Interview with Yoni Assia, CEO and founder of eToro
When you’re trading in a social network you can learn from the mistakes of others, and most importantly you can learn by copying expert traders who don’t make mistakes anymore.
1. Please give us a brief introduction about yourself - What is your position? What is your professional background?
My name is Yoni Assia, I am the CEO and founder of eToro. Before eToro I was also a co-founder and development management of a video technology company called CDRide, and I’ve been investing in the financial markets for over ten years. I hold an Msc in computer science.
2. Who is your target audience?
Our target audience is pretty much everybody, all traders of all levels, from absolute beginner to seasoned pro. We designed eToro to be flexible enough to offer something unique to every kind of trader.
3. Why should a trader choose YOU over another provider?
We offer possibilities that no one else in the industry currently offers, and we present them in smartly designed packages that are both comprehensive and easy to use. We always keep the end user in mind and so we innovate in order to enhance the user experience, not just for innovation’s sake.
4. Please describe the trading platforms available to your clients?
Currently we offer clients four distinct platforms. The first is our WebTrader, an web based trading platform that combines a multitude of trading tools in one simple interface. The second is our award winning OpenBook platform, which is a social trading application that enables traders to view each others’ activity, to interact and even to copy each other automatically. We also offer a complimentary Copy.me platform for traders with a large OpenBook following to capitalize on their popularity and make extra earnings based on their copiers. The last platform is the Mobile Trader, which combines all of eToro’s essential trading tools (including OpenBook) in a mobile platform for traders on the go.
5. What other services do you offer your customers to support their investment decisions and/or trading?
The biggest service we offer is facilitating traders’ communication with each other through OpenBook. It has been astounding to see the difference that social trading can make. When traders are able to supplement their own trading skills with the skills of 1.75 million other traders, the result, as our statistics show is a 20% improvement in overall performance. It really is a game changer. However, we also support traders from our end. We offer traders a huge range of free educational materials, we have personal account managers and support staff on call 24/7. We’ve even developed our own e-course for beginner traders to quickly learn the workings of the forex market.
6. Walk us through opening an account with your company.
It’s extremely easy to open an account with eToro. I recommend first opening a demo account (which literally takes seconds), in order to get a feel for the platforms first. When the trader is ready, he or she can open a real money account by filling in some additional information, and then fund the account with one of the many funding methods available, including credit card, PayPal, Western Union etc. The minimum amount to open a real money account is only $50, so you really don’t have to break the bank, and we enable traders to trade micro-lots so that $50 can go a long way. We also offer a welcome bonus of up to $10,000, depending on the account size of course. As for documentation, we will ask the trader for some proof of ID, but only when they make their first withdrawal. After that, the process is automatic.
7. What advice do you have for someone who is just starting to trade the markets?
My advice is to start trading in a social trading network rather than trade by yourself. When I was starting out as a trader, there was no such option available and so I had to learn from my own mistakes, which were often painful and costly. When you’re trading in a social network you can learn from the mistakes of others, and most importantly you can learn by copying expert traders who don’t make mistakes anymore.
8. What would you say are the most common mistakes traders make? What are some of the best trading practices to keep in mind?
I would say the most common mistake is using high leverage. A lot of beginner traders think only about maximizing profits and not minimizing risk. They think that if they use the highest leverage they’ll make the most money, when in most cases they only lose their money that much quicker. This is why we’ve launched a responsible trading program at eToro to try to prevent beginner traders from making this mistake. The best practices to keep in mind is to minimize risk, use smart money management, and keep your emotions in check. One rule that I always stick to is never to invest more than 5% of my account in any one trade, or in any one trader. In the end it’s discipline and money management that make long lasting forex careers.
Two issues why the Eurozone debt crisis remains at the fore are Greece, of course, and a general lack of political will. In Greece, initially everyone was happy, but the truth is the new government has no panacea; they inherited the same problems, and the original unpopular solutions – fiscal and infrastructural reform – remain unchanged. With economic conditions deteriorating, Greece is headed toward a disorderly default.
And given the deepening political differences among the Eurozone’s leadership it’s hard to foresee the Euro’s survival. Truthfully, nothing has changed and the Eurozone is moving toward a deep recession. Portugal, Spain and Italy will be first, but then every other Eurozone member, including Germany, will be drawn in.
If the Euro fails, within 36 months, indices worldwide will retest the 2008 lows as global deleveraging continues and funding disappears. Gold and Silver will be hard hit, too, as both have been rising primarily on investors’ fears. Because Eurozone governments won’t be able to absorb any additional budget debt, the deleveraging process will intensify. Given the fear of excess liquidity, Gold prices could fall below $1,000 by 2014.
In Forex, cash, especially in U.S. Dollars, will be king. U.S. debt will become the most attractive savings option with massive inflows, meaning the worst for the greenback is probably over. The U.S. economy’s grim outlook has already been priced in, but not so for the global economy. That scenario will materialize gradually but endure for substantially longer. It would seem that the momentum has turned in favor of the U.S. Dollar.