Interview with Charlie Susi & Gerry Polizzi – UBS Quant HQ was launched last year as a global joint venture between UBS Direct Execution Services and UBS Prime Services. They’ve combined the firm’s human insight and expertise with innovative technology to provide quantitative traders with tailored access to the wide range of UBS Global Investment Services. The depth of the UBS Quant HQ product offering not only includes execution and clearing, but also global technology infrastructure and solutions, commission sharing agreements, quant research and a market leading capital introduction business.
Charlie Susi (pictured) is Global co-head of Direct Execution in New York, and Gerry Polizzi is Senior Prime Brokerage Relationship Manager for Prime Services.
“The biggest reason behind launching UBS Quant HQ was that we’ve got a world-class global trading infrastructure that we’ve heavily invested in over the years, in addition to a very product rich prime brokerage platform that we’ve built over the last 20 years. The idea was to synthesise the two businesses and really focus on supporting quantitative trading teams,” says Polizzi.
Charlie Susi adds that as well as having multiple technology infrastructures and a global footprint, there’s a strong commitment to providing high-touch consultancy.
“Quant shops need consultative services and will work with a provider that understands systematic trading, how to leverage technology, provide the right prime brokerage services, and figure out the right way to access global markets,” says Susi.
Part of this consultancy service is being able to manage different requirements of systematic traders. “We offer an array of technologies and services to solve complex problems. The client pushes our product offering and we are always willing to explore, embrace and leverage emerging technologies,” Susi adds.
UBS Quant HQ is not just about offering low latency emphasises Susi: “It’s about risk controls, risk management, and consulting with the client. Our role is to protect everyone and provide the right liquidity at the right time.”
“Along those lines, we also recently rolled out an iPad application called UBS Quant on Demand Studio to help us work closely with clients to build customised algorithms. It’s a visualisation tool that allows us to sit down with the client, discuss how they want to trade, simulate what it would do, and then build a totally personalised algorithm with all the parameters that matter to them individually. It helps automate the client’s workflow,” explains Susi.
“The segment we’re talking about is quantitative systematic traders and that’s not a binary thing. It’s not like you are one or you aren’t one. A lot of funds run multiple strategies; some are quantitative, others are not. Someone might trade in a low latency capacity but you can be high frequency and not low latency and vice versa,” says Susi.
Aside from having the technology, global reach and consultancy expertise, UBS Quant HQ is also built on one of the industry’s strongest balance sheets.
“Our clients take great comfort knowing that we’re a safe and secure institution. Counterparty risk is a big concern these days. Our prime services platform puts us in a position where we’re able to service this particular client segment very efficiently, and respond quickly to meet their needs and requirements,” adds Polizzi.
Accessing new markets and asset classes is pivotal to UBS with the electronification of the markets. It just recently closed the purchase of the Brazilian brokerage firm Link Investimentos and as Susi notes: “This deal positions UBS as the top trader of cash equities and futures in Brazil.”
“We are very excited to continue to execute on the UBS Quant HQ strategy with a diverse set of quantitative clients embracing our product offering. We are building a feature rich product, attracting the targeted client base and expanding our footprint globally,” concludes Susi.