The COVID-19 pandemic struck almost every country across the globe. Its impact extended beyond public health and affected every industry, putting many businesses to the test.
We caught up with Jean-Yves Sireau, founder and CEO of Deriv, to learn about the company, how it’s addressing the pandemic, and where it is now in terms of innovation. Here is what he said about it.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Deriv.
Jean-Yves Sireau: Being in the business for the past two decades has been quite a journey. I started my first company in 1991, where I developed financial software for the French brokerage community. The following year, I moved to Hong Kong and worked as a money market dealer with Crédit Commercial de France (now HSBC). In 1993, I founded my own Hong Kong-based investment fund, Fortitude Group Inc., where I specialized in dealing futures and options on the Hong Kong Futures Exchange.
From 1997 to 1999, I started working on the systems and algorithms that established what Deriv is today. Initially funded with USD 2 million in investment by Jim Mellon’s Regent Pacific Group Ltd, we launched Deriv in 2000. After 21 years and with a turnover of more than 3 billion US dollars, we are growing stronger than ever.
We believe online trading should be accessible to everyone, everywhere. With this in mind, we offer trading platforms that provide a simple, reliable, and flexible trading experience for our clients.
Our company has gone through rebrandings and revisions throughout its history to meet the changing times. As we have grown, our offerings have grown too. From just options, we now offer more products and a range of platforms that our clients can choose from, giving everyone more ways to trade.
We’re constantly striving to improve in order to become a better all-around service provider for our clients, and we aim for another 21 successful years and more.
How are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Jean-Yves Sireau: Like everyone, we’re adapting to the ‘new normal’ and taking every precaution during this pandemic. We’re grateful our loved ones are safe and well, and we’re hoping the world will return to some form of normality soon. All we can do for now is do our part — stay disciplined and compliant with what needs to be done to achieve the best possible outcome for us all.
How has the pandemic affected your business?
Jean-Yves Sireau: The coronavirus pandemic has brought about some of the biggest changes to how we do business on a global scale. With lockdowns and restrictions in place, businesses have had to adapt how offices operate and how employees communicate with each other.
Communication across borders is not unfamiliar territory for a global business like ours. However, we still had to establish stronger systems so that our teams could adapt smoothly, especially in countries where they needed to switch to working from home. Having continuous engagement with all of our team members helped overcome the limitations imposed by the pandemic. Despite the limitations, it’s been fairly positive, and we’ve continued to grow and expand as we’ve opened new offices in Rwanda, Belarus, and Cyprus and hired over 300 new staff.
Safety-wise, we have navigated our way through this ongoing pandemic and taken all the necessary precautions. Apart from providing masks, hand sanitizers, and sharing health tips and updates, we’ve taken our employees’ safety seriously and made sure to take the extra mile, especially in implementing social distancing by renting additional office space.
I’m very fortunate to work with people who are dedicated to their roles and always bring their A-game to any agenda we wish to accomplish despite this pandemic.
What lessons have you learned?
Jean-Yves Sireau: Being in the fintech industry, we have learned how to become more resilient and open to change. Change is indeed challenging, but if that change is for the better, we stick with it simply because we know the result is for the greater good.
Our commitment is to efficiently meet the rising demands of our clients. This is a huge undertaking, especially now that there is a great deal of uncertainty due to Covid-19. With the best resources at our disposal, we are adapting as well as we can.
How do you manage to grow and still keep the communication strong?
Jean-Yves Sireau: We regularly use communication tools such as Zoom, Slack, email, and Telegram to keep our conversation streams flowing. We’ve geared our staff with top-of-the-line equipment that allows them to work from anywhere if need be.
We’ve also made our emergency response plans more flexible and scalable. It’s essential to prepare the right resources and tools to use to handle potential challenges and develop an effective management strategy to steer the ship in the right direction.
Who are your competitors? How do you plan to stay in the game?
Jean-Yves Sireau: The growing interest in trading leads to the presence of more and more competitors. Our strong reputation, client-focused offerings, and commitment to our mission to democratize trading set us apart from our competitors. Our unrivaled track record speaks for itself.
What I’m most proud of is our constant and unwavering commitment to provide the highest level of integrity and reliability for our clients, something we have been doing from day one.
Now that we have stepped into our third decade of operations, we’ve renewed our commitment to making online trading accessible to everyone. This commitment is driven by our desire to continue listening and responding to our clients to provide the best possible trading experience.
Releasing new trading platforms to augment our legacy products and moving into open source and APIs have only been a few of the steps we have taken to not only stay competitive but to stay ahead of our competition.
What’s next for Deriv?
Jean-Yves Sireau: We’ve always been about innovation, right from the beginning. The future is hard to predict, but you always need to build for the future. We’ve been in the industry for over 20 years, and we’ve remained committed and consistent when it comes to evolving to reflect the current times and market trends to provide the best service for our clients.
The future is full of opportunities, and I believe it’s important to explore what’s out there and start now.
Dedicated to our mission of democratizing trading, our growth strategy for 2021 focuses on three key areas — expanding our reach to broader markets, advancing mobilization and usability, and increasing positive ROI (return on investment) on paid acquisition. These areas are firmly tied to the long-term strategies we’ve determined since Day 1 — technology, customer experience, branding, and expansion. We’re never afraid to reinvent ourselves because we know how crucial it is if we want to stay ahead in such a highly competitive industry.
Your final thoughts?
Jean-Yves Sireau: We remain optimistic about the future, and I’m happy to share that our plans for new products, services, and markets have already been rolled out.
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