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May 1, 2011

IPC Looks to Extend Customer Base

By James Ramage

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  • IPC Looks to Extend Customer Base
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If you're IPC Systems, what do you do? You remain the market share leader in the turret business. But over the last 10 years, you've watched your U.S. customer base shrink, as there are fewer traders on desks these days requiring the company's phone product.

Jonathan Morton

For the Jersey City, N.J.-based IPC, the answer was to offer current customers a different product-one that could also be sold to an entirely new group of investment professionals.

IPC Systems recently unveiled technology for its new trading communications and applications console, which extends its reach within an organization. The new product, called Unigy, stretches turret functionality to a new audience of users-like analysts, portfolio managers and the back office.

In doing so, it broadens IPC's customer base along the trading process and beyond just connecting traders, said Jonathan Morton, vice president of product marketing at IPC.

"Unigy is a case where we're looking to expand our focus, not too much, but on the market we understand ... being able to address more users," Morton said.

Resembling a switchboard, the new turret covers the basics, such as managing hundreds of lines and supporting multiple simultaneous calls, as well as employing two handsets and often 24 speaker channels. But Unigy's technology also joins traders with those making investment decisions, such as the research analyst and portfolio manager. Traders can also connect to those handling more of the back-office responsibilities, such as in compliance and risk management.

"As more complex trades often involve multiple asset classes, these trades by definition require much more collaboration within the firm to create, to approve and then to get executed," Morton said. "We see a much higher need for collaboration between the trader and the investment support staff they work with."

The market for turrets worldwide is growing, according to Kimsey Consulting, a marketing research firm of trading technologies. It grew 7.5 percent worldwide from 2000 and 2010, from 215,600 desktops to 231,800. It is expected to increase worldwide almost 9 percent from 2010 to 2015, or to 252,300 desktops, Kimsey reported. And IPC has healthy market share in all regions.

In North America, though, the turret market has shrunk 1 percent from 2000 to 2010, or from 98,900 desktops to 97,800. But it's expected to rise 7 percent from 2010 to 2015, from 97,800 desktops to 104,600.

Dushyant Shahrawat