Yoni Assia, CEO of eToro

First of all, I need to say that I’m glad about possibility to talk with you Mr. Assia. You’re the founder and CEO of eToro, the biggest social trading platform around the globe. Trading via eToro is available for people from over 140 different countries. Your company is also FCA licensed which lead me to ask you about your opinion about Brexit. Is there any, possibly negative outcome of this event for eToro?

The Brexit decision won’t affect eToro as we are regulated by the FCA in the UK and CySEC across Europe. I really hope, that after the UK leaves the Union the free movement of goods, capital, services, and people will be kept.

Many of our users have concerns, that is why they are inclined towards investing. The rates of the GBP and the euro are going down. There is also a chance for a possible Frexit, due to the upcoming elections in France.

Many investors are worried about the future of Europe, that is why their course is more sustainable than usual. We also see that our clients are more willing to invest in the USA, with the USD going up.

What about current trends amongst financial regulators? Central Bank of Ireland would like to ban forex trading for individuals. German BaFin is thinking about same thing. It seems that CFDs don’t have a goodwill in Europe. Is eToro preparing for such a scenario in which CFD trading is banned?

We receive changes in regulations positively. It is important, that those regulations are fully functioning. Regulators communicate the risk, and people should know this.

What are your plans for further eToro’s development? Are you going to keep expanding on new markets or maybe you’d like to consolidate current position?

eToro has a bright vision of strategy for the next few years. We are planning to build the largest social trading platform in the world. At the moment we have over 6m clients from more than 140 countries. Our core-markets at the moment are Europe and the Middle East. We plan to add new markets and currencies on eToro. I want to underline, that recently we added the Polish Zloty, we also have plans to add such indices like the Polish WIG10 and WIG20. We want to build a product, which is friendly for our customers, easy accessible, comfortable and has a global reach.

I’d like to ask you about Israel and Israeli Security Authority. As we know, extreme requirements of ISA led to wiping most of forex industry elements out of this market. Will you try to get back Israeli license?

Following a continuous dialogue with the ISA and despite a mutual willingness, we have decided to withdraw our trading platform application as the company’s offering can’t reside in the current regulatory environment in Israel yet. We will keep its focus in other regions globally based on strategic partnerships with world’s leading financial institutions. We are happy to revisit our decision and continue the discussion with the ISA on how we can launch social trading in Israel.

Do you think social trading is a future of trading at all? Or maybe, it will remain as an interesting alternative?

The main goal of eToro is to allow everyone to manage their wealth in a simple and transparent manner. For this purpose, we created one of the largest social trading networks in the world. The majority of the money in the world is still held by people who worked and made money for the past 30 years. People who are 45-50 years old now and have grown up with the internet expect a real-time mobile application. The level of reporting and engagement that you typically expect from asset management – getting a PDF once a month from a financial adviser or wealth management provider – doesn’t cut it anymore. Would you think it would be geeks who building computer programmes? Or would you think it would be only the richest people on the planet? Would you actually realise that essentially everyone in the world would have access to the internet. I believe that capital markets will achieve a similar reach, and that the general population will eventually access them. It’s just a question through what platform, and how much money will be needed to do so.

You’re not only an entrepreneur but also a trader. Which assets do you count on this year?

Yes, I trade on my own accounts. Last for example I traded Ethereum, because I saw a positive trend. I believe in Bitcoin and blockchain, the first was recently worth more than gold. Recently we added the option to invest on eToro in another cryptocurrency, the Ethereum. eToro was one of the blockchain pioneer’s. I think, that this technology will create the future. An important factor is also the security, which blockchain can offer. Thanks to the investments in Bitcoin and blockchain we developed a sister-company called Colu, which is now independent.

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