CIMB to expand Asian execution capabilities amid flurry of hires

CIMB Securities has added significant numbers of staff to its Asian operations as it expands locally and now sees opportunities in Europe and North America.

Asian brokerage firm CIMB Securities has added significant numbers of staff to its Asian operations as it expands locally. It now also sees opportunities in Europe and North America.

“The immediate aim is to complete the CIMB electronic trading rollout in Asia,” said Andrew Freyre-Sanders managing director and head of CIMB’s equity execution services. “We currently support eight markets for DMA and algorithmic trading and we expect to enable an additional three markets by year end. We will be going live on Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect on day one and will subsequently follow up with algorithmic trading capabilities.”

The execution services team has recently been renamed as advanced execution and prime services and now encompasses portfolio trading, electronic trading, prime brokerage, Delta 1, equity financing and stock borrowing and lending. There has been a number of new hires in the unit, which has more than doubled in size to over 20 people since the core members transitioned from the Royal Bank of Scotland in July of 2012.

Among the new hires, Chantel Cheung has joined the electronic sales trading team from Bloomberg. Neena Birdee, who previously worked at RBS, will work in the prime services and Delta 1 team. Sam Lam, who now runs Delta 1 and portfolio risk trading joined from ING Investment Management, where he was head of engineered investment strategies. William Hon has been assigned to CIMB’s portfolio trading team. He was previously at Morgan Stanley. Marc Rios joins as an index analyst, having previously been a Harvard statistician. Howard Maile has joined the quantitative algo development team and Simon Kogan has become a member of the algo quant research team. He joined from the machine learning and pattern recognition specialist firm, Heard Systems. Nishi Doshi has transferred internally into advanced execution sales. All these appointments have been made in order to contribute to the future expansion of CIMB’s trading business.

According to Freyre-Sanders, clients who like what the firm has done in Asia now want CIMB to launch algorithms in the US and Europe. CIMB is planning to go live in the US with a select range of algorithmic trading strategies in Q1 2015 and will add European markets by the end of 2015.

We asked why an Asian firm such as CIMB would be chosen by US clients to execute trades in the USA.

“Because execution is now a capability in its own right, clients are focused on execution performance. If you can build trading tools that add value, and demonstrably outperform peers’ strategies, then  there is an opportunity” said Freyre-Sanders. “The commission wallet in the US is sufficient to support new entrants. We have clients who found the performance of our product differentiated in Asia and have opened discussions about what we can do for them the US.”