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Wellington storms the middle ground

With massive capital, some of the finest minds and cutting-edge technology, the bulge-bracket global securities firms offer clients a seamless one-stop service. Despite their dominance, though, cracks in the securities walls they have built remain to be exploited, as Wellington Securities is proving.

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WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND'S tiny capital, seems an unlikely choice for the headquarters of one of Asia's niche securities businesses. Far from the cut and thrust of the region's leading financial centres, Wellington is the world's most southerly capital and a full four hours ahead of Asia's key time zone. But for Peter Coker, chairman and founder of Wellington Securities, that is exactly the point – the city sits conveniently between the Asian and US time zones.

"We wanted to be ahead of the [Asian] markets," says Coker. "New Zealand is two to three hours ahead. In terms of the time zone between Asia and the US, New Zealand is perfect."

Wellington Securities is Asia's first outsourced trading platform for fund management firms and living proof that there is life for mere mortals after the bulge-bracket firms came to inherit the financial world. Small to medium-size US- and European-based fund managers – buy-side clients to use market parlance – that wish to trade Asia's notoriously volatile markets are faced with an unenviable decision. Either they run an expensive night desk working unsocial hours to monitor overnight positions or they keep positions open, leaving themselves at the mercy of large brokers, many of which operate proprietary trading books, often positioned on the other side of a trade.

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