innovation - Interview with Ashwin Kumar

New products create room for development

Deutsche Börse Group has a complete value chain. Where do you see the best opportunities for new products?

In terms of the product development areas, we are looking to develop synergies between all the different aspects of our businesses and offer products which enhance our synergies. In addition, we are looking to commercialise some of these value chains, so we have and bring to the market complete or holistic solutions where we may have previously offered more individual, segmented solutions. Largely speaking we need to focus on our clients, to focus on what our clients’ needs are and what solutions we can provide to them. Our clients on both the sell-side and the buy-side accounts have several constraints being placed on them by regulation, by a revenue stream that is under pressure, and by costs that are escalating on a daily basis. We can provide a variety of different solutions that can address these constraints and bring efficiencies to the marketplace as a whole and in turn to our clients.

Ashwin Kumar

Global Head of Business and Product Development, Deutsche Börse Group

The former hedge fund manager and banker joined Deutsche Börse Group in September 2015 to take on the newly created role of Global Head of Business and Product Development.

Which systemic approach towards developing new products do you follow?

The client is at the centre of all our activities and that includes product development. Product development at its core is understanding client needs, developing solutions and deploying them in a timely manner. That is the way we go about thinking of product development and it is an institution-wide effort. It is an iterative effort of interacting with clients, understanding what their needs are, coming up with products, interacting with clients again and seeing if these meet their needs, what tweaks are required and over a short period of time coming up with the right solution for our clients.

External forces like T2S or MIFID II are affecting our business; how much range for our own product design exists?

In fact there is more range for our own market or product design, as certain aspects of what we deliver to our clients get standardised because of some of the regulations you mentioned. The need for value-added services that we can provide to our clients to distinguish our offering from others increases. And as such, our ability to tailor ourselves to better suit client needs and to better enhance value exists.

Could you tell us about the areas you are engaged in? Which benefits do you expect for our clients?

We have several initiatives we are currently working on from a Group product development point of view. One of the initiatives that we have been focused on is the whole blockchain space. We are looking at how we can apply blockchain not only for internal efficiencies but also for external marketplaces to bring efficiency, reduce costs and make things easier for our clients. Another area that we have been focused on is the outsourcing space. We are thinking about how we can insource more of our clients’ back-office activities and needs, in order to relieve some of the cost pressures for them. We have also focused on a variety of different value chains we have within our ecosystem, whether they are ETFs or fixed income or securities lending. We are thinking about how we can better serve our clients and provide products that meet their needs in order to bring efficiency as well as lower their costs.