An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

Less is more. When there’s less, you get more out of it. Don’t over-explain. In business, try to look at the source and simplify processes.

As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lev Mazur.

Lev Mazur is founder of Quantfury, a multi-asset global brokerage that delivers unmatched trading conditions of real-time exchange spot prices and zero fees to retail traders around the world (outside of the U.S and Canada). Previously, Lev was a quantitative trader of proprietary capital, forex, futures, commodities, and equity markets. He started in the commodity and forex trading business in 1992.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I was born in Russia and immigrated to Israel with my family in my early teens. For as long as I can remember, I was very interested in financial markets and how numbers in those markets work. I saw markets as a constantly moving puzzle, and I was interested in the outcome of the market’s movements. At a very young age, I was influenced by the author, Issac Asimov, and the character in his Foundation book series: Hari Seldon. I was particularly intrigued by the fictional science of psychohistory, which the character Hari Seldon invents. Psychohistory is basically trying to recognize the relationship between patterns of time and certain socio-economic events, and how the outcome of those patterns affects society.

I started to study computer science at Hebrew University and then took a job at a bank where I began trading. I gained experience as a trader, but I was always interested in the science (if such existed) behind speculating in the markets and the predictability of decision-making by market participants. I realized that you need two things to succeed in trading. One is having an advantage to win in this business by seeing things that others don’t. Second, having an understanding of people’s sentiment is like being backstage into what goes on in their decision-making process.

I always understood that psychohistory could be applied to many things. But in the financial markets you can apply it immediately because you’ve got a recurring set of tangibles that affect the markets. These include price movement, earnings, economic or financial news, and geopolitical events. All of what’s happening in financial markets represents the emotions of a significant group of people. You can look at a model. It’s a reoccurring event, but the event is the same. You can have economic news that can be good or bad, but it’s the type of event that is always there to affect the model.

As the years passed, I saw the changes in the retail trading industry, as it became a club of people who are preaching and teaching greed. I saw an opportunity to make money and clean up the industry at the same time, and I set out to offer an alternative way of speculating as a lifestyle choice to promote an intellectual challenge, with unmatched conditions and a better user experience.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

There’s so much that is disruptive, but our major disruption is honesty, and the architecture of the business that’s behind it. Other platforms make billions of dollars by churning and burning their users by selling the idea that trading 24/7 is a way to become a millionaire. They deliver conditions that are not fair by quoting incorrect prices, manipulating prices, or executing the trades in an incorrect way.

The problem in this industry is that there are perpetrators who have zero accountability and bring people in and make them lose everything. That’s how it works. And they do it by cheating and being dishonest. They don’t innovate anything. They sell the dream of making money and it never happens.

We are truly being honest, which no one else does and we are showing that there’s no need to be dishonest to be successful.

We’re providing absolute unmatched conditions trading with real market prices, no fees and commissions of any kind with unmatched support and user experience. We emphasize safeguarding around trading. We’re not trying to make people trade, but if they want to trade with Quantfury that’s okay. We’re not pushing and promoting the idea that by trading you’re going to make millions of dollars and become a millionaire. We believe the right approach is to trade with caution or don’t trade at all.

People should sleep, work, create real value, and then maybe play, otherwise you could create addiction. So, our major disruption, I believe, is being honest. It drives our entire business philosophy, and it is incorporated in everything we do.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I first started working at a bank in 1993, the bank gave me and two other new members of the trading desk a fake credit line so we could practice trades. In two weeks, we made $82 million in profit trading dollar against the Deutsche Mark. After our success, we were given real capital and proceeded to lose $15 million in our next two weeks and were afraid of losing our jobs. The takeaway is that trading is like a war. No training will really prepare you for a real battlefield and, like in a war, nothing will go according to the plan. Don’t listen to adrenaline and testosterone. I believe that you must go through a lot of pain in trading to be ready.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

My biggest mentor was my mother. She always told me that if I see someone who truly loves their profession and puts their everything into it, I must give them the utmost respect, no matter what their profession is. She taught me that decision-making has to start from your heart. Because of her, I knew from the beginning that I had to do what I really liked and believed in, and to be proud of my craft. I also always made sure to surround myself with people who loved what they were doing, and I followed those people to become successful.

Professionally, my good friend and former boss, Dov Asher was the chairman of the board of a mutual fund that I worked at in the beginning of my career, and he took a long time to teach me how to be conservative with my approach to risk-taking. He has been like an older brother to me since then.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

If you’re disrupting an industry by optimizing, making things more efficient, or adding value, like Uber is disrupting the transportation industry, that’s good. An industry doesn’t have to be bad or stagnant for it to be disrupted. It just needs to be brought to the next stage by making it even better. If you’re disrupting by oversimplifying something and creating some kind of Wild West like the “disruptors” in the trading industry today, you’re using the same terminology, but what they’re doing is not good for people.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Do what you like to do and use your heart before your brain. This is advice from my mother. In your professional life, do what you believe is the right thing to do.

Keep a pulse on things and look at them from a bigger perspective to understand what’s going on. Then, you’ll be better at decision-making.

Less is more. When there’s less, you get more out of it. Don’t over-explain. In business, try to look at the source and simplify processes.

And one more thing, don’t be afraid to come to the wrong decision. Life isn’t only about winning. When you fail, you see who really cares about you.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

There are still so many things to do. Our competitors had many years to get to where they are and we had only two, so even though our growth rate is better, we can’t use the tools that they have because of principles and ethics. We are going to make ourselves much more available and much easier to understand. Right now, we are in the early adopters’ stage. We will make ourselves more available to the mass market globally. We’re just starting.

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

As I mentioned earlier, I was influenced by Issac Asimov. When I was in second grade I had read all Asimov books, loving them all really, and specifically being fascinated by Asimov’s Foundation, and the book’s main idea of having the ability to predict the future. It talks about the concept of psychohistory, who some view as an actual science and, of course, being fictional, some view it as a pseudoscience. The book and its protagonist, Hari Seldon, stuck with me. The science fiction that I grew up reading that fascinated me was not rooted in space travel, it was about understanding major events in society through mathematics and the future relationship of computation, human ethics, and morals.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

There’s an anonymous quote, ”Only those who care about you can hear you when you are quiet.” When you go through some victories, it’s obviously quite noisy around you. However, when everything is quiet, you know who truly cares about you. That also goes with life situations when one is alone and facing many challenges and failures, and then it’s easy to see who really cares about you, by being there for you.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I have some core beliefs I think everyone should follow. Everyone should focus on bettering themselves. There is light and there is darkness in the world, and we have a great responsibility for everyone’s well-being. I would love for people to feel empathy for each other. It’s important to understand and be aware of people’s struggles and challenges, to build solutions, and fix problems. Also, don’t take yourself too seriously. If you do, then your ego comes out, and you become more important than what you’re actually doing.

How can our readers follow you online?

On Twitter: @Lev_Mazur, @quantfury

On YouTube:

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

Meet The Disruptors: Lev Mazur Of Quantfury On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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