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Cowen Prime Services – Best North American Prime Broker

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Cowen Prime Services LLC has continued to make huge strides in cementing its reputation as one of America’s pre-eminent prime brokers to emerging and mid-sized hedge funds. With the continuing commitment of resources from its parent, Cowen, the prime brokerage division has continued to expand its service offering in the US as well as its international capabilities through Cowen International Limited. This year it has added more expertise to its US and London teams, and made initial hires in Hong Kong. 

“We made several key hires this year that have added significantly to our Outsourced Trading and Capital Introduction efforts. In our Capital Introduction team, we added three new members to the team, each of whom bring valuable experience on the allocation side,” explains Jack Seibald, Global Co-Head of Cowen Prime Services. 

Over its 100-year history, Cowen has developed a culture that is committed to helping its clients outperform. 

Clients of Cowen Prime Services leverage Cowen’s broader capabilities, including the firm’s non-conflicted electronic execution offering with access to more than 100 markets globally, and its institutional research, which currently has over 900 companies under coverage. Cowen also offers its clients a suite of corporate access events, capital markets activities, as well as an integrated MiFID II and RPA solution through its sister company, Westminster Research Associates. 

That ability to provide a wide range of capabilities is resonating well with clients, relative to other introducing brokers in the US, “to the point where we could arguably serve as a credible alternative to some of the bulge bracket primes,” says Seibald. Although Cowen Prime Services offers prime brokerage services alongside the outsourced trading solution, many of its outsourced trading clients are large and more institutional in nature. 

Mike Rosen, Global Co-Head of Cowen Prime Services, says the outsourced trading solution works well when “we are integrated with other prime brokers. We have over 20 different prime brokers and custodians integrated into our systems.” 

“We aren’t trying to compete for prime brokerage business with the large primes,” asserts Rosen, “but for emerging and mid-sized managers we are a credible alternative as we can give them a wider range of value-added services. These services are materially broader and deeper than some of our introducing broker competitors in the US; combining outsourced trading with a MiFID solution is a win-win for our clients and us.

“The full-service offering and the transparency that comes with that sets us apart, in my opinion.” 

Cowen has succeeded in working closely with the bulge bracket primes to give their clients additive services, such as outsourced trading. Over the years, this has helped to further deepen the level of trust with tier one primes (enhancing the overall client experience), as well as simultaneously provide its own full prime brokerage offering to emerging and mid-market managers who need an institutional, highly reputable alternative.

“From portfolio reporting to trade execution, margining, stock lending…we have the capability to provide these managers with a similar calibre of services they would expect of a tier one prime, and that’s where we shine relative to other introducing brokers. 

“By early next year we hope to be able to provide even more bespoke solutions, including custody and US swap capabilities,” confirms Seibald. n

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