And for our next profile … we have Shane McQuillan from Trusted in Trading. They are a Social Media Platform for the Financial Sector.
Our questions are in bold.
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Who are you and what’s your background?
I have been working within the finance sector for 23 years now. I went straight into the world of investments after I left college in London My initial introduction to the financial world actually happened in Denmark when I was hired by a small Stock Broker as a broker trainee. After some time I was noticed and hired by a larger stock broker which in those days was leading the fintech field with their online trading platform. The company was Midas which was in my time to become Saxo Bank which is now a leading online investment bank. Saxo Bank was a steep learning curve for me as I transitioned from predominantly sales role dealing with retail and institutional clients to a sales trader role and dealing with clients directly and their trading needs. I was instrumental in opening up the Asian Pacific market for Saxo Bank through the setting up of the Asian Pacific desk which worked through the night from the banks Copenhagen headquarters. All of us at the bank knew that the system which we used was revolutionary and changing the way people approached investing and trading and this of course was before the term “Fintech” has been coined. So as such, this was the beginning of my journey along the Fintech path but it was not the sole inspiration for our current project. My inspiration for Trusted in Trading has been drawn from many sources but one can only expect that with a concept which has such a multi-faceted approach.
I have since leaving Denmark and Saxo Bank work with numerous other asset managers but a few years ago, I thought it was best for a change of pace and decided upon working within marketing, something which I had always had a keen interest in but specifically in the online optimisation sector, which was in those days also an emerging Sector and I was fortunate enough to be employed by two of the leading companies in SEO as a director. Those companies were Move Ahead Media and Smart Traffic. My obvious focus was on the financial companies which were looking to increase their online traffic through targeted organic traffic.
In recent years I have consulted on numerous fintech projects with regards to finance and marketing.
What is your job title and what are your general responsibilities?
I am the Chief Operating Officer at Trusted in Trading but I am also the concept and product designer. My role is very significant in ensuring the platform and company are in sync and heading in the same direction while maintaining the daily operations of the company. A large part of my role is also running the multiple projects which are associated with the development of the platform in conjunction with the CTO and CEO.
Can you give us an overview of your business?
Trusted in Trading is a social media platform for the financial sector from the student to the asset manager, the home owner to the realtor. We do not offer investments, mortgages or any other financial instruments for sale ourselves but offer all companies within the financial sector the ability to excommunicate their message on an unbiased platform. Just about every platform in the financial sector has one prime goal. To get you to trade with their trading platform. This is not what we wanted, we wanted a platform which could rival Linkedin and Facebook. We wanted a platform which encompassed the whole of the financial sector from Insurance to Asset Management to Accountancy to Investing to Education.
As with any social media platform, there are a number of features which you would expect but due to the platform being finance orientated there are features which endemic to finance.
• Full Profile Control
• Video Chat
• Video Diaries
• Media Sharing
• Real Time Charting
• College Financial Planner
• Mortgage Payment Checker
• Retirement Planner
• Profile Privacy Tools for Investors
• Article Creation
• Social Media Syndication Tools
• Investment Opinion Tools
• Job Postings
• Internship Postings
• Event Creation
• Project Funding Section
• Trusted Verification Tools
• Community Spam Management
• Groups (with community anti-spam tools)
• Feed Control Tools
• Fund Upload, Statistical Analysis and Publication Tools
Professionals and institutions will have a full array of categorization tools to ensure articles and posts can adhere to the parameters of the regulations which are set out by their national regulator which include;
• Geo –Targeting of specific countries
• Country Exclusion
• Accredited Investor Verification
And Many More Items Currently Under Development
We envisage a platform where it is safe for users to browse, interact, share and post without the fear of being spammed. In the world of finance, intelligence is what wins hearts and minds and we expect our users to maintain their profiles professionally and share intelligently.
Tell us how you are funded.
We are privately funded venture, bootstrapping.
Why did you start the company? To solve what problems?
An interesting question. The concept was derived from a number of sources but the initial idea came after reading a post on Linkedin. A person had been looking for funding for a project and had posted to a group. He had then been approached about the funding and as such entered into negotiations after which he paid a deposit on the funding. Unfortunately, the person or company which had received the deposit disappeared and the guy lost his 30K. This led to more investigation and we found that this happen quite a lot and this became the core driver in the development. We developed a social platform which gives the users the ability to provide documentation and enable greater transparency for themselves and their companies. In a globalised world, it is at time hard to tell who you are dealing with and as it is so easy to fake profiles, it can be quite easy to be caught out. This is a problem which is not being dealt with sufficiently in the financial markets and in our opinion with the use of our platform, the added tranparancy will make it a lot more difficult for fake accounts to be created in order to defraud people. This is a paid service, one of the paid services on the platform.
Another aspect which we found not to be readily available to financial marketers was the ability to target the correct audience with relation to regulatory guidelines. Many asset managers and financial institution must adhere to strict guidelines when they are marketing. Some companies do not have the necessary licensing to approach residents of countries such as the USA. We took this into consideration and enabled in platform categorisations which allow financial marketers to choose their geo-targeting and investor category. This stops un-accredited investors from seeing their marketing material.
We also wanted to make life a little easier for Asset Managers to be able to create and publicise their fund performances. We have as such developed a fund upload page in which fund managers can upload their fund data, choose their necessary benchmarking and the fund performance will then be published along with a string of statistical data such as sortino ratios, maximum drawdowns and more. This is a free service.
Another key aspect we want to look into was giving investors and general users the necessary privacy they require. With that in mind, we have enabled privacy controls which are completely under their control and as such can prevent any spamming of accounts.
We also wanted to address a key talking point ion the social media sector these days. This is to address spamming in groups etc. we have enabled community management tools which enable group member to deal with spam. We shall not release how this is done as of yet or the parameters of how it works.
With a social platform which promotes discussion and intelligent debate while allowing companies and professionals to show their best attributes to potential clients and their peers while providing a more secure environment, it can only be beneficial for all involved. This is not subscription platform, this is free.
Who are your target customers? What’s your revenue model?
Our platform is open to all who have an interest in the financial markets for free.
We have added some potential revenue streams such as a verified account which shall be 299 USD a year, job postings, featured articles, advertising and sponsored feed posts shall also be paid and available.
What is your message for the larger players in the Finance industry?
Don’t underestimate the small start-ups, innovation is not under the sole ownership of Silicon Valley. Try to be more supporting to the start-up sector.
What phone are you carrying and why?
I carry a Vivo. I love the functionality of the vivo and its size and camera capabilities.
Where do you get your industry news from?
Many sources. Invstr and Seeking Alpha are great sources of news.
Can you list 3 people you rate from the FinTech sector that we should be following on Twitter?
Dinis Guarda @dinisguarda Block chain influencer and founder of many amazing sites.
Simon Cocking @simoncocking Fellow Irishman and leading fintech influencer
Devie Mohan @devie_mohan Amazing fintech researcher.
Can you suggest the name of an Angel Investor or VC that might be interested in being profiled?
Lars Seier Christensen
What’s the best FinTech product or service you’ve seen recently?
It has to be Invstr. Simple a great trading application with amazing amounts of information available to its users.
Finally, let’s talk predictions. What trends do you think are going to define the next few years in the FinTech sector?
The building of trust is such an important factor to all who use the internet and while we are dealing with this is a number of ways through advancements in block chain technologies etc , we also must look towards dealing with the fraudulent activities of unscrupulous individuals on the net and specifically with the financial sector. I believe this will be the driving force of many fintech applications.
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