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Danish bank sets Asia targets for year ahead

Danish bank sets Asia targets for year ahead

Saxo Bank’s Asia-Pacific CEO Adam Reynolds has big plans for the group in the second half of the year.

After adding China A-shares to its online trading platform in Singapore this June, the Danish investment company is now preparing to launch new products and services for wealthy investors in Singapore and other Asian markets.

Topping the agenda for Saxo is an increase in its China offerings, especially after Chinese carmaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group increased its stake in Saxo to more than 50% last October.

Reynolds said the firm is currently working on providing access to China’s Bond Connect through its trading platform.

‘There is a lot of interest in that from high-net-worth (HNW) individuals and small funds and family offices. No one has the Bond Connect on a platform, fully digital and straight-through processing,’ he said.

Scheduled to come online by October, Saxo is partnering Tradeweb, a trading system for electronic fixed income, derivatives and exchange traded funds, to help users gain access to the $9.4 trillion market.

Tradeweb is an offshore trading platform that connects with China Foreign Exchange Trade System (CFETS) and is a trading interface for offshore investors to access Bond Connect.

According to Reynolds, Saxo will be the first platform on Tradeweb after the system acquired straight-through processing capabilities in China. Saxo will use HSBC as a custodian.

‘The new ownership from Geely really helps people's view of us within China and people's view of us as a conduit to China,’ Reynolds noted.

‘We are going to continue developing our Chinese products significantly along the way,’ he added.

New platforms

Saxo is also in the midst of developing a mutual funds platform for clients in Singapore after successfully launching the product in Europe in June, putting it in direct competition with the likes of iFast and Aviva’s Navigator.

The platform is being rolled out in partnership with mutual funds operator Allfunds Bank, and will increase the total number of tradable instruments on Saxo Capital Markets to about 40,000.

The platform currently offers trading in forex, forex options, contracts for difference, stocks, futures, bonds, listed options and ETFs.

‘We've had this view over time that the world is going to move towards ETFs because they are cheaper and better, but mutual funds seem to 

be here to stay, and they are here to stay because all the advisers get huge kickbacks from fund houses. It's a super profitable business to be in,’ Reynolds said.

The Danish bank, which derives most of its income from trading platforms than traditional banking activities, will offer Singapore-registered funds to retail investors as well as Ucits funds for accredited investors.

Saxo currently works with banks, brokers, fund managers, money managers and private banks in Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia.

The firm is looking to further extend its platforms to Thailand and Malaysia, through banks and securities companies, such as CIMB, Kasikorn Securities and Siam Commercial Bank Securities by early next year.

Using the networks of the financial institutions for product distribution, Saxo will allow trading of equities, ETFs and futures in Malaysia, while the Thailand range will be limited to equities and ETFs. It will also add some products from the local institutions on its platforms.

‘At the moment we do some US dollar bonds for those countries. We don’t do local currency bonds, but once we've got the currencies up and running we'll start to look at it,’ Reynolds said.

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