Interview With David Cooney, Co-Founder & Chief Executive at MahiFX: Technology Evolved in Response to Client Requests

Interview With David Cooney, Co-Founder & Chief Executive at MahiFX: Technology Evolved in Response to Client Requests

  • Posted Friday, March 23, 2012 -
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Hi everyone

MahiFX is a New Zealand's Retail Forex Brokerage firm that has been recently launched in London. It has generated a lot of interest in the industry not just for picking up a very original name for the company but also because of a buzz campaign through an interactive info-graphic "Your Salary vs. John Paulson's" that calculates how long it take super-trader John Paulson to earn your annual income.

Quite depressing to tell you the truth ;)

So we at were interested in getting in touch with them to find out their vision and goals after their successful launching.

Here you have our interview with David Cooney, Co-Founder & Chief Executive at MahiFX:

1. MahiFX? We know from Wiki that Mahi-mahi is a surface-dwelling ray-finned fish found in off-shore temperate, tropical and subtropical waters worldwide. Also known widely as Dorado... Why did you name your company like this? The word Mahi has different meanings and connotations in many countries. Being a New Zealander we wanted to highlight the Maori, the Indigenous people of New Zealand, definition which means Our Craft. We view ourMahiFX technology and platform as being our craft; a craft to which we as a company are committed to continually evolving and improving.

2. Are you a native New Zealand company or have you chosen its regulatory environment? I was based in the UK for 16 years of my banking career and met my wife there, but Im actually a native New Zealander. In 2010, I turned 40, my parents turned 70 and our daughter was born. Much as I enjoyed living in the UK I felt it was time to return home for a while.

We are fortunate that New Zealand has a thriving and world-renowned technology community, which partly explains why it was selected as the place to develop Avatar and Lord of the Rings. So we were able to assemble a highly talented team of developers to help build theMahiFX platform. But because New Zealand doesnt have a retail regulatory body, we looked to nearby Australia and voluntarily applied for ASIC registration. We believe that it is important for the company and the industry as a whole to support and uphold high regulatory standards.

We have recently opened our first overseas office in London and it is likely that we will spend considerably more time there as we expand the business. As such we will inevitably pursue an FSA registration. And I am, in any event, grandfathered by the FSA as a result of my positions in banking for the past 16 years.

3. Do you expect the forex volume to grow in the New Zealander and Australian markets in the coming years? If yes, in what sector: retail, institutional...? I expect that there will be growth in forex volumes in Australia and New Zealand, but I dont think this growth will be atypical as I think that FX volumes overall are set to continue to grow on a global basis. Part of this growth is attributable to firms likeMahiFX making FX trading more accessible and more efficient.

4. What would you say is new in MahiFX's offer? Which advantages makeMahiFX different from other on-line Forex market makers? One of our defining features is the spread; the absolute spread and the consistency of that spread. You often see attractive spreads advertised but read the fine print and you might discover that the spreads are from the rate advertised.MahiFX is not from; those are our spreads. Spread consistency means clients can focus on their trading opportunities and execute immediately and not have to worry about chasing the spread. The alternative is waiting for a brief window to get that spread. ECNs, for example, often suffer from rate flicker where you might see an appealing spread but they move incredibly fast or the rate is only available for some of the time.

Our expertise has always been in execution so we have created enhanced functionality to enable you to trade quickly and efficiently - in just one click. We also own every single part of the user experience which is incredibly important if you want your clients to make the most of their trading experience.

5. Does your proprietary technology offers any unique feature or combination of features other platforms don't have? Susan, my wife andMahiFX co-founder, has many years experience selling e-FX platforms to institutional traders and throughout that time was able to survey clients on what functionalities they wanted in a platform. This insight guided how we engineered theMahiFX platform.

For example, order slippage was contentious in the institutional space; and its a genuine concern for retail clients. We wanted to do the right thing with regards to client orders and build tools to enable clients to verify order information. We created charts that show where the order was placed, what the subsequent price action was, why it was filled or why it hasn't been filled. Its about creating transparency.

Quick Order is also very unique toMahiFX - the ability to leave orders close to and/or inside the spread. We also offer auto-sizing take profits and stop losses which facilitate range trading. The books concept is quite unique to us. It sounds a little complicated but it isn't! If you implement a strategy into the book level, it will remember all the trades that went into that book so you can perform analysis on them. Additionally you have the graph beside every fill in that book so you can look back and see if you could have improved on any of the entry points, exit points and see if you could have refined your strategy.

6. No minimum trade size means people will be able to trade unleveraged- which type of trader do you expect to attract with this feature? We want everyone to have equal access to the same pricing and we want to leave it up to them what they choose to trade and deposit. We provide the access and our clients trade in the way that they consider suits them best.

7. Taking the currencies flow around the world, do you expect the minor Dollars increasing its weight in the market and drilling this volume into exotic currencies? How does your system help traders who want to play with low traded pairs? We will naturally see more interest in low traded pairs as firms like ours improve access and provide competitive pricing in them. As it becomes much easier for people to trade them, volumes will naturally increase. However, trading in the minor markets does carry greater risk due to higher volatility and as such, is likely more suitable for experienced traders.

8. Since I understand that you will generate your income from client trading volumes and not from client losses, will working with no minimum account size still generate profit for you? One of the things we want to contribute to is the democratisation of access. We believe that all traders, irrespective of their investment levelsshould have access to the same quality of rates. Some will choose to trade small amounts, some will invest larger amounts, but we would like to give all our clients the same opportunity.

9. Why did you choose to develop your proprietary trading platform and not offer a generic trading platform, like MetaTrader? We believe its very important to own each and every part of the client experience so we can evolve and build the optimal trading platform based on what our users want. We viewMahiFX as our craft, and as such we will continue to add features that our clients tell

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