One-stop Financial Services Provider
Part of the pan-Asian KGI Group, KGI Asia is one of Hong Kong's largest equity brokers by market share and one of the ten largest futures brokers with aggregate shareholders' equity of over US$60 million. It is a one-stop financial services provider, delivering a full range of brokerage services to more than 40,000 retail and institutional clients.
The company's brokerage activities include equities, bonds, over-the-counter structured products and advisory services. KGI Asia also offers margin trading facilities as well as futures and options for more sophisticated clients. It employs over 400 financial professional, customer service personnel, research and technical staff operating from four branches in Hong Kong.
Processing securities, futures and option transactions is at the heart of KGI Asia's business but as market operations have become increasingly automated, basic commissions opportunities for increased revenue have become more challenging to find. Equity brokers like KGI have had to develop and provide rich sets of powerful applications to keep customers and attract new ones. To maintain its growth KGI has had to build on its transaction processing foundation – based on the Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise – to provide its external and internal clients with more sophisticated analytical information that enhances their trading and investment strategies.
A New Solution
Having established its core IT operations around Sybase ASE and experienced the benefits of working with Sybase Professional Services it was not a difficult decision for KGI Asia to choose Sybase IQ for its decision support platform.
KGI adopted a two-phased approach to the deployment of business analytics within its operations. During the first phase it engaged Sybase Professional Services to create a data warehouse, based on Sybase IQ running on Sun Solaris, to offload operational and statutory reporting from its core transactional system.
"The data warehouse supports daily management and statutory reporting requirements for all five of our business units: brokerage, proprietary trading, equity derivatives, fixed income and investment banking." said Dr. Y.K. Hui, Information Technology director, KGI Asia.
The firm is now developing a range of value-added applications based on the data warehouse to support its sales force, enhance its trading capabilities and enable the launch of a new wealth management service for high net-worth clients.
"When we surveyed the field, Sybase IQ stood out because of its excellent performance characteristics. Data compression is also a significant factor since we are planning to off-load past years' transaction records from the production system into the data warehouse in order to comply with the seven year data retention regulations," said Dr. Hui.
Enabling Future Growth
Having previously used its core transaction system to generate daily reports overnight – a process that used to take four hours – KGI's Sybase IQ data warehouse delivers new reports in half the time. Ad hoc query performance improvement is even more impressive – down from 15 minutes to 30 seconds.
"Sybase IQ's fast query response times have been a big factor in improving the perceived quality of service that IT provides to the business. We are now ready to take business support to the next level by using Sybase IQ as the foundation for a new generation of IT-enabled services for our internal and external customers," said Dr. Hui.
He notes that the latest version of Sybase IQ uses standard SQL syntax, enabling KGI Asia's developers to quickly become productive on the business intelligence platform because there is now no learning curve. This increased productivity is being put to good use as the firm develops new applications to support targeted sales promotions, analysis-based decisions for proprietary trading, and its new wealth management business unit.