Nordea hires Saxo ‘star’ to redevelop FX platform

By:
Russell J. Dinnage
Published on:

Nordea, the largest bank in the Nordic region, has hired one of Saxo Bank’s leading e-commerce specialists to oversee the redevelopment of its electronic FX offering, the bank confirms.

Henrik Holst was Saxo’s head of platform management, and he will begin working at Nordea on January 1 as head of the bank’s development of research and advisers services in e-Markets, the bank’s single-dealer platform (SDP).

Holst will now oversee a handover of his position at Saxo Bank to Alan Plaugmann before joining Nordea in January. 

From January 1 Holst will be based in Nordea's Copenhagen offices and will report to Thomas Vinding, Nordea’s head of e-Markets.

Last year, the bank began work on developing the platform further, with the objective of expanding the number of users, by opening it up to the regional banks as well as institutional investors and larger corporate customers, says Vinding.

Initially, the changes to the e-Markets platform will be part of the existing e-Markets package of products and services, says Vinding. However, over time, the latest offerings will become a new SDP, he says.

Development will take place in stages.

"The new platform is part of a very ambitious strategy consisting of a lot of different services," says Vinding. "It is much more than just a one-year plan."

Holst will be responsible for the implementation of new front-end elements of Nordea’s e-Markets services, including its roll-out on to mobile devices, as well as for new research, intellectual property and market information services set for inclusion in the new SDP’s package, says Vinding.

In recent years Holst helped develop Saxo’s strategy in delivering its FX services via mobile devices, which have grown rapidly among retail FX traders.

The new and improved Nordea SDP will provide back-office services not currently offered on the e-Markets platform, including a streamlined confirmations process for trading contracts, and other pre- and post-trade processing services, says Vinding, without being more specific.

Vinding adds that Nordea is planning to begin speaking to its customers soon about its plans for the new SDP and how it will integrate with existing parts of e-Markets as well as offer new, stand-alone services.

The e-trading elements of the new SDP are being developed by a separate part of the Nordea e-Markets team, with some parts of the trading components being developed in-house and others being built by third parties, he says.

A rising star

Holst is the 2012 winner of Financial News’ 40 Under 40 Rising Stars award, taking the prize at an event in London on October 8.

He joins Nordea after spending the past two years working for Saxo Bank in Denmark, where he was the leader of Saxo’s platform management team, which is responsible for all of the product management related to the bank’s trading platforms.

Holst began his career at Saxo in January 2007 as the global product manager for trading platforms, overseeing all web and mobile-based trading applications. In September 2010, he was promoted to head of platform management at Saxo.

He began his career in the FX market in 2003 when he joined Reuters, becoming the product manager responsible for Nordic domestic product strategy in 2005 in a role that encompassed the launch and marketing of the company’s real-time financial software systems in the region.

Alan Plaugmann

Holst will be succeeded at Saxo Bank by Alan Plaugmann, who has become the company’s head of trading experience and products.

The new role means Plaugmann is responsible for a team of product development and product specialists focused on the continued development of Saxo’s proprietary trading platforms: SaxoTrader; SaxoWebTrader; and SmartphoneTrader.

Plaugmann joined Saxo in 2003 where he most recently served as the deputy head of CFDs and listed products, playing a lead role in the development of the bank’s futures and listed options product launched in 2004.

Plaugmann will be based in Copenhagen and will report to Erik Bjørn Jensen, Saxo’s executive vice-president and chief client officer.

Seeking to make up ground in market share

Since 2010, Nordea has been losing market share among the leading FX banks in the Nordic region – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden – according to the results of the 2012 Euromoney FX survey.

Nordea fell one place to sixth in the 2012 survey, with 5.38% of the FX market share in the region, as volumes declined by 41% since 2011. In 2010, the bank was ranked third for the same region in the Euromoney survey.