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The 2015 Trading Technology 40: Alfred Eskandar
#38 Alfred Eskandar, Chief Executive Officer, Portware
Founded in 2000, Portware shot to prominence with order-execution technology tailor-made for the automated, analytics-driven, multi-asset-class trading styles that took hold in the early years of the century. But out on the bleeding edge, fortunes can turn quickly. By the time the founders (veteran Wall Street traders Eric Goldberg and Ari Khatchikian) stepped aside and Alfred Eskandar came in as CEO, in March 2012, growth had slowed and the New York–based software company needed new, turnaround-type thinking. Eskandar says he spent his first year “restructuring and reorganizing,” and, with assets acquired from defunct dark-pool operator Pipeline Trading Systems, creating Alpha Vision, “the first marriage of execution management systems with artificial intelligence.” Alpha Vision’s real-time, predictive analytics contrasted with “static blotter data” and allowed Portware to stand out from other EMS purveyors, says Eskandar, 41. Several top investment management firms have since bought in: $8.5 trillion of assets are being managed on Portware’s EMS, up from $3 trillion when Eskandar arrived. Citing his “buy-side-to-buy-side experience” of being a member of the founding team of institutional trading platform Liquidnet, the CEO says: “We’ve been watching the trends develop. Our most prestigious and demanding clients want to push the cutting edge of technology and make it work to their competitive advantage.” In 2015, Eskandar expects to sign more customers with “complex global work flows” and to complement Portware’s capabilities through partnership arrangements like those already in place with Markit for transaction cost analysis and S3 Partners in securities lending.