Agency broker and trading technology provider Investment Technology Group (ITG) will today announce the hire of Bahar Brown as head of analytical sales for Asia.
Based in Hong Kong, in what is newly created role, she joins today and will provide consulting to ITG’s buy-side clients on alpha-preservation trading strategies. She reports to Ofir Gefen, Asia-Pacific head of analytical products and research.
Brown joins ITG from Nomura’s electronic and program trading team, where she had worked for two years, after spending two years in Lehman Brothers’ electronic trading group. Previously she also held roles in the direct-market access/algorithm sales team at Deutsche Bank in Asia and with Citigroup’s GCB wealth management group in the UK.
Nomura declined to comment on whether Brown would be replaced.
At ITG, Gefen had been doing the bulk of the client consulting work, along with another consultant based in Australia. However, demand is growing from the firm’s larger buy-side clients for enhanced consultation, says Clare Rowsell, Asia-Pacific head of client relationship management and marketing in Hong Kong. Brown’s hire builds on demand for transaction cost analytics as best execution practices develop across Asia, she adds.
Asked how ITG has been affected by lower liquidity in Asia in recent months, Rowsell tells AsianInvestor: “The business for ITG in Asia-Pacific has remained relatively stable. While equity volumes globally have dropped, demand for products such as our Triton EMS [execution management system] and trade cost analytics has risen in Asia as buy-side firms look to manage their costs and allocate their commission dollars efficiently in a low-liquidity environment.”
Brown’s appointment follows the relocation in June of a new Asia-Pacific head, David Stevens, which hasn’t affected ITG’s core business strategy in the region, says Rowsell.
The vendor is continuing to develop its range of electronic and algorithmic trading tools, with Posit Marketplace, for example, due to launch in Australia shortly. This follows the launch of the dark pool in Hong Kong in March.
Electronic trading is building in importance in the region, as exchanges, banks, brokers and buy-side firms expand their capabilities to better cater both to algorithmic traders and traditional institutional investors and asset managers. Yet the region remains years behind the US, for example, as regulatory challenges remain and trading costs are relatively high, although they are gradually falling.
“Trading costs in Asia are generally higher than in other regions,” says ITG’s Gefen. “The Asian fund management industry has a growing awareness that these costs affect fund performance and that analysis and changes to trading processes can reduce costs to improve fund value.”
ITG provides transaction cost analysis tools to 40 of the top 50 fund managers globally by size. ITG’s peer trading cost database covers over 30% of total Asia-Pacific ex-Japan turnover and 17% of total Japanese equity turnover.