To stand out in a crowd of trading-software competitors, a company needs technology and innovation as table stakes. Portware had that in early 2012 the New Yorkbased company was 12 years old, and investment firms were running an aggregate $3 trillion in assets on its execution management systems. But growth had slowed, and Portwares board, in search of new energy and ideas, hired Alfred Eskandar, a member of the founding team of buy-side trading platform Liquidnet, as CEO. Today, Portwares managed-assets total is $10 trillion, payback on product initiatives like Alpha Vision, which introduced real-time predictive analytics to the process of optimizing execution strategy. Portwares transformation may have only just begun, because it was acquired by financial information company FactSet Research Systems in October for $265 million in cash. With trading systems an entirely new business for FactSet, there was no consolidation: It bought Portware, its management and some 180 employees whole, and Eskandar says the resource constraints on his formerly independent operation have virtually vanished. One reason this is a good strategic fit, the 42-year-old adds, is that both companies put a premium on client service. Support can always be improved. There is no end state, Eskandar says, noting that FactSets 38 global offices and data centers are now Portwares network. An innovation summit with key clients in London last fall yielded incredibly valuable input on R&D priorities, the CEO says. Fixed-income trading is a shiny red ball that everyone is chasing. But, he adds, in this space there is such a race to deliver rather than just to innovate. Thats a huge positive for us.
2016 Trading Technology 40Click below to view profiles