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Imagine a Singapore or Hong Kong-based intermediary, wishing to buy Apple or Tesla shares for clients as the US market opens. When the Nasdaq exchange’s bell rings to start trading at 9.30 a.m. New York time, it’s 9.30 p.m. in Singapore. Placing an order by phone or email with a bank would have to wait until the next day – possibly forfeiting a trading opportunity.

Yet with Julius Baer’s new Digital Intermediaries Platform (DIP), the first of its kind in Asia, intermediaries place orders digitally. Trades are executed within milliseconds, whenever the respective markets are open.

In a fast-changing environment, Asia’s intermediaries must increasingly provide the region’s entrepreneurial clients with both highly personalised advice and efficient services backed by digital technology. That means, for instance, not just investment intelligence from all over the world, including US tech shares, but also the ability to trade electronically. The DIP is designed to help intermediaries keep pace, allowing them to become more efficient without greater cost.

“I think these days you want to have an edge,” notes David Reymond, Julius Baer’s Head Intermediaries APAC & EMEA. “You cannot ignore digital anymore unless you have a very narrow service offering. If you want to give clients a holistic service, you must find ways to digest the complexity in a meaningful way, and source the information instantly and be able to execute the transactions in an efficient way.”

Integrated information, analytics and reporting

The DIP pioneers Julius Baer’s hybrid approach to serving clients, by harnessing digital channels to complement personal service. Technology is a game-changer for the entire financial industry, disrupting banking and capital markets more than most sectors. CEOs believe that technology is changing their customers’ behaviour so they must adapt through greater digitalisation if they wish to remain relevant and competitive, according to a recent PwC 21st CEO Survey.

Launched in 2021, the DIP is the first digital platform of its kind in Asia. It connects intermediaries directly to financial markets, providing a leading portfolio management system (PMS), as well as Julius Baer’s state-of-the-art Markets Toolbox application for FX and structured products, all backed by automated reporting.

Reflecting Asian intermediaries’ needs, powerful benefits for intermediaries are offered via DIP. One can trade equities, funds, bonds, ETDs (exchange-traded derivatives) either through Expersoft’s AM-One PMS or alternatively via proprietary PMSs, connecting through FIX, a financial industry standard protocol. The flexibility to connect directly with any PMS is what currently makes the DIP unique in Asia.

DIP brings comprehensive analysis features, allowing timely and educated decision making. Through the AI-powered SPARK – a structured products optimisation engine and radically advanced add-on to Markets Toolbox that harnesses big data and advanced analytics – intermediaries can design suitable investment solutions in seconds.

Users can enter their desired investment themes or criteria in the power search bar or select from a range of ready-made or self-created investment styles. Instantaneously, SPARK computes the best possible underlying combinations according to the given specifications or chosen investment themes. The top five results will then be displayed, enabling users to compare products based on maturity, barrier or callability. This provides for an easy selection of products with the corresponding risk/reward profiles. All it takes is the click of a button to trade a selected product in the Derivative Toolbox.

What’s more, DIP draws on market data from industry-leading provider SIX, which sources and consolidates global securities data, providing intermediaries with an accurate view of market conditions.

What’s next?

While the DIP’s foundations were laid in 2021, it will be continuously enhanced in 2022 and beyond.

  1. For a start, accessing the platform will become easier, with the launch of the DIP landing page, the hub of this ecosystem for intermediaries.
  2. Later there are plans to make investment research readily available.
  3. After that, further enhancements will depend on the intermediaries’ needs.

“We are aiming to learn from Google and Facebook, taking user feedback and activity to guide our future enhancements,” says Reymond. For the early users, DIP is already making a difference. “I am of the opinion that Julius Baer offers a visionary platform, and I appreciate Julius Baer’s trust and handholding along the entire journey of adaptation,” asserted one of the intermediaries using the platform.

Julius Baer’s vision is that DIP becomes the preferred digital shopping mall for Asia’s intermediaries. As such, it will continually evolve, adding the best, most innovative tools or apps available from either the Bank’s leading team of financial software designers or the rest of the marketplace. By doing so, it will hugely improve intermediaries’ ability to offer holistic, trusted advice to their clients.