02.29.2012
By Terry Flanagan

Alfred Eskandar Named CEO of Portware

Electronic trading pioneer lands at Portware as new CEO.

Eskandar most recently ran Liquidnet’s U.S. trading business. Liquidnet is the world’s largest independent dark pool.

“There are very few companies that are growing year after year despite this economic downturn – this is a company that is bucking the trend,” Eskandar told Markets Media. “You can’t grow a company without growth resources. They have the platform and I have the bandwidth.”

Alfred-Eskandar at Markets MediaFounded in 2000, Portware is a developer of broker-neutral, automated trading software for global equities, futures, options and FX. Its flagship product, Portware Enterprise, is a fully customizable trade management and execution system for single stock, portfolio, basket, automated and algorithmic trading.

Also in its suite of products are Portware Strategy Server; an algorithmic engine designed for high volume, high-frequency, automated order management, and Portware FX; which offers a real-time, aggregated view of the entire FX marketplace through a single, fully customizable front-end. The company has offices in New York, London, Hong Kong, and Hyderabad, India.

With the trading environment remaining depressed amid declining equities trading volume, it becomes more important for a trading platform to span several asset classes. Portware is multi-platform, so while equities volume may be down, it is in position to take advantage of surging FX activity. Market participants have noted that the FX market is becoming highly liquid with a lot of volume, especially as equities trading as dried up.

Portware has seen steady growth for the past several years, according to Eskandar. It remains poised for further growth going forward with a steady flow of business stateside as well as abroad.

As part of an industry-wide trend, Portware has also been working with its customers to develop custom products and services, tailored to each client’s specific needs. Its customer base, which are equal parts sell side, buy side and hedge funds, include institutions such as T. Rowe Price.

“No two customers are alike,” said Eskandar. “Once you get inside, the plumbing can be very different. You don’t have a competitive advantage over the next guy without a customized platform.”

Eskandar was a founding employee of Liquidnet and held several executive roles throughout his nearly 12-year tenure. Hewas in charge of Liquidnet’s global corporate strategy group, and oversaw the firm’s marketing efforts from 2000 to 2004. In 2007, Eskandar led Liquidnet’s acquisition of Miletus Trading, a quantitative and program trading broker-dealer, also serving as president and chief executive during its integration. Eskandar left Liquidnet last year on amicable terms. At the time of his departure in December, he had noted his desire for a new challenge.

“Alfred’s creativity and strategic thinking is amongst the best in the industry, and he is a proven leader,” said Eric Goldberg, founder and co-chairman of Portware. “These traits and his impressive track record helping companies dominate their market and maximize their growth potential make him a perfect fit with the Portware vision and culture.”

The addition of Eskandar is part of a broader restructuring at Portware, which is positioning itself for global expansion. Founders Eric Goldberg and Ary Khatchikian will co-chair the newly-formed board. Scott DePetris, currently chief operating officer, becomes president and COO.

Earlier this month, Portware announced a partnership with Cuttone & Co., a brokerage firm on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, to provide direct, integrated access to Cuttone’s floor broker services for enhanced order management, including participation in the NYSE parity allocation model.

At the start of the year, Portware forecasted a host of trends and changes to look out for over the coming year. These include increasing cloud-based services adoption, continued growth in electronic FX trading, widespread adoption of advanced pre-, post- and real-time analytics, and an increased demand for electronic trading in emerging markets.

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