What is your background?
I learned the banking business from scratch. Directly after my apprenticeship, I had the opportunity to start at an investment bank in the foreign exchange and money market department. After some months, I moved to the securities finance desk, first as a trader, then as an assistant vice president, followed by vice president/trader in the securities finance group.
The setup was distinguished by tight, synergistic integration and collaboration across businesses and sites, providing the opportunity to develop a broad perspective and skill set, as well as experience across a variety of products and markets, and extensive contacts at market participants.
All in all, front-office trading was at the heart of my work, but I also had to look out for or support structuring the downstream processes of my trading activities. Working from time to time with consultants also raised my interest in the provider space.
Why did you move to a provider?
Although I switched sides and my role has changed, I am still in the midst of the market with great colleagues at the various desks of my former trading counterparts and I am closely connected with them on a regular basis. Through Comyno, I have the opportunity to work with new and interesting people It’s nice to share my ideas from a trader’s perspective with the experts in IT or consulting. That said, I’d still make the same decision again and move to Comyno.
Having worked for a bank before, like everyone else we were nearly overwhelmed by all the changes in recent years. Even then, I thought that automation would have to play a bigger role in the securities finance space, as it already does in other business areas. Providers such as Comyno have the tools and expertise to facilitate that automation, helping the market to cope with new cost structures, regulatory requirements and new trading opportunities. In short, to take away the burden put on organisations on a daily basis, freeing up resources to concentrate on revenue generation.
There are quite a few service providers in the market—why Comyno?
I knew Comyno as an agile provider already and the people behind Comyno, specifically CEO Markus Büttner and director Admir Spahic, convinced me. Its holistic view of the market is what makes Comyno unique and what makes me proud to work for it. Comyno stands out of the crowd through its integrated service model and delivering value to its customers across the process chain, by developing business ideas that tackle present and future market developments, and defining the most efficient operating model and delivering the solution as a whole—seamlessly embedded in the firm’s internal and external framework. Clients that trust us are broadly placed from the sell side to the buy side and beyond.
I’m committed to helping the securities finance market, and with Comyno, I simply can. I can be more creative—working at Comyno means you are required to think outside the box and avoid any silo mentality. You can also work on new technologies such as distributed ledger and connect them with the existing world.
What are you working on day-to-day?
My business card says head of business development. For me, that means mapping the future market requirements with Comyno’s expertise and software to create even better products. And with ‘products’ I explicitly do not refer to software only, but anything that solves a business problem and can be scaled to a certain degree.
What have you achieved and what are your goals?
One of my first ideas was to improve the vertical integration of our consulting approach even further. Typically, consultants come in once a project is ready to be kicked off or implemented. With our strategic approach, our work begins much earlier than that. Within our mandates, we not only develop strategies, but also validate them by analysing portfolios to estimate possible returns. We also work out different implementation paths and their corresponding cost incorporated in business cases, which can be directly used for C-level decisions.
Besides consulting, we’re working on Comyno’s software suite C-One. Current functionality already covers a broad range of connectivity and securities finance business requirements. For example, Comyno is an official independent software vendor of Deutsche Börse in various markets (Xetra, derivatives and repo) and covers Markets in Financial Instruments Directive reporting. We are already in a position to support any modern securities finance and collateral management desk.
We have also kicked off multiple developments, such as asset allocation algorithms based on automated locates management to bring more front-office functionality to the market, which are all based on the proven and highly stable backbone connectivity and business logic of C-One.
After utilising Comyno’s consulting expertise to build C-One as a software package, the next logical step and one of my main goals is to use this expertise and the software to facilitate Comyno’s next evolutionary step: becoming an integral part of the market by offering more straight-through processing capabilities as a service.
Do you want Comyno to become a platform provider?
Yes and no. What Comyno intends is to complement its consulting and software approach with an innovative compilation of online services to provide a one-stop shop for our customers.
We are convinced that focusing on the whole value and process chain still has a lot of potential.
Everyone knows, for example, that Comyno has been specifically focused on cleared securities lending for many years now, with expertise on the clearing and participant sides. Taking this as an example, we will continue to advise both the sell and buy sides on advantages and possible stumbling blocks, as well as analyse their portfolios to determine central counterparty eligibility, possible returns, capital savings and necessary margins (if applicable) according to their collateral requirements.
If this pre-study results in a positive business case for the specific firm, there then will be the option to use Comyno’s services with easy access to trading, collateral management, settlement, profit and loss, and regulatory reporting.
As Markus previously announced, we are also integrating distributed ledger technology, so it will be the customer’s choice to either replicate the data into its own systems or use a synchronised node as its trade ledger. We assume smaller firms will value this approach in the near future, while larger firms can be sure that they sign on to future proof services, even if they should not require it from day one.
What’s your personal focus for the next few months?
Continuing the work on the specs of our new services together with our prospects and partners. To make it a success, we have to sync the requirements and standardise wherever possible. Also, we are planning to spin-off the online services to be able to comply with our partners’ wishes to invest in the model.
My focus is always on making more and more people aware of the possibilities that Comyno provides with its one-stop-shop for their securities finance businesses.