Raj, when you set up IS Prime three years ago, what was your initial plan and how have you performed against it?
RS: Our initial plan was to build a market leading Prime of Prime offering, leveraging state of the art technology and quantitative research and trading. The focus was (and remains) to provide highly tailored liquidity, risk and margin solutions to an increasingly sophisticated set of clients. I believe that we have established ourselves as the best Prime of Prime broker in the industry with a very strong market share. This is evidenced by the number of clients who have proactively decided to move their business to us and by the near 100% retention rate that we have achieved over the last three years.
What do you consider to be IS Prime’s biggest achievements over the last three years?
RS: The most significant achievement is that we have already generated enough profits to return all of the start-up capital injected into the business. Our main shareholder is very pleased with this outcome. In addition, we have taken a significant market share in the better regulated jurisdictions, FCA, ASIC and CYSEC. Last but not least, we have set up an office in Hong Kong and acquired a risk consultancy business in the US.
IS Prime has built an impressive client base in a relatively short space of time. What type of clients does your offering appeal to?
RS: Our typical client is a regulated retail FX broker looking for robust and well managed liquidity coupled with a next generation technology offering.
How has IS Prime managed to stand out in an increasingly competitive market? What do you think is the secret of your success?
RS: We are different from most competitors as we are not a white label of someone else’s technology. Through our philosophy of buy and build we have constructed a unique PoP solution. There is simply no other PoP provider that offers the breadth of service which is available from IS Prime. The combination of our risk services, Index Swap products, FX and bullion liquidity really does stand out in this competitive market. In addition, no other PoP has such sophisticated technological and quant resources at their disposal. This has had a major impact on the quality of our offering.
Jonathan, what are IS Prime’s main priorities moving forward?
JB: Our main priorities are to retain our market leading position by growing our existing client franchise and expanding our service offering into new product areas.
Retail brokers’ requirements are increasingly demanding, and we are able to provide a one stop shop that incorporates liquidity in FX, Indices and Commodities, technology, revenue share and risk services which are relevant to brokers of any size or sophistication.
How do you plan to leverage the opportunities from IS Risk Analytics?
JB: IS Risk Analytics is a critical aspect of our service and strategy going forward. ISRA facilitates a client’s risk taking efforts in a number of ways. The service is highly flexible and can act in any capacity that the client requires to assist with their risk taking. ISRA can operate as an outsourced dealing desk, a risk consultant or a risk technology provider.
Where ISRA’s service interacts with IS Prime’s service is arguably the most exciting part because it allows us to discount the services above in a bundle with liquidity. In addition, it also means that if necessary we are able to use the financial and technology power of our shareholder to commit balance sheet to share risk with a client in a controlled and sustainable manner. We believe this to be the holy grail of FX service provision to this sector.
What are the biggest challenges you face moving forward and how are you addressing these?
JB: I feel we have the best product available in the market. Our challenge going forward will be the global distribution of our services and communicating the message about why we are different in a market in which most of the players offer a very vanilla service which is undecipherable from another.
Where do you see your business in three years’ time?
JB: Strategically, our immediate goal is to attract a broader range of international clients and to continue to develop our technology and service offering. In the mid-term, we are in the fortunate position that we can look to be opportunistic in opening new business lines or acquiring complimentary businesses, without deviating from our main, core operation. Lastly, we foresee greater integration with ISAM, our majority shareholder, which will start to happen over the course of the next year.
Offices: IS Prime (UK); IS Prime Hong Kong, Ltd (China); ISRA (USA)
Regulated by: FCA
No. of Employees: 35
Key Products: FX & Bullion Liquidity, Index Swaps, Risk Services