BTIG Australia, a broker dealer specialising in institutional trading and related brokerage services, has expanded its Australian presence with four senior hires.

BTIG has brought on Darin Lester, David McConnell, Dustin Westblade and Trevor Harrison to further build out its Australian business and to expand its presence in the broader Asian region.

These new hires increase BTIG’s Australian team to 11 professionals.

Lester, McConnell and Harrison will be based in Sydney. With the addition of Westblade, BTIG will now have coverage and representation in Melbourne.

“Our business model, which we believe is relatively new to Australia, has positioned us well for growth and has allowed us to take advantage of market opportunities,” says Kevin Chessen, head of BTIG’s International effort. “The new hires in Australia complement our recent expansions in Singapore and Hong Kong, and further position us to be a dominant player in the region.”

Lester joins BTIG from Macquarie Group, where he spent the majority of his career. He joined Macquarie’s Sydney office in 1996 focusing on derivative sales in the equity markets group. He then spent several years with the company in both New York and Hong Kong before returning to Sydney in 2008 as division director of Macquarie Securities.

McConnell joins BTIG from UBS Investment Bank Australia, where he was director of Australian equity sales trading. Prior to that, McConnell held a similar role with UBS Securities in Japan. He has spent the majority of his career working in the Asian region, including roles in Hong Kong and Japan with Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein Securities, and Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong with ING-Barings Securities.

Westblade has nearly 15 years of experience in the industry. He was most recently a senior sales trader with ITG Australia, where he managed accounts for leading domestic and overseas fund managers. Prior to that, Westblade was a senior institutional designated trading representative with HSBC Equities Australia. He started his career at UBS Equities Australia.

Harrison was previously vice president of sales and capital introduction with Citigroup Global Markets, where he was responsible for the sale of prime broker services to the Australian market. Prior to that he worked at State Street Australia, where he held roles in investment management and sales & marketing.

BTIG’s Australian team is led by Paul Brech, chief executive officer of BTIG Australia. He joined the firm in 2008 to launch the Australian business. Additionally, Grant Mason has returned to the Sydney office, after leaving to start BTIG’s Hong Kong office late last year.


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