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With a great turnout and a record number of sponsors for the event, the day looked to defy the year gone by. Or perhaps there was just so much to talk about. The FPL Education and Marketing Committee had spent months discussing the content for the day, ensuring that it was intriguing and relevant to industry participants here in Asia Pac and they certainly looked to have succeeded.
What better way to open the day than to have a video recap of what has happened in the last 12 months in the financial world, kindly provided by Thomson Reuters, and a warm welcome from the FPL Co-chairs Chris Jenkins and George Molina.
The first keynote was from the well known minority shareholder activist, David Webb, who summed up a number of high profile “incidents” in the Hong Kong market such as the PCCW saga and the closing auction.
Some well respected names then took to the floor, with Chris Ryan, Managing Director of FIL Investment Management (Asia) talking to what all this change has meant to Asset Management Firms. Then Mark Wheatley, (Head of Asia Sales, Merrill Lynch), and Tony Mackay, (Chairman of Chi-X Global), had a good conversation on how Asia is doing in respect to Best Execution.
Philippa Allen (CEO of ComplianceAsia) then gave a very comprehensive overviews of the compliance and risk management frameworks in the region.
The Great Debate was headed for the highlight of the day, a stand-off between "The Agency Broker" and "The Full Service Broker". Moderated by Pierre Rousseau, CEO of BNP Securities Asia, it was John Fildes, MD of Instinet and Peter Twist, CEO of IND-X Securities who took on Harvey Twomey, Head of Prime Brokerage Sales & Hedge Fund Capital Group for the Pacific Rim at Deutsche Bank and James Donovan, Executive Director, Asia Regional Salestrading at UBS. The debate was feisty, with some marked differences of opinion in the advantages of services on offer. Obviously both teams were doing well in making their points as the majority of the audience agreed, through the interactive voting at the end of the debate, that there is room for both Agency Broker and Full Service Broker to co-exist.
Over lunch time, the exhibition zone proved to be a very popular destination as delegates crowded the booths, enquiring about the latest industry solutions available. The FIX Protocol booth was also packed with delegates who were interested to know more about FIX and FIXGlobal subscription.
The afternoon session started with Jason Lapping, Director of Equity Execution Services, Societe Generale, who was joined by Ian Smith, Director, Equities, AES, Credit Suisse, David Rabinowitz, Executive Director, Head of Direct Execution, Asian Equities, UBS. The panelists looked at how trading strategies have been evolving over the last few months under the environment of low volume and high volatility.
Martin Wheatley, CEO of the Securities and Futures Commission Hong Kong, was a welcome return speaker to the event. Martin said in his speech that Hong Kong is unlikely to have the same knee jerk regulatory reactions as seen in other markets but undoubtedly that there would be more regulation to come.
Has the power shifted to the Buy-side in this new environment? The buy-side panel, moderated by Robert Laible, Managing Director, Electronic Trading Services, Asia-Pacific, Nomura International, certainly addressed the notion that they are on a more even playing field. It was also agreed by the panelists, George Molina, Director of Asian Trading, Franklin Templeton Investments, Kent Rossiter, Head of Regional Asia Pacific Trading, RCM Asia Pacific, Guy Commaille, COO, Boyer Allan Investment Management and Matthew Saul, Head of Trading for Asia ex-Japan, FIL Investments that the focus is on selecting the broker that makes the most difference.
The final panel generated a lot of interest from the audience as the panelists, Uwe Parpart, Managing Director, Chief Economist & Strategist for Asia, Cantor Fitzgerald, Garry Evans, Chief Equity Strategist, Asia-Pacific, HSBC and Clive McDonnell, Head of Equity Strategy, BNP Paribas Securities Asia, analyzed the current market and kindly left with a few recommendations. The panel was professionally moderated by Damien Ryan of Ryan Financial Communications, who is also the guest host for the entire day.
The Co-chairs of the Education and Marketing Committee, Gavin Williamson of HSBC and Srinivas Padmasola of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, summed up the day with a special thank you to George Molina of Templeton, who is finishing his 4 year term as FPL's Asia Pac Regional Co-chair.
With a full day behind them, and much food for thought, most delegates headed off for a cold beer or glass of wine at the packed cocktail reception. It was interesting to see the discussion points from the day being raised again over a few drinks, with conversations becoming increasingly animated as the evening went on! A great finish to a great day.