Fresh from finishing a Masters in finance, Alessandro Capuano dived straight into the currency markets working for a fund before his career took him to Fineco Bank, where he is now Head of Global Brokerage.
In our latest Trader Dozen, we fired 13 questions over to Alessandro, who took us through his trading journey so far, allowing us to discover a bit about the workings of Fineco Bank along the way.
1. Can you remember when and why you got into the financial industry? Do you still currently trade?
I do remember. I started my career in 2002 as soon as I finished my Master's degree in in finance. I started working as an analyst for a currency fund in London. My first role was supporting the fund managers in trading FX and I also had a small risk allocation for trading European equity CFD. The market was very different at that time, electronic trading was still not so dominant and we were coming from the internet bubble of 2001.
2. What does your role involve within the brokerage division at Fineco Bank?
I manage the brokerage unit, which is the part of the Bank, in charge of all the trading products. Fineco's trading offer is one of the widest in Europe and our clients are quite demanding in term of services. Our clients trade from single stocks to listed derivatives to FX and CFD.
To give an idea, the same underling on our platform can be traded with equity, option, future or CFD and the beauty of Fineco Bank is that you can pick the best product for your strategy. You can choose to trade with leverage or not if you want the flexibility of the OTC for example or if you want both. Our role is making sure that all the products and our platform work perfectly but also making sure that we always have the right product for the strategy of our customer.
3. What motivates you to constantly work to improve in your role and enjoy what you’re doing?
With over 1 million clients we face several challenges every day. Fineco Bank has proved to be extremely successful in Italy and now the goal is to export this model to other countries. In particular in the UK we think there is a big opportunity for our solution. Our entry point is the bank account which allows you to do banking and payment as well. From the banking account you can access a wide offer of trading services and very soon we will be ready with a compressive offer of funds and investments products like ISAs. The majority of our clients just use Fineco Bank because we have all they need in one single app or platform.
4. I’m presuming that you’ve come up against failure in the past. Do you have an approach on getting past these failures and has this evolved?
I do if you do not fail you do not learn. If I have to be honest when I was working for the fund I saw more failure or losing trades than winning trades. This is important, but it is more important what you do after failing and how quickly you adapt in changes. Even in my current role the ability to adapt to changes and the ability of doing it quickly makes a big difference.
5. What would you put your success down to? Luck, your intellect and smarts or just consistent hard work? Or possibly a combination?
I hope not luck. However I am afraid luck is important. But sometimes luck comes when you go for the right intuition. I would say it is a combination of everything; planning and hardwork however are the most dominant part of the story.
6. What do you think sets you apart from others who provide similar services at other banks or even those internally?
Fineco Bank has a very high culture of products and the ability of diversify business model has been enormous and this sets Fineco in a better position to compete in all the market conditions. Fineco Bank started 20 years ago as just a simple online stock broking, then in a very short period of time has transformed into a bank also capable of offering all sort of investment products. Within the single unit - Banking, Investment and Brokerage - Fineco has never stopped developing new products to satisfy the client demand.
7. Do you have any advice for those wanting to get into your world of brokerage?
I think what is really key is to be passionate. Passionate about the market and passionate about finding the best solution to help clients.
8. Do you set yourself goals? And do you feel that it is a good way to achieve what you want?
I do but my role is not really the micromanagement, more the ability to get the business in the right direction.
9. Knowing what you know now and how you got to where you are today. Is there anything you would like to have done differently?
To be honest no, I had the beauty to start to work in a very challenging dynamic environment in London then I moved on the sales side and I had the opportunity to lead the first team who started to offer CFD to the European client base. This was at my time at IG and we created in Europe a market that did not exist before bringing into Europe CFD and FX while the market was heavily dominated by traditional stock brokers. I had the opportunity to set up a business from scratch and learn how to develop it adapting to the local requirement and culture.
10. You spent most of your career at IG before moving into Fineco Bank. How did you find the transition?
I would say the transition is going smoothly. Clearly at all successful companies there is a great culture behind it and the culture here is no different. Fineco Bank is an excellent place to be in these days, full of very talented people who are passionate for the business and I have a very strong team with me which will support the plan of the international expansion.
11. What was the reasoning behind your move over to Fineco Bank after your experience?
Two reasons which are linked. I think companies with multiproduct offers will perform better in the coming years. Second, I wanted to expand my knowledge in different products, and Fineco Bank is probably the best place to be if you want to have a wide experience working on listed and OTC products but also in the UK offering a single solution for banking and investments as well.
12. Back in the day when Fineco launched (1999) it was the first online retail trading service in Italy. The bank now offers banking, brokerage and investment services to retail clients. What are its key strengths?
I have lived many years in the UK and I had always wanted a provider capable of satisfying all my needs about finance. If you think about it these days everyone needs a bank account to receive your salary and pay your bills. But very soon you realize that you need an investment account to start to save money and invest in the market but also you might need a trading account to trade CFD and FX but also to trade shares or future or bonds for instance.
You do not need to use all services, maybe you just want to the banking service or maybe just use the banking services to have access to the multi-currency offer and exchanging pounds in euros or dollar and having an international debit card to pay your weekend abroad. But it is very likely you will need all our services so why spend your time swapping money from one provider to another? I’d rather prefer all in one place and if I need, I can have an easy access to banking investment and trading.
13. Fineco recently had Round The Clock Trader (RTCT) into their offices and had several speakers present. Could you say a bit about how the event went?
It was in our London Hub. It was a great day and I believe the traders enjoyed it and have understood the importance of starting trading with a method. Whatever method it is, you can’t start trading randomly, but you need to have some method. At Fineco Bank we give great importance to this aspect and one of the reasons to have a presence in the City of London has been to be closer to our clients and help them in using our services so that when they start trading the can start with more confidence.