Why Flexibility Matters – What IS Prime, IS Risk Analytics Can Offer You

IS Prime's Jonathan Brewer and IS Risk Analytics' Jeff Wilkins outlined the company's unique structure and benefits.

IS Prime is part of the ISAM Capital Markets Group which also includes IS Prime Hong Kong and IS Risk Analytics. Finance Magnates spoke to Jonathan Brewer, Managing Partner of IS Prime and Commercial Director of ISAM Capital Markets, and Jeff Wilkins, Managing Director of IS Risk Analytics (ISRA) to find out about the advantages to clients of this group structure.

Jonathan brewer
Jonathan Brewer, Managing Partner of IS Prime and Commercial Director of ISAM Capital Markets

What are the benefits to IS Prime clients of this Group structure?

Jonathan Brewer: Having a group structure gives us the flexibility and the agility to connect to, contract with, and work alongside our clients in whatever way is most suitable to each and every relationship.

We are not a “one size fits all” model and understand that our customers all have differing requirements. Having a number of entities offering different services and regulatory solutions across jurisdictions enables us to fit our offering to our clients and not the other way around. It is this mentality and setup that has enabled us to work with many of the largest brokers across the globe.

With IS Prime in the UK, ISRA in the US and IS Prime Hong Kong, we have local support and expertise that can be deployed as and when required. Our global coverage team can support clients on a ‘follow the sun’ basis and ensure that we always have the right expertise available, irrespective of which time zone our clients are based.

With specialist risk consultancy, ISRA in our Group, we believe that we are the only group in our space that properly straddles both the Prime of Prime and the risk management space. This is a key differentiator for us.

Please tell us more about IS Risk Analytics (ISRA) and the advantages to ISRA of being part of the ISAM Capital Markets Group?

Jeff Wilkins: Within the ISAM Capital Markets Group, each individual business has the opportunity to flourish on its own but also benefits from the Group structure in terms of leveraging relationships, operational structure and cost efficiencies.

Jeff Wilkins, Managing Director of IS Risk Analytics (ISRA)
Jeff Wilkins, Managing Director of IS Risk Analytics (ISRA)

ISRA is the technology and risk consultancy arm within the ISAM Capital Markets Group, with oversight of over $1 trillion in monthly notional trading volume. This data enables our team to spot trends, both regionally and globally, and to provide clients with unparalleled insight and risk management solutions.

We work closely with IS Prime and IS Prime Hong Kong to provide a value-added service. Our clients come in all shapes and sizes. Some brokers lean on ISRA for everything, including risk advisory, hosting, bridging and connectivity solutions and some brokers pick and choose what they need. There is no “one size fits all” model and we work with every broker to make sure they are efficient in all aspects of their business.

Can you give an example of how an IS Prime client accesses ISRA services? Is this all handled seamlessly through IS Prime or does the client have two separate entities to deal with?

Jonathan Brewer: This really depends on the relationship with the client; there is no firm rule – we have clients that just use ISRA’s proprietary bridge or its risk consultancy services so only work with the team there, and we have others that use the Group as a whole. How we work with clients, and the interactions we have between the different Group entities is down to what is most efficient, and what each one of our clients’ needs are.

The most cost and operationally effective setups are often where we have ISRA advising a client on its technology and risk management (A/B book client selection, book management, MT4/5 maintenance etc) and IS Prime delivering liquidity solutions alongside this. Here we can cross-subsidise products and add significant value to our clients’ businesses.

Can you give an example of how an ISRA client typically works with IS Prime or IS Prime Hong Kong clients?

Jeff Wilkins:  One of the best examples is one of our HK-based brokers where we are offering a fully-outsourced service. Here the ISRA team fully manages the day-to-day technology, trading and operational needs of the client ensuring that they are able to focus on growing their business through client acquisition and support.

There is both joint and separate coverage of the account between the IS Prime and ISRA teams, depending on the task and the situation. For example, at times, the ISRA team liaises with IS Prime discussing routing rules for specific customer flow, and vice-versa.

How we work and how we interact depends on the client’s needs and the agreed setup. The bottom line is our brokerage customers are great at marketing and sales and we are great at the rest. With us in the picture, brokers can focus on growing their business.

What proportion of IS Prime’s client base uses ISRA services?

Jonathan Brewer: By volume it is a very high percentage as many of our largest clients use ISRA’s services to help optimise their setups – these organisations are often very complex and they have found that leveraging ISRA’s expertise makes a marked difference to their P&L. We naturally work with many of our smaller clients too as the offering is scalable so we can deliver a service optimised to each client’s needs.

If clients aren’t currently using IS Prime and ISRA’s combined services, what are they missing out on?

Jeff Wilkins: IS Prime stands out in this industry for its vast sector experience, strong LP relationships and its unique technology, with specialist Flow Analytics and Smart Order Routing. This ensures that brokers’ end-customers can execute on the best possible liquidity pool for their trading style.

ISRA adds an extra dimension to IS Prime’s offering. There are always efficiencies in brokers’ businesses and having a fresh set of eyes look at your book, client base, tech and liquidity setup (either individually or across the board) is invaluable. Do we find brokers that are almost completely optimised? Yes, but these are very few and far between.

Ultimately, the value of our combined offering comes down to profits. Relative to the potentially huge impact that working with ISRA and IS Prime can have on a broker’s P&L, the cost of our combined services can be utterly insignificant when weighed against potential lost revenue.  ISRA has, in some cases, been able to help clients extract literally millions of dollars of extra P&L from their existing book.

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