Cantor Fitzgerald opens office in Singapore

The new office will be headed by William Selig and will have execution capabilities for equities and equity derivatives across Asia.
Cantor Fitzgerald has opened an office in Singapore after being granted a capital markets servicing licence by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. The new office, which is the US financial services firmÆs second in Asia after Hong Kong, will enable it to provide pan-Asian execution services in cash equities and equity derivatives.

The same services are already available out of Hong Kong, but according to a company official, the on-the-ground presence will allow the firm to provide better services to its Singapore-based clients and improve its relationships with them. It will also make it more attuned to what is going on in Singapore, which should be beneficial for its clients elsewhere in Asia. And the firm is in the process of getting a stock exchange seat that will enable it to trade Singapore-listed equities without going through a local partner.

Singapore is obviously an attractive location given the large number of hedge funds that have been setting up shop there over the past few years, but the move into the Lion City could mark the beginning of a larger geographical expansion in Asia as the firm is currently also considering putting people on the ground in other Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. The Singapore office, which will be headed by newly appointed managing director William Selig, will initially have a team of five sales traders focused on the Asia-Pacific region. It has about 60 staff in Hong Kong, where it has full clearing and settlement services for all markets in Asia, including Japan, and a stock exchange seat.

Subject to official approval, the firm will be looking to expand its existing product offering in the region to meet its clientsÆ needs and demands. Potential new offerings may include commodities or various forms of exotic products such as carbon trading, says Angelina Kwan, Cantor FitzgeraldÆs chief operating officer in Asia. The firm deals with execution and settlement, but doesnÆt originate these products itself.

ôParticipants in the markets are looking for solutions that enable them to focus on reducing expenses and increasing returns. Our model helps our clients to do both by providing better, more cost effective executions,ö says Selig in a written comment.

Selig will be reporting to Jason Boyer, the firmÆs executive managing director of Asian equities and global equity derivatives.

Cantor Fitzgerald provides sales and trading services for institutional equity and (through its recently spun-off affiliate BGC Partners) fixed-income markets and is one of 20 institutions designated by the Federal Reserve as primary dealers in the US. It is also involved in investment banking, private equity and asset management. Including Singapore, it now has offices in 30 locations around the world.

Most of its Asian business has been built up since 2004 when Cantor Fitzgerald made a renewed push into the region. The firm chose to wind down most of business here in order to relocate staff back to the US after the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York in 2001. Cantor Fitzgerald had its offices on the upper floors in the World Trade Center and was among the companies worst hit by the attack. Before that, the firm had offices in both Hong Kong and Singapore.
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