Julien Hammerson explains Calastone’s growth plans

Five years on from its launch, transaction network Calastone’s chairman and CEO Julien Hammerson has explained his thoughts on how the company will continue to grow.

Calastone recently celebrated the fifth anniversary of doing a business focused on facilitating transactions in the funds industry – essentially providing a solution to fund managers looking to send messages, such as buy and sell orders.

The anniversary was sweetened by corporate developments through September, which saw an $18m investment round led by Accel Partners pump more money into the company to boost its investment programme, in turn intended to accelerate the company’s growth rate.

What was a UK-centric business has followed its clients into other domiciles and territories – thereby expanding via Luxembourg and then Asia and on into markets such Australia, explains Julien Hammerson, chairman and CEO (pictured).

This has built a client book of some 450, with some 4,200 network connections. In the 12 months to September, the order value carried by Calastone’s network was more than $280bn, according to company figures.

That is not to say that Europe has been bypassed in order to get to markets further afield. Hammerson notes that the European landscape for funds transactions continues to operate according to many different models. In some banks are keen to distribute via their own ecosystems. Others are selling to individuals via platforms. Markets such as Italy and Poland are ones where Hammerson sees Calastone gaining ground, also helped by following existing clients.

France is seen as offering major opportunity in future. Changes that Calastone anticipate include possible opening up of banking ecosystems, along with changes to financial behaviour at the level of the individual in terms of long term savings.

Regulatory environment

Despite the obvious growth exhibited by Calastone as a business, Hammerson is keen to stress that the industry overall could be helped in respect of transaction processes by European lawmakers and regulators in Brussels.

For example, it would help the industry if a common definition of straight through processing could be agreed.

Different markets require different answers, Hammerson notes, and this steers this particular technology supplier. Platforms are at different stages across Europe. While the presence in Taiwan is based on the premis that an industry that is still very much manual in its processing of fund orders is set to automate – possibly with encouragement through changes to the local regulatory regime.

Australia is interesting because of new regulations, which may drive further demand to automate business processes in areas such as superannuation.

Calastone’s business development will be following a roadmap, Hammerson adds. The new investment in the business will accelerate growth in areas such as personnel, which he expects to go from about 70 globally currently to some 90 by the end of 2013, and perhaps 110 by the end of 2014.

An example of new personnel is Thomas Bruno, who joined as managing director Americas recently following a career with companies such as State Street, IFDS, and Bosting Financial Data Services. He has been involved in leading teams focused on cross-border fund distribution and strategies of connecting different markets and products. The job title suggests Calastone has its eye on the Americas as a region for development.

Growth will also be maintained through deepening relations with existing clients, through innovation of services, Hammerson says. This rests on collaborating with clients to find what he describes as ‘pinch points’ in their own businesses, which Calastone can then focus on to find solutions.

Roundtables with clients to identifying top challenges contribute to the focus.

The overall network solution continues to add new or improved functionality every four to six weeks, as part of a process of continuous development, Hammerson says.

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