Interview with Ilya Holeu (Spotware)


Staff member
Nov 30, 2008
Spotware Systems is best known for its powerful trading platform cTrader. I have posted about their platform and, as you can notice, I have a very positive impression from it, though I, personally, do not use it for my live trading yet. Ilya Holeu, Head of Sales and Marketing at Spotware, offered me an opportunity to interview him regarding the state of the FX platform industry and the future of cTrader. You can see my questions and their answers below:

What is your current view of the trading platform industry for the FX? Is there still an opportunity to offer some innovative product or is it nearing saturation?
It seems as though there will continue to be opportunities for new FX platforms and products for quite a few years to come. As everyone in FX knows, the industry is changing all the time and it usually happens quickly. New innovations in the financial sector, new trader demands, and new regulations all mean that some platforms will inevitably fall by the wayside, others will thrive, and others still will see market entry opportunities.
How are you planning to convince more brokers to start offering your platform?
We think the market is doing a lot of the convincing for us, insofar as direct-access, no dealing desk demand is concerned. Traders, and particularly high volume traders, are now seeking transparent software that offers real liquidity sources for price streaming and trade execution, and outdated market-making platforms just won’t cut it anymore. In that respect, there’s not a lot of convincing to do from our side, as brokers are seeing the demand themselves.
It’s down to us then to simply show that we’re the best platform to fill this demand. Not only are we the most cost-effective platform for brokers, but we’re also the platform most likely to attract traders with our unique transparency of execution, excellent interface, and advanced trading features.
Execution speed becomes more and more important with the advent of the high-frequency trading. Is there some statistics of an average transaction speed via cTrader?
Execution speed is largely dependent on the user’s internet connection, as well as their proximity to our proxy-cloud and to cServer. It also depends a great deal on the LP(s) (Liquidity Proviers — A.M.) executing the order, which are chosen entirely by each broker. Some of them are lightning-quick in responding to orders, others a little slower, but they all add to the execution times experienced by the user. Thankfully, our monitoring shows that there are no persistent issues with latency, and all minor occurrences so far have been quickly solved by the LPs as a matter of first priority.
On our side, we process orders and convert them to deals and positions extremely fast, because that’s done locally.
Additionally, as our servers are located in London in the same data-center as most major banks, aggregators and ECNs, we expect a latency of no more than a few milliseconds for users running cAlgo from one of our recommended London-based VPS providers.
It looks like you are trying to implement some of the popular features directly into the platform rather than leaving them to custom indicators/robots. For example, the advanced stop-loss, time to next bar, scale, period separators, etc. Do you believe that a trading platform should have as many built-in capabilities as possible instead of relying on third-party solutions based on platform’s coding language?
We strongly believe that features that can help or enhance a user’s trading should always be provided out-of-the-box. It saves them from the complexity and time of having to dig through web pages for plugins that may turn out to be faulty once installed. And we’ll also continue to develop important features that have never been done before.
Having said that, it’s important to include these features in a way that maintains the simplicity of the interface. While we want to offer traders the most we can, we also don’t want to confuse users who perhaps take a simpler approach to trading.
In the future, we’ll be focusing a lot more on developing and providing those features that on competitors’ platforms can only be added using plugins and scripts.
Considering that, do you plan adding a lot of indicators not found in the competing platforms’ default sets or, perhaps, some really interesting and complex cBots? Or will you just limit these to exemplary pieces?
With the imminent addition of tick-charts, we’ll soon have the option to add a whole new range of pre-shipped indicators.
Additionally, users of cAlgo can download all kinds of trading robots and indicators of varying complexity from our developer-community site, cTDN, where they’ll also find many more cAlgo related discussions and materials. We focusing equally on shipping releases with both simple and complex indicators, but we do place high priority on support for more complex robots.
With increasing popularity of portfolio strategies, traders may need to combine dozens of expert advisors on one account. What is the maximum number of simultaneously running robots a cTrader client and server connection can handle?
More than would make sense for any user to be running.
Users’ needs vary. Some traders seek opportunities to run thousands of strategies simultaneously. Is it something that can be handled via cTrader?
Our servers are capable of handling thousands of strategies running simultaneously for each trader. We’re also one of the only retail platforms who are able to process and execute orders simultaneously, whilst other platforms will put orders into a queue and execute each in sequence.
What are your future plans for backtesting? Do you plan adding system optimization or ability to use custom history data?
Yes. Backtesting is an area that’s obviously of huge importance to algorithmic traders, and system optimization and ability to use custom history data are just two of the many improvements we’ll be pushing ahead with, as well as visual backtesting which will add a whole new dimension to a user’s algo analysis.
Your HTML/Excel history reports looks clean, but offer no advanced metrics (Sharpe ratio, profit factor, etc.) Do you plan any progress here?
The significance of metrics when analyzing your trading performance is of course vital, and we’ve already started work on advanced statistics and account balance graphs.
Considering success of MetaTrader’s jobs market, do you have any similar plans for creation of cTrader jobs marketplace?
We’ve already started our jobs marketplace here at with again, much more to come.
I see, but how about a more integrated job marketplace where Spotware (or some other related company) acts as a mediator between a customer and a freelancer?
Right now we’re trying to gauge how much interest there is for something like that. Once we see that it can be of value to a good number of our traders, we’ll look to offer something that can fit that demand.
I think it’s also worth pointing out that, because our robots are written in C# instead of a platform-specific programming language, users can choose form a huge number of resources where freelancers and companies are ready to help them build their robots and indicators.
Spot trading is, no doubt, the king of the online Forex industry, but what would you say about adding a different kind of products to your platform — binary options, futures, equities? Is it possible? Is it planned? Is there demand from brokers?
We added precious metals to our supported instruments last year, and plan to rollout CFDs in the near future. We don’t currently have plans beyond that, and we’re not seeing that great a demand for it, at least from our brokers.
My final question is rather speculative, but how can traders make sure that their broker does not use their trading platform’s backend to rig the rules against them? Such accusations are often voiced against some other platforms? How would you deal with them?
It’s not actually speculative at all. That kind of malpractice and account manipulation is simply not possible from our backend. It’s one of the first things we make clear to both brokers and traders. Transparent LP prices are streamed directly to traders, and execution happens with no possible interference from the broker. There are no capabilities for price manipulation, price injection, stop-hunting, or any of the other dozens of commonplace dishonest practices that we’ve heard so much about in the past. Just clean price streaming and order execution.

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