Sophis steps up Asia expansion with client wins

Technology vendor Sophis has opened an office in Beijing and will do the same in Australia, following client wins in both countries and elsewhere in the region.

French software supplier Sophis has signed up several buy-side clients in the past few months for its cross-asset portfolio and risk management system, Value. These include a "large and sophisticated" Singapore-based hedge fund, Australian institutional fund manager QIC and a large investment firm in China.

The latter is a "landmark" deal, and the vendor's first in mainland China, says Vincent Lo, Hong Kong-based sales director at Sophis. He sees this, along with the other recent client wins, as helping boost the company's reputation and profile in Asia.

Reinforcing the expansion strategy, Sophis opened its first mainland China office in Beijing in early September and doubled the floorspace at its Asian headquarters in Hong Kong in August.

Lo says the choice of location was down to the fact that "the nerve centre of most of the largest institutions is in Beijing", where they make most of their decisions -- although Sophis also has customers in Shanghai. The vendor is also talking to other potential clients on both the buy- and sell-side in China, adds Lo, who joined the company in May and heads the sales force in both Beijing and Hong Kong, splitting his time between the two cities.

Sophis will also open an office in Australia in due course, says Lo, although whether it will be in Brisbane -- where QIC is based -- or Sydney is under debate. "We are talking to several other clients off the back of the QIC deal," he adds. "Australia is a very integrated market -- everyone knows what everyone else is doing -- so to win a big customer like QIC is a major achievement in terms of being able to grow there."

The fact that Sophis modified the Value system for QIC's needs is another plus point for the vendor, says Lo. "We worked with Troy Rieck [managing director of capital markets at QIC] to tailor the product, in particular for portfolio rebalancing -- a big requirement for them."

The Value solution integrates several existing portfolio and risk management systems at QIC. In the current economic environment, nothing is more important than risk management, says Rieck. "The present crisis has demonstrated the need for a strong, ongoing risk management capability in all funds," he adds. "Sophis Value will enhance the risk management activities presently undertaken by QIC, including stress testing and scenario analysis outcomes."

Sophis has been on the ground in Asia for six years and has a significant number of other clients in the region, including Koscom in South Korea, with which it signed a deal in early September. Koscom was set up by the Korean Ministry of Finance and Korea Exchange to deliver IT solutions to the securities markets and related industry sectors. Under the partnership, Sophis will provide a straight-through processing system based on Value as well as its sell-side system, Risque, to securities companies and banks in South Korea.

As a result of this deal, Sophis is seeing more opportunities for expansion in South Korea, due to the prestige of being involved with Koscom. "This is another tick in the box for Sophis in Asia," says Lo.

Other Asian clients of Sophis include asset managers such as Axa Investment Managers, BNP Paribas Investment Partners, Fortis Investment Management and KBC Asset Management, plus more than 30 hedge funds, including BTG Invest, Capstone Partners, Gandhara Capital and Symphony Capital.

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