Exotix Brings in Ex-Roubini Director to Build Tech Innovation Team, Harnessing Opportunities from AI to Data Analytics

Exotix Capital, the leading developing markets investment bank, today announces the appointment of Ian Watt, the former director of research product management for Roubini Global Economics, to a new position as head of technology development.

Watt, who joins Exotix’s London office, is the latest in a series of senior hires with experience of tech innovation to address the challenges and opportunities created by MiFID II and take advantage of transformative technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP) and advanced data analytics.

Watt reports to Exotix Capital CEO Duncan Wales, who in the late 1990s was part of the original management team of technology innovator BrokerTec, now the biggest electronic platform for US Treasury bond trading, owned by Nex Group Plc. Watt will also work closely with Exotix’s Head of Research, Analytics & Data, Paul Domjan, the founder of the tech and data-driven research group Country Insights, which was acquired by Roubini Global Economics. Exotix last month hired Christina Villa, the former Chief Operating Officer of Bloomberg Tradebook and Trading Solutions, one of the world’s largest financial data and e-trading platforms, as the COO for its Americas business.

Exotix has very deliberately hired leaders in fintech innovation to take the firm to the next level,” said Duncan Wales. “With the addition of Ian, we have the right mix of technical skills and experience to truly transform the industry we serve.

Among its priorities, Exotix’s technology development team will drive innovative solutions for Exotix and its developing market network partners that will seamlessly integrate research with securities trading, and will utilize AI and NLP techniques to anticipate and deliver the most useful reports and investment ideas for clients.

Outside the box investment ideas typically emanate from research and analysis that’s beyond the scope of explicit topic preferences, and we’re keen to help clients make this kind of less intuitive connection,” said Paul Domjan. “By applying AI and NLP processes, we can second-guess the less obvious links – that an aspect of a report on, let’s say, the cement industry might be useful to an investor focused on electricity companies under pressure from tariffs. These new technologies will enable Exotix clients to receive the analysis they need when and where they need it to best support their investment decision making.

Watt was responsible for the delivery of macroeconomic and financial market research and data products at Continuum Economics, formerly Roubini Global Economics, where he managed a multidisciplinary team comprised of designers, developers and marketers. He employs numerous technical skills to answer questions ranging from website user behaviour to asset risk and performance, and brings a strong understanding of clients from his previous experience as an analyst and consultant.

Exotix created Research, Analytics & Data (RAD) as a standalone unit last year to help European clients prepare for the unbundling of research from broader investment bank offerings under MiFID rules. RAD’s analysts cover more than 170 companies along with governments and agencies in 58 countries, generating investment ideas across asset classes. Dan Ward, who previously ran the global editorial team at Roubini Global Economics and shaped the company’s research agenda, joined earlier this year as Research Managing Editor for RAD, and Helen Penn, who managed events at Standard Bank, came in as Client Events Manager.

Exotix has responded to Europe’s MiFID II rules by building partnerships for its research and data products, and agreements with regional investment banks. The firm last month announced a partnership with Cairo-based Pharos Holding in which Exotix USA acts as “chaperone partner” for meetings and trading in the US on behalf of Pharos’ clients.

As we continue to build partnerships around the world, a key component of our technology development plan is to ensure that our systems communicate with multiple platforms to create a consistent user experience from a growing choice of devices, locations and services,” said Duncan Wales.

The Exotix research team was judged to be the best in Africa by both Africa Investor and Africa Global Funds, and No. 2 for all Frontier Markets by Institutional Investor last year. The firm was awarded the accolade of Best Investment Bank in Kenya as well as Iraq for 2018 by Global Finance magazine.

Ian Watt commented: “I’m thrilled to be joining Exotix, at exactly this moment, alongside a talented group of individuals who understand the opportunities that MiFID II presents. While the challenges to delivering truly relevant and timely research and investment ideas to clients are considerable, I'm excited by the technical prospects for Exotix and the transformative impact for the firm’s clients

Author: Yash Hirani

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