Company Profile | Directa SIM
1995 in Directa
Like many historical innovations, online trading in Italy was born out of the meeting of three far-sighted professionals: Massimo Segre, Mario Fabbri and Andrea Grinza.
All from Turin, the three men decided to pool their competency and assets with the idea of forging a direct link between private investor and stock exchange, enabling anyone to trade conveniently from their own home.
At the time, the Italian Stock Exchange was in the process of concentrating its dealings, which had previously been divided up among several local exchanges, into a telematic market, which effectively made floor trading a thing of the past.

On 8 November 1995, the first order for 250 Generali, sent from a private PC to the Milan stock exchange and executed at a price of 36,000 lire, left the Turin offices of Directa Sim, the company founded by the three partners, using a dial-up modem connection.
1996 in Directa
The first customers started to sign up and the concept quickly took hold: online trading as a service accessible to all saw the light and Directa became Italy’s first online broker. Many others would follow.
Up until the year before, to place an order on the stock exchange you had to go to the bank. This took time and there was no way of knowing exactly when the order would be executed.
Now just by connecting to a PC it had become possible to close a trade at the desired price in just a few seconds.
1998 in Directa
The Internet began to catch on and the quickest way to access the financial markets was online.
The first Directa order via Internet dates December 7th, and this new operating mode will soon replace the old data connection method via modem on a phone land-line, active from 1995.

Customers wishing to open a Directa trading account at their local bank could now do so, the Cassa Rurale di Pergine being the first to offer this service.
In time, thousands of banks all over Italy would sign up.
1999 in Directa
Online brokers proliferated and the intense competition took the form of cheaper commissions, sophisticated services, deeper trading books and more efficient platforms.

Directa was the first broker in the world to enable online trading on the stock exchange using a GSM device: the screen of the Nokia 9110 showed quotations and charts and orders could be placed directly in the markets. Something completely out of the ordinary for those years.

The Turin-based SIM (brokerage firm) provided free real-time Italian Stock Exchange quotations: so, while comfortably seated at home, it was now possible to access all market information as if you were on the trading floor of the now 'old' Stock Exchange.

Traders taking a professional approach to the markets were thus able to hone their skills using real-time data and sophisticated platforms. Some of them would become trainers for thousands of trading novices and boost the attendances at financial trade fairs.
2000 in Directa
Directa clients were now able to buy and sell securities on US markets (NYSE and NASDAQ) and, in the years to come, on the main world markets (Eurex, CME, XETRA, MOT, LIFFE, CHI-X).

Under CEO Mario Fabbri, Directa closed the year with a total amount brokered of 50,740 billion lire, up 605% on 1999, and with some 9,900 active clients. The net profit was a record 8 billion lire. record è di 8 miliardi di lire.

KPMG rated Directa as the most economical Italian broker, and JP Morgan ranked it sixth among European brokers in terms of sum brokered.
2001 in Directa
Directa activated short selling and there was general acclaim among traders for an increasing range of trading options.
2002 in Directa
2002 was the year of the first real push platform, the Flashboard, with tick-by-tick push quotes, immediate portfolio valuation, and the possibility of changing the 'price' parameter using buttons, without having to enter it on a keyboard
2003 in Directa
To speed up trading and make it even more efficient, Directa introduced the flashBook, a Java-based tool allowing clients to enter, modify and revoke orders directly from the book with a single click, focusing operations on 3 or 4 securities with the utmost precision (the special way data were received would also be patented).
2004 in Directa
The Pen Trader was the exclusive new handheld platform developed to connect and exchange data at high speed with the Directa quotation and trading servers, all in push mode.
Despite the device’s compact dimensions, everything was crystal clear and names, numbers and symbols were easy to read.
2007 in Directa
Directa expanded its online trading abroad: first Germany (since 2000), then France and, in the years to come, the Czech Republic.
2010 in Directa
Directa entered the field of financial education, a subject little cultivated in Italy, launching an initiative that would have considerable success and resounding media coverage: the University Trading Challenge, an international competition for universities, entirely financed by the Turin SIM, with the purpose of introducing students to the dynamics governing the financial markets and giving them hands-on experience. The championship was held for 7 consecutive years, with record participation in 2016: 157 teams from 16 countries, for a total of 594 students.

Thereafter Directa was a constant presence at the "Month of Financial Education", an event organised by the Ministry of the Economy and the Ministry of Education.
2011 in Directa
This was the year of the Darwin platform, a high-performance tool designed for professional trading: a single trading environment with operating and consultation modules customisable to the client's needs.
2012 in Directa
A new type of operation was made available: from now on it became possible to place orders in the forex market through the Directa platform directly on the LMAX Exchange, the only regulated market (MTF) that allows more efficient and transparent operations than traditional Forex operators, who always act as counterparties in a transaction.
2015 in Directa
Directa celebrated its twentieth anniversary with an appearance at the Market Open Ceremony, the solemn daily ritual that is part of City tradition.
An Italian company opened trading on the London Stock Exchange for the first time. Ringing the bell was the team from Directa, the Turin-based brokerage firm that had invented online trading twenty years ago.
2016 in Directa
Directa launched dLite, the trading platform accessible from any device (PC, tablet, smartphone) which would later also become an app. At this point it really was possible to trade from anywhere, with the same tools available for a platform designed for the desktop.
2018 in Directa
The time had come for Crowdfunding: the Directa project made it possible to buy shares in companies without the intervention of notaries or accountants.
2020 in Directa
Heavy traders accustomed to placing dozens of orders a day now found themselves facing competition from trading algorithms, while a new crop of potential customers started to emerge as, driven by the Covid-19 pandemic, the country went digital.

Directa appointed Vincenzo Tedeschi as its new CEO and overhauled its image with a website that targeted a wider audience in a direct, straightforward way, repositioning itself in the segment of independent, discerning investors who wanted to manage their savings independently: now many of them have joined Directa’s hard core of traders using the platforms, which are increasingly user-friendly. This same year Directa was the first to smooth the way to instant access to online trading by making it possible to open an account using SPID (Public Digital Identity System) credentials.
2021 in Directa
Directa has forever changed the history of investment in Italy and today it is recognised as a pioneer in an industry of complex technological development where regulatory compliance is a constant challenge. It has almost 50,000 active accounts, including a whole new generation of young investors who appreciate the human face of a top-notch Customer Service, which interacts with them constantly, and the completely home-made high technology of the trading platforms.

In the digitalised world we live in, Directa's mission is to offer everyone the freedom to invest independently through user-friendly technology. Its strength lies in its people who work there with passion and competence, and who have written the history of online trading in Italy.