GFT Among Fastest Growing

    ADA — Global Forex Trading ranks just behind behemoth Google Inc. as one of the fastest-growing technology companies in North America.

    Global Forex Trading announced this morning that it ranked 16th and Google 14th on the 2005 Deloitte Technology Fast 500 listing of fastest-growing tech companies, a ranking based on percentage of revenue growth over five years, from 2000 to 2004. GFT revenues grew 15.5 percent over that period.

    GFT was one of only two companies in the state named to the Fast 500 list, and it was the highest ranked company in the Midwest.

    GFT, a division of Global Future & Forex Ltd., is a leading online currency-trading firm serving clients in more than 100 countries. The company designed DealBook software that enables clients to bypass the paper path and the physical trading floor of the futures exchange and have worldwide access to the market.

    Gary Tilkin, president and CEO, attributed the company’s revenue growth to its ability to deliver non-stop customer service and technical support to a client base in more than 100 countries worldwide.

    “We were surprised we ranked so high since it was the first time that we’ve applied,” said company spokesman Tim Gort. “We anticipate that next year we’ll rank even higher because of our growth in 2005, which wasn’t included in this list. Ranking this high in the Fast 500 — especially so close to Google  — is exciting. We were competing with a lot of big software companies. Thirty-seven percent of the 500 winners were software companies, including the top four ranking companies.”

    When Tilkin launched GFT in 1992, it was one of the first firms in the United States to offer online foreign exchange trading. It now has offices in New York, Chicago, Tokyo and Sydney, Australia, and remains headquartered in Ada.

    Tony Kern, deputy national managing principal of Deloitte’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications division, said GFT “has shown the right stuff.”

    “Attracting enough customers to attain such fast growth over five years makes a strong statement about the quality of a company’s product and its leadership,” Kern stated.

    The company was similarly honored last year when Tilkin won the regional Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the financial services category and was a one of three finalists in that category to vie for the 2004 national EOY award. He was subsequently inducted into the EOY Hall of Fame.

    In related news, Texas A&M University is staging a trading competition this month among eight universities in the United States and Canada and has chosen GFT’s forex software, DealBook FX 2, as its online trading platform.

    The “Undergraduate Inter-University Financial Trading Competition” will involve 160 undergraduate finance students. The schools intend to use DealBook as a tool to teach students how to trade. The competition will include Michigan State University, Texas A&M, Penn State University, University of Cincinnati, University of Iowa, MIT, University of Toronto, and Washington University at St. Louis.

    “You don’t usually hear about students trading in world currencies, but it’s growing in popularity and they’re starting to apply it in the educational setting,” Gort said.

    Students will compete by simulating trades in the forex market using what GFT calls a “demo version” of its trading software. The software will allow students to experience an environment very similar to the one encountered by real traders who attempt to make profits from exchange rates in the $1.9 trillion daily forex market.

    The first part of the competition will run from Oct. 23 to Nov. 4. Students who win in the initial round move on to a final round, according to Detlef Hallermann, competition organizer and assistant clinical professor of finance at Texas A&M.

    Each student gets $50,000 in virtual capital to execute trades and will have access to experienced forex traders. Those who accrue the most money in their virtual account by the end of trading on Nov. 19 will share more than $2,800 in prize money.

    “We chose forex trading for our competition because students can trade 24 hours a day, six days per week,” Hallermann said. “We went with the GFT platform because it provides the students with the best combination of advanced analytics with ease-of-use and customer support.”

    Students in the competition will be competing for internships, as well, one of which will be offered by GFT, Gort said.

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