This day in history: Saxo Bank goes the FX asset management route in Denmark

We take a look back at “This day in history” within the world of FX taking a journey through annuls of time to look at the various groundbreaking developments that continue to take place in our fascinating industry.

Saxo Bank

Seven years ago today, Saxo Bank was equally an innovative powerhouse as it is today.

Just one year after moving into its architect-designed 16000 square meter head office on the Tuborg estate in Hellerup, Denmark which was custom designed by 3xn Architects and resembles no other FX trading company headquarters, the company began embarking on an expansion into various new and specialist regions and niches.

Saxo Bank expands presence into the Middle East

On June 17, 2009, Saxo Bank began to expand its presence in the Middle East, taking a close look at Saudi Arabia as a region in which to onboard a discerning and high net worth client base.

A month prior, the company had opened an office in Dubai, and was now evaluating the Middle East as a strategic region in which to grow the business internationally.

On this day seven years ago, Wahb Ahmed, Saxo Bank’s manager for the Middle East (private sector), told the Saudi Gazette that there is a growing number of investors who diversified into CFD due to losses incurred in the local equity markets. In Saudi Arabia alone, Saxo Bank Group had established a strong presence between as far back as 2001 and 2009.

The company by that time already had established very strong partnerships and institutional relationships with a number of important regional financial institutions, and on that note, Saxo Bank (Dubai) Limited Chief Executive Officer Robin Shailendra Patel explained at the time “the group views Saudi Arabia as a very important, strategic market place.”

Project Sophia

A year later, Copenhagen based Mr. Patel left Saxo Bank to found Project Sophia which creates and deploys operations, human resource and institutional governance infrastructure, designed to address the common weaknesses and barriers to sustainable growth and scale that hold back the majority of microfinance and livelihood finance operations.

Mr. Patel became CEO of his newly founded company in 2010, and still holds the position today. Representing another example of a former Saxo Bank executive that has become an ambassador to the company by moving to run his own company.

Other examples of this include Mikael Breinholst, Saxo Bank’s Global Product Manager between 2010 and 2013 who moved on to found fintech company Tradeworks in 2013, and Bart Burggraaf, who left his position as Online Marketing Manager at Saxo Bank in 2009 for two years at Citi as Marketing Manager before founding specialist performance marketing company MediaGroup Worldwide in 2011.

Speaking further on the company’s venture into the Saudi Arabian market, Mr. Ahmed said that there is a “huge demand” for its services in the region which “has lots of liquidity”, saying that Saudi Arabia is among the top five of its investors in the Middle East.

Investment Management Sector

Back at home in Denmark, Saxo Bank was also busy expanding its range of service into the investment management sector during this week seven years ago.

Saxo Bank, acquired Capital Four Management Fondsmaeglerselskab and 51% of the share capital of Global Evolution Fondsmaeglerselskab in line with its commercial strategy of becoming a Nordic powerhouse within the asset management sector.

The company has now achieved that, and owns Saxo Privatbank as well as having developed its asset management sector with the acquisition of these two entities.

The expertise of Capital Four lies within European corporate bonds, with a focus on the High Yield market, while Global Evolution primarily operates within emerging market fixed income and FX. The acquisitions meant by June 2009, portfolios worth around DKK 14 billion were managed by Saxo Asset Management.

Photograph: Saxo Bank, Hellerup, Denmark. Copyright FinanceFeeds

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