Waters Rankings 2016: Best Broker-Dealer — UBS

The UBS Neo platform was launched in 2013 and covers equities, commodities, FX and fixed income.

ubs-broker-dealer-watersrankings2016
Bob Cioffi, Tim Kurkjian, and Hannah Samaroo

For the third straight year, Swiss investment bank UBS takes home the prize for the best broker-dealer in this year’s Waters Rankings, thanks to its Neo electronic trading platform. As regulatory challenges mount and as firms look for more transparency and analytics in order to improve trading outcomes and manage costs, asset managers are increasingly looking for more personalized experiences from their broker-dealers. Hishaam Caramanli, managing director at UBS Investment Bank, believes that it has been this focus on personalization that has helped to separate the platform, with its cross-asset class capabilities, from other similar broker-dealer offerings on the market.

“The biggest trend we are seeing with the growth of client numbers, transactions and content is the demand for greater personalization of services, trading ideas and content,” he says. “As Neo gets bigger, we are aiming to keep the platform experience tailored to each individual’s requirements.”

UBS began building Neo in 2010 and officially launched the platform in 2013, looking to blend a customized trading experience across equities, commodities, FX and fixed income to develop ideas along with deep-dive research. Since then, Caramanli says the platform has evolved to include richer messaging for clients so that they can interact with other clients directly and through a single portal. The Neo team has also enriched many of the transaction services available to clients across equities and FX, rates and credit, he says.

As an example, equities transaction-cost analysis (TCA) will be coming to client Neo screens later this year in prime brokerage, and that follows the bank adding a “what-if” margin tool and richer reporting services. In FX, the broker-dealer has added an FX spot and precious metal bulk-order upload tool, while in FX options, it has added improved management of strips and forwards in addition to adding more currency pairs. On the swaps front, Neo is now able to aggregate interest-rate swap (IRS) and credit-default swap (CDS) index prices from six swap-execution facility (SEF) order books.

“The fact that Neo is a silo buster for our clients by the very nature of its architecture and design means that they can truly see everything that the investment bank has to offer behind one login,” Caramanli says. “Simplicity scales and clients appreciate the extra effort they know it takes to make things simpler for them.” 

 

“The biggest trend we are seeing with the growth of client numbers, transactions and content is the demand for greater personalization of services, trading ideas and content. As Neo gets bigger, we are aiming to keep the platform experience tailored to each individual’s requirements.” Hishaam Caramanli, UBS Investment Bank

 

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