Mr. Bürgisser, you are a well-known specialist in fund trading beyond the financial centre of Zurich. Can you say a few words about your previous professional stations?
Thank you very much for the laurels (laughs). I would agree with you, over many years I established a reputation that now extends beyond the Swiss financial centre. Over the past 26 years, I have had the opportunity to get to know and appreciate many people in the funds industry across all branches. These include fund managers, external asset managers, fund traders and many sales people from funds companies in Switzerland and abroad, and of course you, Mr. Caduff (laughs). Amongst companies I worked for BNP Paribas, MeesPierson, Fortis and Julius Baer.
What fascinates you so much about this business?
The funds business is so diverse. Every day brings new opportunities but also sometimes risks, and no two days are the same. Funds houses are so innovative and are always reinventing themselves and bringing plenty of new themes to the market for investors, even when the markets are at their height, clients still find these products very appealing. Also, regulations and all the blockchain stories will certainly keep us on our toes in the financial sector over the coming years. In the past, we only knew subscription and redemption to NAV as order entry. Moreover, 15 years ago this was still done by telephone or fax. Today, orders are transmitted electronically via Swift using platforms such as ours. This avoids orders being lost by fax or phone. With an electronic transmission, everything can be placed in seconds, which is not the case with a fax or telephone transmission. It’s true that this technology has cost many jobs in trading as well as in the back office. Today, it is already possible to trade the mutual funds product on the Swiss Stock Exchange additionally as a buy and sell, like ETFs or shares. By the way, I would like to mention here that for many years I worked closely with the team that brought this «Sponsored Funds» segment to the Swiss Stock Exchange at Julius Baer. I am very grateful for that. We were thus able to offer customers further flexibility, enabling them to either go to the secondary market or to get the pricing at NAV. It is very important to me to ensure that we can also offer our clients this option on MFEX platform. This shows us, among other things, how the industry is changing and how people are focusing more and more on flexibility and transparency within the product. I believe the funds business is not only my profession, it is my passion. I love being able to offer tailor-made solutions to our clients. The clients are very grateful and appreciate that I can offer the ideal product from my wealth of experience. My credo, even when I was Head of Funds Execution at Julius Baer, was to provide the client with the best possible service. In our field, we can only distinguish ourselves through service. We are not reinventing the wheel. The better the service, the more satisfied the clients are and the more they trade on our platform in the funds sector. Yes, you can say that whoever has the best service and the best pricing model is at the forefront of the market. Being cheap alone is no longer enough. You also have to be close to the customer and give the customer the feeling that we are there for them in case of concerns and that we will process them swiftly within a reasonable timeframe, of course.
Now you work for MFEX. A name that not everyone knows. What exactly does your company do?
We are a rapidly growing funds platform and we now have more than 300 employees around the world and 350 clients; our company administers funds assets worth more than 320 billion Euros from 950 different funds companies. Offerings include trading and custody, distribution services, data solutions, KYC services and due diligence. Outside Sweden, we have offices in Paris, Luxembourg, London, Geneva, Kuala Lumpur, Milan, Madrid, Hong Kong and Singapore and new in Zurich since last September to be closer to our clients in the DACH region.
As MFEX has a state-of-the-art IT solution, we are able to cope with the current situation with Covid and remote working with distinction. We are indeed in a position to be closer to our customers despite everything and ensure that all orders are processed professionally and in a timely manner.
And who are your clients?
Our clients include banks, asset managers and insurance companies.
How do you plan to grow further, what are your goals for the current year?
After Geneva, our company has decided to gain a foothold in Limmat City. This decision was the right one. The aim is to achieve a greater presence in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, in Germany, Liechtenstein and Austria from Zurich. On Lake Geneva, so far, we have mainly serviced the local banks, insurance companies and asset managers. In my view, we do not yet have the broad recognition in the German-speaking countries that we deserve. With our office in Zurich, we now have the opportunity to offer our services locally for the banks, insurance companies and external asset managers that are based here. We offer automated and flexible solutions that are completely bespoke depending on the characteristics of the client. In today’s world, it is even more important to have a finger on the pulse and be in tune with our clients’ needs.
Thanks to my in-depth knowledge, and to the high flexible and scalable platform that MFEX developed almost 20 years ago, we are able to offer tailor-made solutions to banks, asset managers and insurance companies. We know exactly what leverage to apply to the individual institutions. In the almost six months since I have assumed my role with MFEX, we have realised that the potential is huge. We will continue to grow in the DACH region in the coming months and I am convinced that our services will continue to be very well-appreciated. In a year, we can talk again about how MFEX has grown in the DACH region (laughs).
Read the whole interview here