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From Russia with Love

How BCS Transformed from a Regional Player to an Emerging Markets Leader

Traders Magazine Online News, March 12, 2019

John D'Antona Jr.

An ocean away from New York and nearly 4,000 miles east of London, broker-dealer and investment bank BCS Financial Group is a 24-year veteran of the Russian financial services industry. Now the firm is making efforts to ramp up in the world’s biggest financial centers, and the early returns have been nothing short of remarkable.

“In 2016, BCS Global Markets launched BCS Americas to give stateside investors unparalleled access to the Russian markets, and importantly vice-versa,” said Gary Esayian, CEO of BCS Americas, a division of BCS Global Markets. “Given our strong results in Moscow and London, our senior management team felt very confident and became determined to take the step into the U.S. I think it is safe to say we are largely meeting our internal expectations. Although people are cautious, Russia remains a powerful draw for outside investors, especially from the Americas. Notwithstanding the geopolitical environment, our business has become truly global, and that is how we think, plan and execute. Everyone on our Americas team has a very strong background in the U.S. and international markets, whether that be Equities, Fixed Income, Syndicate or DCM/ECM. These attributes – expertise and versatility – are key to our rollout strategy.”

Gary Esayian

Last year, BCS Americas became a member of the New York Stock Exchange as a trading floor broker after hiring Jefferies’ former floor brokers, Steven Capo and Chris Morie. Esayian refers to this milestone as “a statement of commitment to the U.S. and recognition that NYSE is overlooked from a microstructure perspective, as well as a nice tie-in with our memberships on the Moscow Exchange, the LSE and Euronext.”  In addition, BCS Americas recently announced the launch of its new global equity trading platform, which allows investors access to robust suites of algorithmic trading tools with a comprehensive global market reach. This is BCS’ latest investment in helping its clients reach the U.S. equity markets on equal footing with the largest domestic players.

“We see clients trading the U.S. markets that many brokers would never see. It’s solid volume and we deliver it at competitive rates and, crucially, with quality execution by any measure,” Esayian added.

The numbers speak for themselves. BCS now handles a quarter of all equity volume in its home market, which has had knock-on effects. It has also become the premier source of liquidity in derivative instruments – BCS is a significant player in most Russian ADRs, led by Michael DeNardo, who joined from Convergex’s London emerging markets desk and runs the U.S. trading desk, and Christian Mitchell, formerly of Deustche Bank, who runs programs as well as BCS’ special area of expertise, pairs trading.

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