Virtually Trading Places — Why I Started Pipster

Rob Brockington reflects on how technology changed trading floor and bringing this learning (and tech) to the Pipster app.

A big eye-opener for me, soon after starting off on the trading floor, was finding out first-hand how the vast majority of a bank’s trade was done by algorithms (algo-trading). These were built by quant analysts (brilliant number crunchers) and then rolled out by my team. We were dedicated professionals who understood exactly how the traders, markets and their exchanges worked. We also knew how the technology that props up the industry is always evolving. We moved from basic terminals on the traders desk all the way to Field Programmable Gate Array Cards (FPGA), in machines, hosted in data centers with the shortest cable possible required to plug into the exchange… Any system outages were measured by the millions of pounds they would cost if the trading floor wasn’t hooked up and running smoothly. So no pressure.

The Reality

But the reality is that these ‘algos’ crunch numbers way faster than any trader can and are simply more effective. The key was understanding the data, plugging in the analysis and and letting the AI give you the summary. The human element is currently required – real people have to provide the fundamental input and account for real-world events. Deciding when to trade was just a case of waiting for a green light given to you by the AI. Team Pipster taking time out to stare out of the window

Decrypting Crypto

So in short, I spent a long time running the technology that helped make other people better traders and saw the advantages you can get with the right bit of tech on your side. In 2009, when Bitcoin was introduced, people in banks were too focused on clawing their way back out of the hole they’d dug for themselves. Progression took a backseat to risk-aversion and compliance overhauls. If crypto was being talked about, it was developers and tech-types leading the conversation. Trading floors didn’t really catch on until the last couple of years, when you just couldn’t miss it. Some elements of crypto are complex and actually owning it seemed like a risky deal. But just like with old-fashioned trading, it could be way easier than some people were making it.

Breaking the Circle

There should be no more closed-circles just for people with links already in finance. Free access to markets and trade data has never been greater, largely thanks to the technology we all have at our fingertips today. Just unlocking this idea in people’s minds — that you don’t need an advanced understanding of market jargon, statistical analysis or crypto-babble to be successful with trading — became the goal. By delivering a platform that aspires to provide the same kind of tech the trading floors have. Providing the sort of analysis that helps you get an understanding of what matters, without scaring you off with endless noise and data.

“With my personal expertise and Finatext’s record in (mobile) trading, it was just a case of getting started ASAP. Bringing their respected brand to the UK and my concept to reality.”

Community Centred

Maybe the toughest part is to build a community of like-minded people who want to share their progression and learning from trading success and failure. Empowering a new generation of investors who embrace forward looking concepts in fintech and may well become the forerunners of a more inclusive and integrated crypto and forex market. With my personal expertise and Finatext’s record in (mobile) trading, it was just a case of getting started ASAP. Bringing their respected brand to the UK and my concept to reality.

Assembling the Team

So I formed the team and we’ve now built the app. Easy as that. Well not really. But now we’re launching I can’t wait to see it in action and how people use its potential. The team are always working to perfect every area of the app, and with your feedback, who knows what our data-science team and developers can bring to life in the future? It’s now over to you guys to show us what you can do with your first opportunities in trading. Let’s shake up the landscape.