Barclays’ Managing Director and Head of Prime Sales, Americas, Betty Gee, argues that, “prime finance has generally not yet undergone the same degree of technological transformation as other markets businesses. As high barriers to entry make it hard to break into the market, and the leading players are by definition content with the status quo, innovation and disruption are most likely to come from mid-tier players. Barclays is big enough to affect outcomes for the industry, but also small enough to want to disrupt the industry”.
According to Preqin’s June 2018 report on hedge fund prime brokers, Barclays was servicing 664 single hedge fund managers and was in the top ten most utilised prime brokers for single hedge funds. (Other surveys based on SEC filings put the number at closer to 400, partly because they overlook funds, including European and Asian ones, which may not be registered with the SEC.)
The composition of Barclays’ client base is also germane to the evolving business model. Clients include systematic and quantitative funds, and leaders in data science and automation, which are increasingly applying their technology, models and algorithms not only to portfolio and investment management – but also to automating and optimising financing decisions.
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