Charles River to open Beijing office

Ni Xiaoping will head Charles River Development's Beijing office, which opens next month.

Asset management software vendor Charles River Development will open its doors in Beijing on November 1, becoming the next tech firm to set up on the mainland.

Ni Xiaoping will head the office as manager of client operations and support, having relocated from Singapore, where he was senior developer and manager of technical services. He will be joined by two other employees.

Commenting on the US vendor's move, Tom Driscoll, global managing director at Charles River, says: "The opportunity to invest in international securities has increased Chinese asset managers' demand for front- to middle-office systems that can support complex investment strategies, including domestic Chinese instruments, products and workflows."

The office will service the vendor's 22 existing Greater China clients, including China Life Asset Management, which signed with the vendor in May.

Charles River has spent the past three years building its China capabilities organically, says Cameron Field, Asia-Pacific managing director. This included developing institutional local investment market knowledge, hiring Mandarin speakers and localising its solutions.

Best known for its Investment Management System -- used by firms for everything from fund accounting to pre- and post-trade compliance and settlement -- Charles River has developed China-specific enhancements that include full local-language capabilities, support for 35 Chinese security types and direct exchange connectivity.

The vendor does not plan to develop any stand-alone products for the China market -- all China-specific enhancements to its IMS platform are available to any investment manager using the system.

In addition to local product enhancements, Charles River is working on a number of strategic initiatives with market bodies and monitoring how the adoption of next-generation trading technology and the securities exchange trading protocol (Step) will enhance connectivity, data integration and STP for Chinese clients, says Field.

The vendor does not have any immediate plans for additional offices in Asia. Field says the company is currently focused on Beijing, but that other markets, like India, are "interesting".

Charles River has 300 clients globally, including 100 across 14 Asia-Pacific markets. The company has offices in Brisbane, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo and a regional staff of 55.

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