a ‘TV set’, while IHS Markit is a content provider”.
S&P Global’s acquisition wasn’t the only thing of note to happen in the press last week. Another large data provider, TradingView, reached the 500,000 registered user level in the UK, with over 13 million registered users globally and 130 million unique visitors.
Having moved their executive function to the UK in 2019, James Maddison joined the world’s most popular network of traders and investors, as the Head of UK.
#DisruptionBanking spoke to James about the massive growth that TradingView has experienced in recent years, as well as their latest project: Timelines
TradingView was founded by Denis Globa and Constantine Ivanov and Stan Bokov, James shared his thoughts about working with the founding team:
“Denis and Constantine grew up in trading, when they launched multi charts. Then, together with Stan, they launched TradingView 10 years ago. Denis and Constantine particularly have over 20 years’ experience in every sort of trading, and they also have amazing tech credentials. They had a vision, to make a financial analysis platform for everyone, not just big business and Wall Street players.
“It’s not enough just to have an idea, or even some experience. It was their Vision that made a successful business.”
With 130 million users on their site over the past 12 months, many of them from the UK, Maddison explained further:
“This is the amount of people who actually come to our site to explore charting or symbols. They are deriving some sort of financial information from our site, globally.
“Back in April our site started to double the number of visitors on a daily basis, during the initial lockdown. It wasn’t any specific event that was statistically significant, and that’s probably because we have a very, very large user base from countries as diverse as Malaysia and Japan.
“I think that, all of a sudden, people realized that there’s a massive discount available on a lot of very, very big brand names. If you combine that with a very lack of any sort of interest with existing savings initiatives in the market. Many people would have looked at this as an opportunity of a lifetime.
“Our site is geared to users who want to spend time researching and make an ‘informed decision’, users who want to take their financial freedom in their own hands and not just place a quick bet.”
We asked Maddison to explain a bit more about the type of user on the site:
“The main exchanges like NYSE, LSE, Nasdaq and others are popular, so is Bitcoin. And, of course, Forex, as most traders are keen on Forex.
“Many of our users prefer to trade on their own exchanges, though, like in India where the majority of investors still look to the National Stock Exchange or Nifty. The UK on the other hand, will predominantly look at the US to invest, so will many European investors.”
Some of our readers may not be as aware of TradingView as a brand as they should be, even though various brokers like OANDA actually list TradingView on their site. We asked Maddison to tell us more about how their model continues to attract more and more users:
“Everything we do at TradingView is about giving away as much value as possible, by reducing barriers as much as possible, so we can achieve scale. Our teams are not incentivized like a broker to get users to make trades, our main incentive is actually to help people see what’s possible on the financial markets.
“We give away so much in 20 different languages already, and much of our charting functionality is free. Google likes valuable, powerful pages that our users help us to create, which has now propelled us amongst the top 130 websites in the world.
“We have various widgets and you can also build charting libraries that you can embed on your site, tens of thousands of financial websites around the world already do this.
“Much like apps such as Figma for designers and Strava for the fitness community, TradingView is about being the Github for Traders. We want to be able to be that hub for your financial life, where it’s all aggregated in one place. And this is exactly why we have developed Timelines.
“With more and more people looking to invest by using their money on the markets, we will continue to focus on growing the user tools making it easier for them to interact with the community. To make our platform be part of their lives and help give them a solid understanding about finances.”
Timelines is the latest development at TradingView, and one of the first companies highlighted was Tesla. We asked Maddison to tell us a little more:
“Researching Tesla for Timelines meant collating lots of information. With companies like Ford Motor Company or HSBC there would be a lot more work to put together a report like we did with Tesla.
“We understand the demand in the market because of the data that we collate. And the data told us that Tesla is popular, so that’s why we prioritized it in the first instance:
“Going forward we will be looking at the FAANG companies, Bitcoin too. Once our users start interacting with Timelines, then we will be able to learn what other features our users will be looking for. Remember we have 190 territories, 20 languages and a diverse list of assets to consider.
“Timelines is a new way for people to look at trading, I don’t think anybody systematically tried to go and contextualize publicly traded companies in such a way. The way we will be able to present the data will mean even novice traders will find it almost intuitive to invest.
“Events in China, for example, that can have a big impact on many assets will be easier to understand. Timelines will simply inform our users what events occurred and how they may affect their investments into the future.”
It would appear that Timelines will work well for some of the Tech giants and other popular equities, but what about when it comes to Crypto or Forex? Maddison explained a little more about this:
“With Forex the dominant currencies of the USD and EURO are massive, influencing macroeconomics globally. Crypto is a little easier to research, but even with Bitcoin it can move sometimes and it is hard to see what specific event led to this. Other times events like the shutting down of the Silk Road in 2013, or Segregated Witness (SegWit) in 2018 are easier to correlate to a price increase or decrease.
“Sometimes its not about individual stories though, it can be more about ‘themes’ which people who don’t read the financial news daily may not pick up on. And themes can also be specific to geographical locations.
Servicing 190 territories in 20 languages is a huge task, we asked Maddison to tell us a little more about TradingView’s philosophy:
“We have Reps working for us in specific jurisdictions like Japan or Turkey, as we need local expertise. But at the same time you need a startup / scale up mentality to use the resources we have and be flexible with the organizations we work with.
“Our business is geared to people who want to look at mastering investment as a marathon, irrelevant of where they are based around the world. You don’t attain financial freedom with one trade, it takes time, effort and a lot of research. Our focus will remain on allowing individuals the capacity to invest their time and effort into investing and trading, focusing on individuals rather than the wider society.
“Of course, we’re only at the start of this movement which we think will take market participation to the very heart of British life. In a world where everyone is a shareholder, a cryptocurrency trader, a financial analyst, they’ll need to understand and enjoy what it is they’re doing – what they’re trading and what they’re investing in. This is where TradingView excels, helping users ‘look first’, and it’s where we’ll be building for years to come.
“Chart Big, don’t just Dream Big.”
With more and more people joining the growing ranks of retail investors, in the UK, like across the rest of the world, companies like TradingView will be with us for many years and their unique approach to enabling investors to succeed is definitely disruptive. The clock is ticking when it comes to the UBER moment for Investment Banking, and initiatives like Timelines will go along way to bring trading more accessible to many who often struggled with this in the past.
The days when Boiler Room-type tactics saw people like Jordan Belfort make a quick buck are slowly coming to a close. Brokers will continue to help many traders, but there is a growing proportion of traders becoming more and more competent at looking after their own investments.
Author: Andy Samu
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