The Oanda Story
OANDA was founded on the belief that technology and the Internet would globalize the marketplace, creating an unprecedented need for currency-related products and services. Today, the global forex market trades over $4 trillion/day (30 times larger than NASDAQ and NYSE combined), with online retail trading a rapidly growing part of that market.
Possessing one of the world's largest and most accurate databases of currency rates, OANDA was the first in 1995 to offer a broad range of currency exchange-rate information free of charge over the Web. Today, it handles more than a million queries a day. In 1997 OANDA became an Internet-based business-to-business application service provider (ASP) and currently services over 75,000 ASP clients around the world.
With its launch of fxTrade in 2001, OANDA was one of the first companies to offer fully automated online currency trading. The OANDA fxTrade system provides retail and institutional clients a state-of-the-art platform that enables competitive, real-time access to the foreign exchange market.
Update by Jürg Conzett in 2015
How does the industry change? What the response and vison of Oanda?
In the next four minutes, I give you an update on where Oanda, the Forex Company, is going. It is part of the essential tool kit which you will need in the future. Here is why:
- 1) Oanda is a multi-asset trading platform
Oanda was the first company to develop the retail industry for currencies 15 years ago which was previously a highly profitable, but closed shop for banks.
Any investor, including small ones, can now trade many financial assets and diversify his portfolio globally, at almost no trading cost.
I estimate this market at 500.000 currently active traders worldwide, mostly focusing on the very short-term trend of the financial market.
- 2) Oanda is a currency hedging and currency transfer platform for companies:
Imagine a Swiss company paying monthly salaries to its staff in Tokyo. The CFO may want to hedge this exposure in advance for every month, to keep payments in line with his budget. Or a merchant receiving Japanese Yen in six months time; he may want to lock in the exchange rate now.
All this is available at extremely favorable rates usually not offered at banks. The same applies to currency transfers. The amount of currency loss incurred by corporate America every year is very significant. There is much room for improvement here for a technology-savvy company like Oanda.
- 3) Oanda is an investment platform.
Oanda offers systematic investment products which are rule-based investments; they offer the advantage of a systematic investment process and will develop into an asset class of their own.
A client of Oanda may want to keep part of his liquid assets at work in the financial market, but with immediate liquidity in case he needs it.
If Oanda succeeds in offering above-average and consistent performance with these products, it will enhance its reputation among the target group, which is the larger trader - and provide a stable source of income.
- 4) Oanda is the All-Forex Company - a product for the future
Imagine to send any currency in any amount to anybody in the world, with only the e-mail address or the mobile phone number of the recipient required - at low cost; a restaurant in Zurich may want to accept bitcoin, or a friend would like to get dollars for his service.
all you need is a smart phone and an account at Oanda, no installation needed.
accept and send any currency at minimal cost; which means: you stay flexible.
switch between currencies and assets at minimal trading cost.
I call it "a product for the future" because in a few years' time, consumers will need to think global, in various currencies, rather than national, only in their home currency. Technology enables sending small amounts of money. With it, transfers in various digital currencies will become the norm and it will be important to keep the transfer cost very low, which usually means outside the banking area.
remember the ad?: "don't leave home without it". Today, people would rather leave the credit card at home than their smart phone. That smart phone is needed to use Oanda's services.
What is the unique selling point of Oanda, what is the bigger story? Oanda combines speed of execution, reputation and ease of transfer for consumer and professionals alike. In particular:
- the advantage for a trader is: he has immediate access to the trading platform through the desktop or his mobile device, easy control 24h a day.
- the advantage for investors is: performance, ease of control of the investments, instant liquidity of funds.
- the advantage for company management is: a cost advantage; ease and immediacy of control which is important for keeping a budget.
- the advantage for the consumer is: think in currency for small amounts, he has immediate control and enjoys very low cost.
Oanda is well positioned in established markets, but is also a driving force in emerging social media markets. Currency transfer, currency trading, currency investing and micro payments will be mainstream in a few years time.