Americas Derivatives Awards 2023: Americas Optimisation Service of the Year — Capitalab
Distinguished by its cutting-edge proprietary technology and tailor-made solutions, Capitalab — a division of London-based BGC Brokers — has built an impressive reputation for helping firms manage their most complex derivative problems. For its exemplary work helping clients adapt to an ever-evolving market, Capitalab wins Americas Optimisation Service of the Year award.
Capitalab has pushed boundaries and broken new ground since launching its first product - the Swaptioniser - back in 2015. At a time when compression of complex products like options was seen as virtually impossible, Capitalab built its own risk and pricing framework to create a solution. “We created a very sophisticated risk engine that took on all the complexity of managing swaps and options portfolios,” says Gavin Jackson, Capitalab’s co-founder. “That was one of the key breakthroughs.”
From there, Capitalab built a world-class enterprise servicing global banks, key derivatives dealers, hedge fund managers and other counterparties. At every stage of its development, Capitalab has remained at the forefront of product development. Capitalab was the first to launch multilateral optimisation on interest rates derivatives in the wake of non-cleared margin rules – and years later the service remains highly impactful. “We still hear from clients to this day that we produce top results,” says Jackson.
Maintaining a strong position in a competitive market is due in no small part to Capitalab’s constant drive to innovate. On the optimisation front, Capitalab has added several new features to its solution in the last year, resulting in significant increases in margin and SA-CCR reduction for its clients.
Innovation and world-class technology are also key to making sure Capitalab remains at the leading edge of market developments amid a growing array of rules and regulations. Capitalab was the first to launch an interest rate derivatives optimisation tool for the incoming Standardised Approach for Counterparty Credit Risk (SA-CCR) rules, building it into its existing initial margin optimisation exercises. More recently, Capitalab has received a wave of interest from clients seeking help to manage the new Fundamental Review of the Trading Book (FRTB) rules due to come into effect in 2025.
Clients seeking out Capitalab in the face of new market needs reflects upon Capitalab’s ability to excel. Capitalab prides itself on a collaborative approach to working with clients to find the best solution possible. A prime US-centric example is the switch from LIBOR to SOFR, which created problems for options dealers managing legacy LIBOR swaptions. Capitalab’s dollar interest rate option clients asked Capitalab to design a method to replace the legacy swaptions with vanilla SOFR swaptions. Capitalab is now helping its clients to switch tens of thousands of swaptions over as part of a bespoke multilateral solution. “That’s something that was really well suited to our technology,” says Jackson. “We turned it around in a matter of months.”
These new ingenious solutions are helping expand a client base that already contains many global firms. The banks availing themselves of the LIBOR-SOFR switch are being introduced to the wider range of Capitalab products. “We’re very happy to welcome several new institutions to the network this year,” says Jackson.
It is not surprising that Capitalab’s loyal user base continues to expand. Not only is its proprietary technology tailor made for the complexity of the global derivatives industry, but its emphasis on working with clients to tackle problems and generate solutions quickly is unmatched. For all the primacy on tech, Jackson notes that Capitalab success also comes from the ability of its team to work together. “We’re a tight-knit, motivated group,” says Jackson. “It’s a specialised area of the market and so we all work closely together - it’s a very collaborative environment.”