When investing, your capital is at risk.
Over $6.6 trillion is traded on the FX market every day, making it the largest and most liquid financial market in the world.
However, the FX market is plagued by imperfect price movements, and poor conduct on the part of some of the world’s largest financial institutions. In an effort to address structural imperfections and bolster good governance in the FX market, Michael Siwek and Ashwind Soonarane launched DMALINK with just $230,000 in the bank. Today, DMALINK is used by banks, funds and brokers around the world.
We sat down with Michael Siwek to find out how the business got off the ground, and what’s to come in the world of foreign exchange.
What’s DMA Link’s mission in a nutshell?
Our mission is to resolve structural imperfections in the foreign exchange market and to address the governance and conduct issues raised by regulators. We’ve developed robust big data and analytics solutions that create an open, transparent and accessible currency market for banks, funds and corporations – so our clients can make better trading decisions.
When did you first realise there was a gap in the market that you wanted to capitalise on?
Our entire management team comes from a finance background, at banks and sell-side and buy-side firms. Combining our experience of 50 years +, it became evident to us back in 2007 that there was a big gap between traders expectations and market realities. So, we decided to do something about it.
We built a viable and less ordinary ecosystem enabling connectivity between our clients and market makers, all in around 2 years.
What does competition in this space look like and what is DMA Link’s USP?
Our peers typically offer basic trade execution and reporting features. Our solution harnesses the power of regional marketing making and big-data analytics, coupled with independent reference rate data, enabling our clients to realise the actual cost of execution and therefore achieve better trade results. To paraphrase, we are cheaper, faster and better compared to what’s out there at the moment. We are at the cusp of enabling the market to transact more efficiently.
How does trading EM currencies work through DMA Link?
The process of connecting is straightforward. We establish a physical connection by cable between the client server and ourselves, in one of our two data centres located in Slough or Jersey. The client can place trades via API using their existing trading strategies. Trades are executed within milliseconds. Alternatively, the client can use our Infinium web-based interface to submit orders and interact with the market. All trades are centrally cleared and settled using Tier 1 Banks.
How did you go about selecting your core team – how does your experience prepare you to scale the business?
Myself and my co-founder Ashwind have known each other for 10 years, working together at multiple firms. Our Ceo Manu, who joined us two years ago, was a client of a previous service with renowned clients including Lloyds Bank. Strong relationships and the ability to share knowledge freely among the team is key to us. This comes with mutual trust and understanding, and reduces the risk of “employee-default”.
What can we expect from DMA Link next in the way of product developments, partnerships and more?
We’re in the midst of planning aggressive product expansion into Non-Deliverable Forwards (NDFs), options and swaps out of our new Singapore data-centre in Q4 2021. Further, we’re investing in Artificial Intelligence logic to enable clients to achieve consistent trading and execution results. Coupled with DMALINK’s part ownership in DeFinity, a proprietary blockchain-focused clearing and settlement platform for equities, bonds, commodities and foreign exchange, we are excited about the future of decentralised finance.
Who are your current users and what is the strategy to continue acquiring business in the future?
Our existing users include Tier 1 Banks, regional banks, asset managers, funds, brokers and soon corporate clients. We acquire clients through our existing network of employees, partners and word-of-mouth recommendations.
What has been the greatest success for the business so far, and how did your team celebrate?
So far, the biggest milestone would be exceeding 300,000 completed transactions on the platform. We marked the occasion by getting the team and our families together to reflect on the road travelled to get to this place, which often is not publicly displayed.
What’s the most important thing you learned in starting a business?
Never underestimate the power of cash flow! Know that everything ALWAYS takes longer than anticipated and take things day-by-day.
What’s your number one finance tip?
Spend what you have and know the difference between assets and liabilities!
To find out more about DMALINK, check out the pitch.