Trading is like a high performance sport, even the slightest misstep costs a lot of money, says Otakar Šuffner from FF Trader
Expansion into 180 countries, monitoring tens of thousands of accounts a day, a year-on year growth from 1465 % to 2356 % and, for the second time in a row, the Fastest Growing Rising Star award winner for Central Europe in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 competition. This is FF Trader, a company that finds successful traders on financial markets through its FTMO platform. “When we started out five years ago, a few similar platforms had already existed. We were not unique but as we continued growing and adding more services, we became an established trading platform,“ says Otakar Šuffner, FF Trader CEO.
If there was a fairy tale about startups, it would, instead of the typical “once upon a time”, say something about fast growth that is often at the cost of stabilisation of internal processes, and that there are always strong founding leaders who do everything at the company. As the company starts to become successful, more people are hired and activities within the company are distributed. Then the specific story of Otakar Šuffner and Marek Vašíček would follow, which started during their banking studies at the Prague University of Economics and Business where they became interested in capital markets and started their first project in a Žižkov office in Prague. From studying demo versions and theory, they evolved towards actual trading and founded the FF Trader company that now finds successful traders on financial markets through its FTMO platform.
“When we first started with Marek Vašíček and our first employee Filip in 2013, we managed everything – from law to trading, marketing and IT. We are now a company with 70 people and a defined structure. We are still hiring and looking for new motivated people,“ says Otakar Šuffner, co-founder and CEO of FF Trader.
FF Trader (FTMO): the Fastest Growing Rising Star in Central Europe in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 competition. In the five years of its existence, the FTMO platform has seen so many traders that they are hard to count. Currently there are a thousand traders who are all entitled to a monthly payment. Otakar Šuffner remembers the very first trader from 2016 and then a current trader, whose profit amounts to about a million CZK per month, which is really remarkable for the Czech market. The most profitable trade executed through the FTMO platform this year amounted to GBP 60 000.
It is an honour for FF Trader to become the fastest growing company in Central Europe for the second time in a row. What was the trick? “An amazing product and an even more amazing team that works so hard on the project, moving it forward,“ says Otakar Šuffner.
As soon as a company exceeds a certain threshold both in terms of size and income growth and focuses on stabilisation of its internal processes, the pace slows down. “We had no idea at the end of 2019 that we would grow much faster in 2020. I do not expect to follow up on such growth but we will certainly seek to maintain the quality of services and we would also like to address big markets in their local languages. We are now preparing the Spanish, Portuguese and Vietnamese languages“.
Individual markets will be deciding as well – the U.S. are now the most important market with a share of almost 30%. “The Czech market where it all began and without which we would never have succeeded now has a share of 0.5%. The Czech traders tend to be slightly more distrustful in the beginning compared to those from the EU, U.S. and Australia but other than that we do not perceive differences among traders.“
Traders are paid for immaculate performance, only the most experienced ones succeed
The company’s name is FF Trader but the name to remember is FTMO. “We have established a platform to help traders be compliant with the basics such as discipline and risk management. These are crucial qualities that traders have to possess. Our platform stands out mainly because of its fairest rules for obtaining the opportunity to do capital management. We analyse our clients’ accounts and offer them special applications that they use in their trading. Last but not least, we have the best support in the industry available,“ explains Otakar Šuffner. He also says that traders must meet basic rules of risk management, i.e. not to lose a certain amount of money in one day and subsequently make money in the whole period for which they bought the service. “Finally yet importantly, the cooperation with us is conditioned by business activity. This way, we get enough results from the traders and decide which one of them is really good. It sounds easy but it is quite complicated and only the experienced traders can pass our test.“
Mental endurance is the key to success in trading
Support of individual traders is also vital, not only regarding the environment and know-how but also psychological assistance. Otakar Šuffner compares trading to high performance sports. “A trader gets paid for immaculate performance and even the slightest misstep costs a lot of money. Psychological support is therefore very important; unfortunately, most traders do not think so and sometimes it does not end well.”
However, trading is very different from what society prepares us for. At school, we are taught that one plus one equals two no matter what. It does not work like that in trading, though. “You may be given a similar business opportunity both on Monday and Tuesday but the results may differ completely. All of this can shatter the trader’s mental state, followed by fear of loss and as a result, the trader is not as alert as they should be when executing their business plan. Therefore, we see psychology as a key aspect and have an intern psychologist to assist our traders.”
What is coming up next? FF Trader will now be mainly focusing on its expansion in Asian markets.