Currency Culture

The East Coast is feeling the effects of Hurricane Sandy, a category 1 hurricane barreling up the coast and hitting New Jersey, New York and Boston, as we speak. Evacuations have forced thousands out of their homes in the Big Apple and surrounding towns. Here in Boston, my friends and colleagues not far from the city are already dealing with power outages and my fingers are crossed as I write this post from my kitchen table.  This map shows what's coming as the storm's leading edge comes around toward us.

As I was prepping the flashlight and bottled water last night, we made the decision to close Currensee offices today to keep our employees safe and sound. The remarkable thing about the closing of the office is that 5-10 years ago, there would have been no such thing as work from home. Unless you had a hard connection into your company’s VPN, you were outta luck, which meant that business stopped.

Today, I have had continuous instant messenger conversations with at least five Currensee team members, made progress on a variety of projects and talked to clients from around the world via Skype. Even though I am not in the office, it’s pretty much business as usual. The Trade Leaders, of course, are all around the world in their own offices.  The other amazing thing is that our operations and systems continue to run seamlessly, although our Ops team is at home manning the systems remotely. Thanks to our stellar Engineering team, all of our staff is trained and ready to keep the business running for our clients.

We are hosting our service in a tier 3 data center facility that is equipped with redundant power, security, and environmental controls. Our data center provider has been preparing for the storm since last Thursday. Both our data center provider staff and Currensee operations team are standing by to take action should storm related damage threaten our service.

Planning for an emergency is about being prepared and in the back of your mind hoping that you never need to implement your emergency plan. I’m proud of our team for great planning, infrastructure and foresight to make Hurricane Sandy just another day "at the office.”

Stay safe, friends.

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Be sure to read the full risk disclosure before trading Forex. Please note that Forex trading involves significant risk of loss. It is not suitable for all investors and you should make sure you understand the risks involved before trading. Performance, strategies and charts shown are not necessarily predictive of any particular result. And, as always, past performance is no indication of future results. Investor returns may vary from Trade Leader returns based on slippage, fees, broker spreads, volatility or other market conditions.

In June of 2012, a proposal by the National Futures Association requiring stricter regulation of PAMM accounts went into effect, sending many money managers and CTAs scrambling for PAMM account alternatives.

A PAMM account, or Percentage Allocation Management Module, is simply a way for investment management firms and CTAs to manage individual investor accounts more efficiently. Multiple individual accounts are aggregated into one “Master Account,” which is traded by the money manager or CTA. It is operated as one pooled account and the P&L is divided equally among the investors based on their equity in in it.

In April of 2012, James Bibbings, a former NFA supervising auditor, wrote a very informative post discussing the implications of the pending proposal. Appearing on SeekingAlpha.com, the post explained how the NFA felt PAMM accounts too closely resembled Commodity Pools, without being registered as such.

The points they brought up described multiple instances of structural problems. Issues with liquidity and margin were posing risks to investors and contributing to questions about the fairness of the division of P&L among sub-accounts. In the proposal, the NFA recommended the restructuring of PAMM accounts as a means of eradicating any dangers they could cause participating investors.
Bibbings also notes that PAMM scrutiny has reached the state level. Pennsylvania state security regulators saw the PAMM allocation system as a mechanism that was generating a “synthetic securities product.” This view made PAMM accounts subject to many additional securities laws and regulations in Pennsylvania, and could do so in other states, too.

At the time of Bibbings post, things weren’t looking good for PAMM accounts as they fell under intense regulatory scrutiny. Two months later, after the proposal took effect, “traditional” PAMM accounts began disappearing to make their necessary compliance changes. Some companies have seized the opportunity to create PAMM alternatives and others offer consulting services to help existing PAMMs comply with the new rules.   These instruments play an integral role in providing CTA’s and Money Managers with the key benefit of PAMM accounts: centralized management.

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Be sure to read the full risk disclosure before trading Forex. Please note that Forex trading involves significant risk of loss. It is not suitable for all investors and you should make sure you understand the risks involved before trading. Performance, strategies and charts shown are not necessarily predictive of any particular result. And, as always, past performance is no indication of future results. Investor returns may vary from Trade Leader returns based on slippage, fees, broker spreads, volatility or other market conditions.

Have you been paying attention to the changing markets?

Once upon a time all the talk was about how stocks and the dollar traded in opposing directions. The chart below with weekly bars shows how that was definitely the case until the latter part of 2011 (S&P 500 left scale, blue plot; USD Index right scale, black plot). Since then, though, with the exception of a few months earlier this year, the two markets have been trending higher roughly in tandem.

That’s a bit of an illusion, though.

You see, the USD Index is very heavily weighted toward the euro. That means it trades very close to how EUR/USD trades. As a result, it doesn’t always provide a comprehensive view the way we’d normally expect from an index.

Here’s something a bit more representative. It’s the same weekly chart, but swaps out the USD Index and replaces it with AUD/USD. Here you can see a VERY close correlation between the two markets.

So why the difference?

Well, AUD/USD is a good proxy for the so-called commodity currencies. Other commodity-oriented pairs are NZD/USD, USD/CAD, and many of the emerging market pairs like USD/MXN and USD/BRL. These are economically sensitive currencies, so they have a strong link to the stock market. Thus the strong correlation.

The euro, on the other hand, has all sorts of stuff going on which influences its exchange rate. It’s not just a function of economic growth but also of monetary policy and general confidence. The same can be said about both the yen and the pound. Further, since the Swiss National Bank effectively has the franc pegged to the euro (it’s really a floor on EUR/CHF, but is acting like a peg), the CHF is basically trading the same as the EUR.

What this all means is that we can no longer just look at “the dollar” and its relationship to stocks, commodities, and interest rates. We have to account for the variance in the performance of different currencies depending on the influencing factors if our analysis can have any validity. We may get back to the point where EUR/USD and the S&P 500 close correlate as they have done in the past, but for now we need to focus on the likes of AUD/USD and USD/CAD in our inter-market analysis of stocks, commodities, and the greenback.

Yesterday, Currensee officially announced Jonathan Jesse as Vice President of Engineering. With over 15 years of software development, engineering, and technology experience, Jesse will undoubtedly be an integral asset to Currensee’s team of technologists.

With a rapidly growing financial technology company, comes the inherent need to build a strong group of seasoned software engineers to support that growth. This is something that Currensee has been successful at from the beginning, which is demonstrated in the emphasis put on the size and talent of the current engineering force.

Few Currensee employees know the back-end of the company as well as Director of Software Development, Emanuel Kdziela. Having been with Currensee from its start, Emanuel knows the Forex collaboration platform inside and out. It’s always interesting to learn why people love to do the jobs they’re doing, and with Emanuel’s near four-year tenure with Currensee, something must be keeping him coming back each day.

“It's a company with a lot of promise, clearly on its way to success and presents interesting challenges,” says Emanuel. “I also like the people I work with and enjoy our culture.”

Culture is definitely what sets Currensee apart from the Boston financial crowed, and likely what has kept us progressing throughout the years. The Currensee “Pips”, our 30+ person team, are truly the ones who make being here everyday an absolute pleasure. This group of innovative and hard working professionals comprised of engineers, sales people, product developers, marketers, and many more, have all contributed to building Currensee into what it is today.

Recently, we have been quite fortunate in our ability to further expand upon our team of technologists as a means of improving our product and continuing to foster its growth and development. As an already engineer-heavy company, more brains can only add to the innovation, right?

“The tech team here at Currensee is great because it is made up of top notch, smart, hard working engineers,” says Emanuel.

As demand for portfolio diversification with alternative investments increases, the Forex industry has seen an overall surge in investor interest. As a pioneer on the front of bringing both retail and institutional investors professional Forex money managers through advanced autotrading software, Currensee has been undergoing a bit of a growth spurt itself.

But, as with all great things, there’s still a splash of reality to be mindful of. Working at a company that’s redefining an industry while carving out a new technology and investing concept isn’t always all glamour.

“It definitely has its challenges and difficulties, but that just makes success that much more meaningful and rewarding,” says Emanuel.

That’s the beauty of Currensee, though. If you want to be challenged in your career and grow as a professional, working at a young - but not too young - FinTech firm is where you need to be.

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Be sure to read the full risk disclosure before trading Forex. Please note that Forex trading involves significant risk of loss. It is not suitable for all investors and you should make sure you understand the risks involved before trading. Performance, strategies and charts shown are not necessarily predictive of any particular result. And, as always, past performance is no indication of future results. Investor returns may vary from Trade Leader returns based on slippage, fees, broker spreads, volatility or other market conditions.

This month, we were very excited to learn that Currensee would be featured in the magazine Alternative Latin Investor. This bimonthly publication covers the alternative investing industry in the Latin American region. The Latin American (LatAm) markets are among the fastest growing areas for the industry globally.

What was most interesting about the piece was the perspective put on Currensee, as it was being observed through the eyes of the LatAm investment industry.

Titled “Currensee: The Next Step in Forex Trading,” the article began by explaining a few aspects of foreign currency trading that are alluring to the LatAm investing industry. Characteristics like the massive size and liquidity of the world currency market, the speed and flexibility in which transactions can be executed, and being aware of the potential to generate returns during times of volatility are all attracting LatAm investors to Forex.

The ALI’s article discusses two aspects of this program have been particularly appealing to LatAm investors: transparency and diversification.

Because Currensee began as a social network for Forex traders to collaborate, communication has always been an integral component of how Currensee operates. Though today the focus has shifted more towards the Trade Leaders program, communication is still there and it equates to a high level of transparency.

“What’s unique is that our customers can give one another permission to view their actual trading activity and performance… There’s a level of transparency beyond any alternative investment I know of,” says Currensee CEO Dave Lemont.

LatAm investors are also drawn to the program’s ability to achieve “double diversification.” What this means is that as an investor in the Trade Leaders Investment Program, investors benefit from asset class diversification in the Forex market as well as diversification in their individual accounts by choosing from a variety of Trade Leaders. This new method of diversifying is an exciting development for the world of investing.

The article drives home the points around diversification for all investors and the proof is in the numbers – the fact that from 2000-2010, the S&P 500 has dropped a cumulative 3.7%. That means if you’re one of the many who had been adhering strictly to the general 60% stocks/40% bonds rule of thumb, you ultimately lost out.

Lemont says: “The stock market is manipulated by big players and algorithmic traders on a daily basis. The foreign currency market is so much bigger: US$4 trillion a day, with 24-hour trading. We’re not going to get together and move the euro today. But we could get together and move the price of a small-cap stock.”

So although collaborating and trying to move the euro is not likely something investors can achieve, keeping a diversified portfolio is. Keep cool and keep it diversified.

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Be sure to read the full risk disclosure before trading Forex. Please note that Forex trading involves significant risk of loss. It is not suitable for all investors and you should make sure you understand the risks involved before trading. Performance, strategies and charts shown are not necessarily predictive of any particular result. And, as always, past performance is no indication of future results. Investor returns may vary from Trade Leader returns based on slippage, fees, broker spreads, volatility or other market conditions.

Last week’s webinar session featuring Currensee Trade Leader Taylor Growth delivered strong information on a “conservative” trading strategy and its pertinence to these current tempestuous market times. The concepts touched upon and insight provided could be quite useful to anyone involved in Forex, so I thought I would share some of what was revealed.

With a historical success rate in the high 90’s and currently up 1.5% this month, Taylor Growth seems to be doing something right. Tom Dawson, COO at Taylor Growth who spoke on the company’s behalf, attributes this success to a few key concepts: preparation is integral, you must consider multiple sources of influence like technology and the economy, and you need to have rules and systems you believe in.  Not long ago, the world of Forex was something new and uncharted – an environment he compared to the Wild West.

“There was a need for a conservative, careful, and productive company. One that was going to do a good job in producing real results that were accessible to people,” Dawson explained. He went on to say how it’s easy for someone with millions of dollars to achieve world-class results in Forex, but it’s a completely different story when you can only put 10K into the market, and that is why skilled traders are needed to help in attaining these results. Dawson finds solace in knowing that even though it may not seem it, there is in fact consistency in foreign exchange.

“One of the great things about Forex is that every month, companies all over the world have to move their money to do things like pay rent, etc. It’s the daily moving of this $4-5T that acts as a stabilizer bringing things back to equilibrium,” he explained.

By using range trading and understanding that over time, there will be various ebbs and flows in Forex, Dawson sees that no matter where a currency goes, it will usually always return back to its point of origin. This general paradigm of consistency is what inspired Taylor Growth’s goal of being able to achieve the highest risk adjusted return possible while producing smooth results – or, as Dawson put it, “taking the chop out”.

He explained how the use of Pattern Recognition when looking at what’s going on in the marketplace allows this consistency to actually be seen. It becomes apparent that there are repeatable, definitive patterns that occur, such as how the dollar is stronger and weaker at different times of the month. Taylor Growth has seen such a high success rate because they pay close attention to these patterns and base their decisions on them, which is something that’s hard for a computer to do.

Even with Taylor Growth’s scrupulous attention to macroeconomic detail, there will always be some degree of risk. Knowing this, he’s formulated a few ways he believes are the most secure for protecting investors from losses. Setting automated stops is not something Taylor Growth generally practices. Instead, when things start moving against them, they cut the trade themselves as a means of managing risk. By using a balanced combination of betting small, understanding which patterns are in confluence with them, and being comfortable with taking a loss when a trade moves within several hundred pips, Taylor Growth has achieved a historical success rate in the high 90’s. On larger trades, however, they do set hard stops to abstain from risking more than 1%.

One deterrent of automatic stop losses Dawson touched on was the way they can react to a Flash Crash.

“Problems can arise when a market is thinly traded at a particular time and if it moves up or down 200-300 pips, you run the risk of losing the trade because of the stop, even though you were correct. If the stop weren’t on, you would have eventually won the trade,” he explained.

The webinar was concluded with a Q&A session that touched on topics such as stop hunting, among others. Our next webinar will be taking place Wednesday, May 9th 2012, 12:00pm ET / 6:00pm CET where CEO Dave Lemont will reveal five secrets of investing in the growing Forex market - sign up here.

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Be sure to read the full risk disclosure before trading Forex. Please note that Forex trading involves significant risk of loss. It is not suitable for all investors and you should make sure you understand the risks involved before trading. Performance, strategies and charts shown are not necessarily predictive of any particular result. And, as always, past performance is no indication of future results. Investor returns may vary from Trade Leader returns based on slippage, fees, broker spreads, volatility or other market conditions.

It’s been almost two months now since Currensee put into action a plan to reach out to the Latin American and US Hispanic investing markets. This was a very big move and since starting, we have come quite a ways with expanding into these new realms of investing.

Recently, during a conversation with Victor Hugo Rodriguez, CEO of LatAm Alternatives, I realized just how strong of an impact this “cross-over” was having on us.

Immersing ourselves into an entirely new culture is a very involved process; one that takes much careful thought, a lot of effort, and great attention to detail. One of our primary focuses has always been on transparency, so we wanted to be sure that we put fourth the effort to remain as genuine as possible in our approach. We were able to maintain and strengthen a strong connection with our partners by having someone on the sales team who spoke Spanish. In addition, we rebuilt a Spanish version of our website to supplement with any needed information.

All of our hard work seemed to be paying off because one of the points Victor really stressed was how surprised and pleased people were with the realness of our program. Having someone who could speak with them in Spanish made Currensee a very "real" company.

“During the first four weeks, people were amazed at the way the technology was being delivered by Currensee. It got them very excited about this concept and knowing that they each had the potential to manage money for others – they all wanted to know how to do it,” explained Victor.

Though it can be challenging at times to keep up with presenting our service in such a way that several entirely different cultures can understand and benefit equally from it, all of us here dedicate a great amount of energy each day to making that happen.

Check out the Spanish version of our website here.

 

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Be sure to read the full risk disclosure before trading Forex. Please note that Forex trading involves significant risk of loss. It is not suitable for all investors and you should make sure you understand the risks involved before trading. Performance, strategies and charts shown are not necessarily predictive of any particular result. And, as always, past performance is no indication of future results. Investor returns may vary from Trade Leader returns based on slippage, fees, broker spreads, volatility or other market conditions.

What better way to start the summer than coming to work in Boston’s North End for a hot startup? The greenway is a perfect place for lunch and “sight-seeing”, al fresco dining can be had all over the neighborhood, and you can do some really cool work as part of the Currensee team.

Our 30-person company started back in 2008 with a handful of dollars and some good ideas. Fast-forward to today and we’re growing our team of stellar employees. If you don’t know much about who we are, we’re a well-funded, high-energy startup that combines financial services and software development to provide a unique alternative investment service for our clients. Our mission has always been to create trust and transparency in the world of foreign exchange and our $30M in assets under management in just over a year and a half proves it.

Since then, we have steadily grown to a 30+ person company that operates in the heart of Boston’s beautiful North End. The people that currently keep us moving forward, known as the Currensee “Pips,” are truly the ones who make being here everyday an absolute pleasure. This group of innovative and hard working professionals comprised of engineers, sales people, product developers, marketers and many more have all contributed to building Currensee into what it is today.

The best part about our company is our ability to strike a perfect balance between corporate and casual. The professionalism within our spacious building is channeled into running and developing the business, while the general milieu of the environment remains relatively laid back. In one conference room, you’ll find all necessary technology for a fully functioning webinar or international conference call, while in another, you’ll see a couple of plush beanbag chairs available for anyone’s relaxation pleasure. And if you ever do find yourself hungry, (which is highly unlikely given the densely populated scene of Italian cuisine and bevy of food trucks right in our backyard) you will be pleased to find a fully stocked, in-house kitchen.

Though our positions are constantly changing, a few that we are currently looking to fill are: Channel Marketing Manager, PT Web Designer/Developer, VP of Engineering, Web Developer, and Integration Tester. So, if immersing yourself each day in an environment that is both challenging and fulfilling where you are always learning is something that intrigues you, please send your resume to hotjobs@currensee.com. Hope to meet you!

 

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Be sure to read the full risk disclosure before trading Forex. Please note that Forex trading involves significant risk of loss. It is not suitable for all investors and you should make sure you understand the risks involved before trading. Performance, strategies and charts shown are not necessarily predictive of any particular result. And, as always, past performance is no indication of future results. Investor returns may vary from Trade Leader returns based on slippage, fees, broker spreads, volatility or other market conditions.

At the beginning of March, Facebook threw a curve ball at the corporate world by announcing that in one months time, the social network would take on a whole new identity: the Timeline format. Like it or not, every company would now inevitably have to conform to this unfamiliar setup if they wished to stay relevant.

After learning what all this really meant for businesses, it seems as though the Timeline conversion will actually be a very beneficial move for both brand and fans. The new set up of each page will take on a much more interactive identity, which will allow them to connect on a more personal (and less intrusive) level with their fans.

An interesting article on Mashable by Victoria Ransom, founder and CEO of Wildfire Interactive, the global leader in social media marketing software, provides great insight on how brands can take advantage of the new format. In it, Ransom explains that one of the more anticipated results of this new format will be to bring a stronger element of humanization to corporations who use Facebook as a primary means of interacting with the masses. This will be achieved by using the Timeline to highlight milestones they have reached throughout their years growing and developing.

There was no way Currensee was going to be left in the dust and passed over by this monumental shift in social media interaction. Oh no, we were on it the moment we caught word of the change, working to come up with ways we could utilize it to help our Traders Leaders, investors, and everyone in between fare better in the foreign currency market.

An upside to this is that we’re now in better control of the content we share with our fans. This allows us to make the information we feel will benefit and help them the most top priority and easiest to access. If we’re broadcasting a webinar that will improve an investor’s individual trading experience in anyway, we can now pin it so it sits on top of the page for a few days. Also, if we bring a new Trade Leader on board, we will be able to share the information with fans in the form of a wider, more eye catching post.

Thursday, our marketing team premiered Currensee’s new Facebook page in the Timeline format. We featured at the top a banner comprised of each Trade Leader’s icon, which gives a quick summation of who’s currently on the roster. Another new feature we invite fans to use is the addition of direct messaging. The lines of communication are now open and we welcome fans to drop us a note anytime! Check out the new look here - enjoy!

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Be sure to read the full risk disclosure before trading Forex. Please note that Forex trading involves significant risk of loss. It is not suitable for all investors and you should make sure you understand the risks involved before trading. Performance, strategies and charts shown are not necessarily predictive of any particular result. And, as always, past performance is no indication of future results. Investor returns may vary from Trade Leader returns based on slippage, fees, broker spreads, volatility or other market conditions.