FOW and Global Investor Asia Capital Markets Awards - winners announced

FOW and Global Investor Asia Capital Markets Awards - winners announced

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing took home the Exchange of the Year award in the FOW and Global Investor Asia Capital Markets Awards following an impressive year of growth and innovation across multiple asset classes.

Innovation related to the internationalisation of the Chinese market was highly rewarded during the night with Dalian Commodity Exchange picking up the Emerging Market Exchange of the Year award and INE winning the gong for Best New Derivatives Contract.

The full list of winners can be found below with a full write up detailing the reasons behind the award win.

 To download the full Awards brochure, click here

EXCHANGES

Exchange of the Year: HKEx

Exchange of the Year, Equities: HKEx

Exchange of the Year, Derivatives: SGX

International Exchange of the Year: CME Group

Best new derivatives contract: INE Crude Oil

Clearinghouse of the Year: LCH

Index provider of the Year: MSCI

Emerging market Exchange of the Year: Dalian Commodity Exchange

 

TECHNOLOGY

Fixed income trading system of the Year: AxeTrading

Derivatives trading system of the Year: Fidessa

Equity trading system of the Year: Tora

Multi-asset trading system of the Year: Charles River Development

Best new product, Post trade: SmartStream

Best new product, Trading and execution: Qbitia

Best new product, Risk management: The Technancial Company

Best new product, Market surveillance: Trading Technologies

Best new product, Reporting: SmartStream

 

BANKS AND BROKERS

Non-bank Broker of the Year: Straits Financial

Bank or broker of the Year, Derivatives: Citi

Bank or broker of the Year, Commodities: ADMIS

Emerging market non-bank FCM of the Year: Yuanta

Client clearing provider of the Year: Standard Chartered

Chinese FCM of the Year: Xinhu Futures

 

Buyside and props

ETF/Passive fund manager of the Year: CSOP Asset Management

Market maker of the Year: Flow Traders

 

EXCHANGES AND CCPs

Exchange of the Year: HKEx

HKEx has recorded a stellar performance during the judging period posting record revenues in H1 2018, 32% higher than in the previous year. The exchange has innovated and secured notable wins across all its market segments from the launch of Bond Connect to the record number of listings on its cash market. It has launched several new derivatives contracts including Iron Ore Futures and the world’s first CNH/USD dual currency Gold Futures contract. In addition, it has innovated with the launch of stock options in the after-hours trading session. The exchange’s innovations in previous years continue to bear fruit with record highs in Stock Options and USD/CNH Futures and benefitting from the expansion of quotas in its Stock Connect programme after which activity continued to grow. The exchange also achieved the most significant amendments to its listing rules in its history designed to encourage more early stage companies to the market while protecting investors. One judge said: “HKEx has reaped the rewards from its well-designed strategy to provide international access to China’s markets. But it is also forging new paths with the listing rules changed and the focus on biotech listings. Far from playing second fiddle to China, HKEx continues to justify Hong Kong’s position as a global market in its own right.”

 

Emerging market exchange of the year: DCE

The opening up of China’s derivatives markets is being driven forward by the work and innovation of the Dalian Commodity Exchanges. During the judging period, the exchange opened up its iron ore futures contract to international trading in what one judge said was “among the most significant developments in Asia’s derivatives market for years”. The exchange has also been growing volumes in its soybean meal options contract and is preparing for the launch of corn options. In addition, it has opened up a representative office in Singapore and become a licenced Automated Trading Service in Hong Kong to enable offshore direct trading in iron ore futures. “Dalian is at the cutting edge of the internationalisation of China’s markets,” said one judge.

 

Exchange of the Year, Equities: HKEx

HKEx had a record year for listings in 2017 with 174 new companies coming to the market. In addition, trading volumes boomed during the judging period rising to an average daily trading volume of HK$146.1bn in the first quarter of the year, an increase of 97% on the same quarter the previous year. Volumes on Stock Connect also continued to rise substantially as quotas were increased by the CSRC reflecting the increased confidence in the platform on the Mainland. However, the judges highlighted the hard-fought changes to the listing rules that were finalised in May this year as the main accolade of the exchange during the judging period. The rule changes are designed to attract early stage biotech companies and other tech companies to the market and “go a long way to re-establishing Hong Kong’s advantage in Asia’s cash market” according to one judge.

 

Exchange of the Year, Derivatives: SGX

SGX may be at the centre of a dispute with the Indian exchanges over the use of data from the Nifty benchmark but judges hailed its launch of 50 single stock futures on Indian contracts as a key reason behind their decision to award it Exchange of the Year for derivatives. The contracts have traded over $1bn in notional in the six months since their launch. The exchange continues to be the leading venue of USD/CNH futures with average daily volumes surging to $2.1bn in June. In addition, the exchange developed FlexC FX futures to provide an on-exchange alternative to the OTC markets and further futurized the OTC market being the first exchange to launch Net Total Return futures in Asia. Its commodity derivatives markets also continue to grow with strong performances across its “virtual steel mill” project.

 

Best new derivatives contract: INE Crude Oil

“Hands down the best new derivatives contract launched in Asia if not the world this year,” said one judge of the International Energy Exchange’s crude oil contract, which was launched in March. The debut of the Chinese-yuan denominated oil futures marked the culmination of years of development by the Shanghai Futures Exchange for its subsidiary market, which was founded to trade the contract. The contracts are designed to build a locally relevant benchmark for oil and required the construction of a trading system that would allow multi-currency marketing and direct involvement from international traders. “The contract is not perfect and there are still a couple of issues to iron out but you can’t deny the importance of this contract and the extensive work of the INE in developing the contract in the face of huge complexities has to be recognised,” said one judge.

 

International Exchange of the Year: CME Group

 “CME’s presence in Asia demonstrates its commitment to the regional market but what distinguishes it from its peers over here is that it is always looking for the next local contract. While other exchanges seek to grow participation in their existing contracts in Asia, CME also seeks to launch contracts that are designed for Asia,” said one judge perfectly encapsulating why CME continues to dominate this award category. During the judging period, the exchange has opened another new office in APAC bringing the total number of local hubs to seven. In addition, it has done deals with Taifex and JPX to launch new contracts and further internationalise their markets. The exchange continues to be the go to market to react to global events in Asian trading hours seeing over 11m futures contracts trading on Globex during Asian hours on 7 February.

 

Clearinghouse of the Year: LCH

The most significant regional launch for LCH during the judging period was the May 2018 launch of non-deliverable interest rate swaps allowing market participants to clear the instruments denominated in Chinese Yuan, Korean Won and Indian Rupee. This was the first time SwapClear had cleared derivatives in these currencies and the contracts were launched in response to regional demand. In the first month of launch over 30 market participants cleared $138bn in notional of non-deliverable IRS. The CCP continues to add new clients from Asia and in Q1 2018 25 new clients started clearing IRS across the region driving volumes to an increase of 172% year-on-year from APAC clients. It also saw strong regional growth in its ForexClear offering with APAC currency clearing volumes up 126% from May 2017 to May 2018. “LCH is clearly the dominant player but it continues to innovate and justify its position in the market, no one is coming close to them currently,” said one judge.

 

Index provider of the Year: MSCI

MSCI’s decision in June 2017 to include Chinese stocks in its closely followed emerging markets index was to some in the market long overdue. The move fired the starting pistol on a hugely complex process of embedding the stocks into its benchmark in one of the most significant benchmark rebalances in history. Judges decided to award MSCI as Index provider of the year in recognition of the work the MSCI team put in to the successful integration of the first phase of including part of the Chinese A-share index into the benchmark. “This was a hugely complex process and one that posed a number of risks to our positions but the MSCI team was open in explaining what they were doing and how they were doing it and maintained our confidence throughout the process,” said one judge.

 

TECHNOLOGY

Equity trading system of the Year: Tora

Tora prides itself on developing all its technology in-house with one development team building products that are integrated from the outset. It says it sets this apart from rivals which deliver separate products stitched together from different acquisitions and builds. It says this enables it to implement its order and execution management system faster than any comparable solution in the market. Clients like its transparency on pricing with all buy-side clients being given full visibility on the total cost of ownership of the product including the costs borne by its sell-side providers. It has continued to win new clients in Asia and developed several new initiatives including the first AI-based quantitative execution selection optimiser and the launch of an AI-driven pre-trade best execution analytics tool. One judge said: “Tora clearly demonstrates a detailed understanding of the needs and requirements of money managers and consistently develops new services to meet them.”

 

Fixed income trading system of the Year: AxeTrading

AxeTrading has been growing fast in its launch market in Europe for the past decade but during the judging period has expanded into Asia Pacific with the opening on an office in Sydney and Singapore to further expand its fast growing regional client base. AxeTrading’s platform provides connectivity to trading venues, offers trader toolkits and data management protocols to harvest intelligence from across multiple workflow streams providing users with a truer picture of liquidity in the fixed income market. During the judging period the firms signed up a leading Singaporean bank and in April 2018 we announced a global partnership with BGC Partners to provide the global technology for their agency desks worldwide.

 

Derivatives trading system of the Year: Fidessa

Fidessa has continued to invest in its market leading platform and grow its presence in the Asia market during the judging period. New client wins across the region show that its derivatives platform is not just for the tier 1 banks as it seeks to further diversify its client base geographically and among company types. New enhancements to the platform include the synthetic strategy trader designed to simplify the complex process of cross market spreads. The firms also worked closely with the INE in the run up to the launch of the crude oil contract in Shanghai. ION is in the process of acquiring Fidessa bringing this market leading derivatives trading system and talented workforce into its fold.

 

Multi-asset trading system of the Year: Charles River Development

The Charles River Investment Management Solution provides a multi-asset Order and Execution Management System delivered via Software as a Service integrated with data, FIX connectivity and trade analytic capabilities all within a single platform. Traders can manage trade execution strategies, streamline complex work flows, find liquidity, execute trades across all asset classes and currencies, and ensure compliance from one blotter. Using the software, clients can eliminate the multiple interfaces, fragmented workflows and order staging problems inherent with separate order and execution management platforms. Judges highlighted new initiatives such as the new fixed income workstation and the integration with OTAS analytics. “Many firms claim to have multi-asset solutions but this product is truly multi-asset and allows traders to manage across a wide range of liquidity and instruments from a single platform,” said one judge.

 

Best new product, Post trade: SmartStream

As regulators ask not only for additional reconciliations but evidence that systems are in place to provide robust controls and high-quality data, pressure is growing on firms, many of which still use spreadsheets. To respond to this, SmartStream developed the latest version of its TLM Reconciliations Premium giving the user independence and operational flexibility. The third major release of its TLM Reconciliations Premium solution came with the flagship new feature, TLM View, which provides a flexible, user driven approach to analytics, with no reliance on IT support, allowing access to the full range of real-time and historic data in the reconciliation repository. Another key element of the latest release is TLM SmartRecs, SmartStream’s rapid onboarding and automated match rule creation solution – which now has further features, including data transformation functions and enhanced analysis of incoming data.

 

Best new product, Risk management: The Technancial Company

JANUS Risk Manager is Technancial’s multi-asset, multi-currency and multi-market real-time risk management, transaction monitoring and surveillance system, with a flexible rules-based validation system supporting FX, government bonds and exchange traded financial instruments in one single application. During the judging period, JRM was successfully deployed with two major Asian brokerage houses, with different objectives, using the identical product out of the box. One judge said: “This system is really focused on what is today the main concern of the industry: trade monitoring, compliance and trade surveillance. This tool brings a missing piece from front to back, especially in the space of SDMA flow that has always been a challenge to monitor due to the high frequency of trading and the little (to no) access from brokers to these infrastructures.”

 

Best new product, Trading and execution: Qbitia

Qbitia’s Qcaid is an innovative algorithmic trading platform developed to enable institutional financial investors to manage their entire workflow. Its user-friendly desktop application allows users not only to automate their trading strategies, but also to design them simply by dragging and dropping elements onto a canvas, simultaneously analyse hundreds of them and, finally, execute in live simulation or in the real market. Qcaid’s customisable interface makes this process very intuitive just by "clicking" and without requiring any programming knowledge. Pairs trading, scalping, market-making strategies or spreader execution can be easily developed, as well as strategies with multiple assets and time frames. “This is a very nice software kit which makes algorithmic trading available to a wider audience without requirement for coding skills,” said one judge.

 

Best new product, Market surveillance: Trading Technologies

Trading Technologies has long been a market leading in the front end providing connectivity and functionality for traders across the world. However, in October 2017 it made a significant strategic move in the acquisition of Neurensic, an AI regtech startup focused on trading, compliance surveillance and banking. Following the acquisition, the Chicago-based tech firm launched TT Score, a cutting-edge trade surveillance and compliance product that combines Neurensic’s machine learning technology with high-speed, big data processing power to provide trading managers with a comprehensive assessment of compliance risk. The software is the industry’s first parameter-free trade surveillance solution and learns from instances of market abuse over time. The launch of TT Score provides firms that lack the resources to host proprietary trading surveillance systems with access to AI technology for cutting edge compliance surveillance. The software is now fully integrated with the TT trading platform.

 

Best new product, Reporting: SmartStream

SmartStream and RegTek.Solutions have joined forces to offer independent, turnkey reconciliation solutions for global regulatory reporting. Reconcile.Trade, which was launched at the end of last year, is a managed service that provides independent, turnkey reconciliations that directly address regulators’ demands for the proactive oversight of trade and transaction reporting. Reconcile.Trade combines market-leading reconciliation software with trusted expertise to provide firms with out of the box regulatory intelligent reconciliations. The joint service combines RegTek.Solutions’ specialised trade and transaction reporting software and market experience with SmartStream’s leading reconciliations platform, to offer comprehensive, ‘regulation-aware’ reconciliations that are pre-integrated with leading trade repositories, approved reporting mechanisms and national competent authorities.

 

BANKS, BROKERS AND BUYSIDE

Non-bank Broker of the Year: Straits Financial

Having previously won Commodity Broker of the Year, Straits Financial Group returns to pick up the award for Non-bank FCM of the Year as it continues to demonstrate its readiness and ambition to explore new frontiers in developing markets and broadening its suite of products and services. During the year, the firm cleared the first trade on the INE market in Shanghai having worked quickly to establish connectivity on day one. The firms was also there on day one for the launch of international access to Dalian Commodity Exchange’s iron ore futures contract and Singapore’s new Apex Exchange. “Straits has been known to be an innovator amongst their peers and aggressively strives to seek efficiency and value for their clients. As a firm, they take the necessary “hard” steps to ensure that they can provide access to many markets and products for their clients,” said one judge.

 

Bank or broker of the Year, Derivatives: Citi

Citi returns to pick up the Bank of the Year for an impressive fifth time after another year of growth, innovation and investment in the Asian market. Its futures, clearing and collateral revenue in APAC is up 40% this year having won mandates from 11 top-tier clients in the region. The bank has also innovated to meet the demands of clients in a fast-changing market including granting onshore access to India’s futures markets in response to the move to discontinue offshore licensing of India’s benchmarks. It’s OTC clearing business continues to lead the field in Japan and was the first to clear five of the six major Asian rates contracts cleared by CME and LCH. The firm also helped clients meet regulatory reporting requirements being the only APAC clearing provider that could offer ASIC and MAS delegated reporting services.

 

Bank or broker of the Year, Equities: Societe Generale

Societe Generale takes home the Bank of the Year award in the equity segment after it impressed judges with the range of tools it can offer clients to evaluate and monitor their portfolios and its strong position in structured products. The bank has invested heavily in its technology offering and offers a range of impressive functions in its SG Markets platform. These include the Vol Hub, an interactive tool providing data charts and reports to analyse worldwide equity and equity derivatives products and YouTrack, a web platform that enables investors to manage discretionary strategies. Judges also highlighted Societe Generale’s work in equity and fund-linked structured products where it recorded growth of over 75% during the year trading over 24,000 instruments.

 

Bank or broker of the Year, Commodities: ADMIS

ADM Investor Services Singapore recorded impressive growth during the judging period with its customer base growing by 60%, profits by 40% and AUM by 101% as it continues to bring on new clients across the region. The firm is well positioned in the Chinese market where it has onboarded several new end user clients and has diversified away from its core base trading in mainly oil products into agriculture, freight and petrochemicals. It has innovated with the launch of Tripartite Agreements to mitigate rules preventing margin financing and become an approved Overseas Intermediary on the Dalian Commodity Exchange. One judge praised the company as a “strong multi-product, multi-market firm expanding its Asia presence with a good team on the ground and willing to look hard for solutions to client’s needs.”

 

Emerging market non-bank FCM of the Year: Yuanta

Yuanta Futures was the first futures company listed on the Taiwan GreTai Securities Market in 2007. Since then, it has led the way in the Taiwanese futures market achieving strong financial performances year after year. Yuanta Futures has acquired 12 Exchange memberships from the world’s most recognized Exchanges. The firm offers a 24-hour global trading platform, consumer services, and in-depth research. “Yuanta is well known to be the leading securities and futures broker in Taiwan. Over the years and in particular, during the period in question, they have continued to solidify their position as the top broker for both retail and institutional investors,” said one judge. “They are also the leading Taiwan broker to provide their Taiwanese based clients the best access to international exchanges. They continue to invest in and train their people to ensure that their clients get the best service in the industry.”

 

Client clearing provider of the Year: Standard Chartered

While some of its peers may have larger books in the client clearing market in Asia, judges were impressed by the innovation and breath of coverage across Asia boasted by Standard Chartered. In addition, judges praised the investment the bank has made in fully understanding the cost of capital across the clearing cycle. At a time when firms across the industry are under intense cost pressure, transparency in pricing is essential in helping clients understand how their portfolios and trades impact the balance sheet of their clearing providers. To facilitate this, Standard Chartered introduced a fee structure based on actual capital usage and opposed to the common ballpark measure used by other providers. Standard Chartered has built a platform that will stand the test of time providing clients with fast pre-deal checks, integrated collateral management and a host of other features. The bank is also able to bring together cleared and non-cleared products margining the two on a net risk basis, bringing down client margin requirements by up to 45%.

 

Chinese FCM of the Year: Xinhu Futures

“Xinhu has accomplished a difficult mission and become one of the first Chinese FCMs who have successfully implemented ‘Insurance + Futures programme,” said one judge. “Its scale of regional coverage and many farmers being educated by Xinhu to use futures for hedging is impressive. Xinhu is an excellent example of how financial institutions serve can serve customers and the real economy.” The Insurance + Futures program uses futures and options to hedge the price risk of agricultural products for agricultural enterprises and farmers. Xinhu’s risk management subsidiary then cooperates with its insurance company to create the innovative financial products. In addition during the judging period, Xinhu Futures cooperated with China Minsheng bank and provided customized soybeans over-the-counter options to Beixing Farm State Food Cooperative of Qitaihe City in Heilongjiang Province. More than 40 local farmers used these soybeans over-the-counter options contracts to hedge price risks.

 

Buyside and props

ETF/Passive fund manager of the Year: CSOP Asset Management

It’s been a busy year for Hong Kong headquartered CSOP Asset Management as it continues to grow its dominant position in the Asia-referencing structured products market. The firm manages the most successful leveraged and inverse ETPs in Hong Kong dominating the HK L&I market with a more than 50% markets share. CSOP’s HSE Inverse product recorded the largest inflows among all EFTs in Hong Kong during the sharp market moves at the beginning of 2018. Its new China themed smart beta ETF, which tracks the best quality A-shares stocks was launched in 2016 and in 2017 delivered a performance of 55% outpacing all Greater China themed mutual funds. The asset manager has recently launched the first HK$ Money Market fund ETF, the first money market fund that enables secondary market trading. The firm has also been proactively working with policy makers from Hong Kong and China to develop an ETF Connect programme between Hong Kong and the mainland.

 

Market maker of the Year: Flow Traders

Flow Traders takes home the Market Maker of the Year award for a second year running following another period of growth and investment. One judge said: “Their dominant position in ETF market making speaks for itself but through their education and outreach they are pioneering the development of the market as well as providing tight pricing. Overall they are central to the development of the ETF market in Asia and doing a great job!” During the year, the company has opened a trading office in Hong Kong, has been the first and one of the most active participants in the newly created JPX ETF market making program. It also became one of the largest official market makers on SEHK listed ETFs, kept its position as No1 market maker on SGX listed ETFs by number of ETFs covered and started providing liquidity on the SGX listed DLC-instruments, to mention a few of the firm’s achievements during the year.

 

 

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