GL Trade veteran Jean-Pierre Baron has taken over from Nevin Price as Fidessa's Asia-Pacific managing director.
As the new top brass in the region, Baron is responsible for expanding Fidessa's buy- and sell-side client base and operations. He comes well prepared to the role after seven years in Asia where he first founded GL Trade's local operation in 1999.
"With [Baron's] extensive experience of growing businesses in Asia and his insight into the trading marketplace that exists there, we believe that the combined team can drive our established Asian business forward and further develop Fidessa's footprint across the region," says Chris Aspinwall, CEO of Fidessa.
Baron reports to London-based Aspinwall.
Price, Fidessa's former Asia-Pacific managing director, left the firm in May for personal reasons.
Only a few weeks into the job, Baron sat down with AsianInvestor to discuss his plans and how he's going to add some "regional flavour" to Fidessa's products.
Is Fidessa expanding in Asia?
Baron: Asia is very important for Fidessa. The company is well established in Europe, the US and, more recently, Asia. The plan is to increase Asia penetration. Over the last 18 months, Fidessa has brought on new clients onto their ATP platform -- their hosted server -- in Hong Kong. They've been pretty successful at this, going from zero to about 14 clients on the platform since they began. It's a fairly nice start and strong base they have here.
The next thing for Fidessa is to build on this base and expand across the region -- increasing the number of clients and adding new product functions. The direction is moving from where we are today with a large pool of Hong Kong clients to a larger audience across the region.
Has growth here been faster than other regions?
Growth has accelerated in the last 18 months thanks to the hosted ATP offer. What we have to keep in mind is Fidessa only started in Asia in 2000 to service tier one banks from Europe who had Asia operations. Since Fidessa started their hosted ATP platform, a growing number of domestic players are coming on board.
The future is to deploy the client base across Asia. We are finding new pools of clients who don't have the technical budget to develop new systems and run them, so the hosted platform is a good response.
Who are the potential clients?
International banks continue to contribute to a large part of our activity. Asian regional banks are now trying to compete with global players, this is opening a new space of opportunities. They will naturally be searching for next generation systems.
What are your goals as Asia-Pacific managing director?
The goal from a sales point of view is to increase the client reach. We have several clients in Singapore and Malaysia, a large office in Tokyo, powerful references in Hong Kong. The sales goal is to reach new regional clients.
From a product point of view, we will increase the market coverage by touching new markets and increasing the customisation of our products. For example, if you are going to reach clients in Indonesia, you have to make sure you're well connected to Indonesia from a market point of view. We also have to make sure we have enough regional flavour in our products. We are coming in with global products that are extremely powerful; still, every country and each client have regional requirements and different rules, making the need to customise very important.
Does Fidessa have a technology team in the region adding that "local flavour"?
Yes, we have a development team here in Hong Kong. The direction will be to increase the speed of development and make sure we can influence our global products locally.
Can you give me an example of regional customisation?
Yes, if you went to a trading desk in Hong Kong and in India, you would find different order capture windows. It's like with cars -- you have left-hand and right-hand drive. It's all about the history in the country and the culture that determine the way people are used to trading. If you want to increase the usage of your product, local variations must be introduced to reflect a domestic touch.