BTIG Expands in Asia

Terry Flanagan

The Hong Kong affiliate of U.S. broker dealer BTIG has launched an outsource trading desk and other related services to clients in Asia, the firm’s second such Pacific expansion in less than two years.

“Asia is known for having many small-to medium-sized hedge funds, ideal for this service,” said Peter Tarrant, BTIG managing director and head of business development. “For several years now we have been fairly active trading for U.S. managers in Asia, so this was expected and well planned for.”

BTIG expects to sign about five to 10 clients to the service by the end of the year. “In the U.S. we have been signing one new client per month on average,” Tarrant told Markets Media. “We would expect a similar pace in Asia.”

The new Asia outsourced trading desk will be led by BTIG executive director Trevor Harrison, who is based in Sydney, and joined the company in 2009 from Citigroup Global Markets.

“The outlook is excellent for this service,” said Tarrant. “Investors are telling managers to allocate operating funds to positions like a COO or CFO. Related to this, the compliance and regulatory environment is requiring funds to launch with expensive operating budgets. Managers must carefully allocate their operating funds and outsource as much as possible.”

BTIG first launched its outsourced trading services outside of the U.S. some 18 months ago, when it opened a desk in Sydney. The company’s U.S. outsource trading unit has been operating for nine years.

Tarrant noted that the Australia initiative “is on pace” with expectations, having signed over 10 clients in the market since its introduction. “We are very pleased with the reception for this service in that market.”

The company is equally pleased with its U.S. outsource trading operations.

“We’ve grown steadily (in the U.S.),” said Tarrant. “In 2002, BTIG started with three buy side traders and three clients in San Francisco. Today we have 16 dedicated buy side traders in five cities and four countries, covering 140 clients.”

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