Peter Karsten is the CEO of STARTRADER Limited. We were curious to know about STARTRADER and how it all works. Hence, we decided to sit down and talk with Peter Karsten.
We talked about trading and STARTRADER. We got to know about the goals of STARTRADER and a lot more. Let’s see how it goes.
Explain the background of you and the Company in detail.
STARTRADER serves a booming market driven by people’s trading ambitions, regulation and availability of professional employees who can support clients.
With any product, people in some regions of the world are more likely to want the product than people in other countries. CFDs on Currencies, commodities, gold, oil – there are traders with a strong affinity to very specific aspects of trading – and that is our market.
It is wonderful to find people who are passionate about trading, and the next step is to check if it is acceptable to provide financial services in the region.
And then comes the team. We need to communicate the benefits and risks of trading and show people how to trade with our trading platform. Each client wants a personal relationship manager, which we provide.
What are your goals?
Our goals are to connect passionate traders with a team which really understands trading.
What do you feel is the biggest strength of yourself/company right now?
STARTRADER’s fundamental strength is the commitment experienced by everyone associated with trading.
That strength is what we have always focused on. We operate segregated client fund accounts to keep our client’s funds and strive to provide advanced technologies to our clients. Angelo Dundee was an extraordinary boxing trainer, and his clients did the boxing. I sometimes feel that all our personal relationship managers are just like Angelo.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There is an intensity when trades are live. I enjoy the pressure.
STARTRADERs are high performers; I don’t separate employees from clients in saying that. Every person deserves respect, development, autonomy and discretion. The biggest challenge is to guess how positive feedback will affect people. Too much, and some individuals will overestimate their capabilities. Too little, and they will lose direction. I have always played team sports and, as such, recognise the importance of pure stars and everyone who makes them into stars. My children tell me the easiest way to know if you are part of a team is to turn off the WiFi.
Give us one word that describes you the best.
Forbearance is perhaps my keyword. When STARTRADERs develop – where do they go? What is next for each individual? Team? This is a moment in time. Everything will change. Focus on people you want to work with in whatever future we face.
What makes you excited about Mondays?
It’s fun to rip into work each Monday. Teams of committed individuals with lots of plans and ideas – probably not the same as a week earlier – head into a shared future. And that sense of doing it together is the culture and resulting vision that drives us.
Tell us about a project that forced you to be innovative and creative.
Some of the things we do could be patented. Some are better kept as business secrets. Together, patents and business secrets form intellectual property that makes the business defendable longer term. For STARTRADER, it has made more sense to document innovations and keep them as business secrets instead of making them public via patent applications.
What are the strategies of your company, and how do they stand unique from your competitors?
Benchmarking against companies that offer similar services, our surveys suggest that STARTRADER’s focus on people is the main reason to choose STARTRADER. Experienced traders live in environments where humans, technologies, trends and expectations coexist with shifting emphasis.
And sometimes, it falls flat. “Great!” is the word I utter to myself because there is always a different way to handle even the most adverse situation. Our manners make goodwill that comes into play when it is time to pivot. A time of crisis is the wrong time to lack goodwill from those around you.
Where is your leadership going? What benefits do your clients get from your company in this competitive world?
One moment that formed me as an organisational leader was when my first CFO designed financial controls to specifically not depend on the CFO. “I want you to trust me, but I don’t want you to need to trust me”, were his words. As leaders at STARTRADER, we strive towards the same goal of every process operating without explicit manager approvals at micro levels.
What are your company’s services/solutions or products on par with the current industry standards? Tell us something about your upcoming products or services.
The future holds entries into new areas of business and exits from areas that grow old.
I support addressing new areas of business with the most appropriate people instead of asking available people to get involved. That means removing some of the highest contributors from their current tasks and asking them to work on new things instead. Not worth it? Fine. Then that new area is not worth addressing.
This is fun but serious.
And it translates into a focus on clients and what each client is trying to do.
STARTRADER can claim to have advanced technologies, quick access to global markets, popular crypto CFD products and adequate liquidity – but that is not the point.
This is about understanding how other people will move the market and acting first on that insight. STARTRADERs are humans with a direct connection to global markets.