Since launching his matching platform WeMatch in early 2017, its chief executive and founder David Raccat said the firm is poised to embark on a period of rapid growth, with a particular focus on Asia.
London-based Raccat said WeMatch only opened to Asian customers in November last year and already there is a decent volume of lending in Japanese and Hong Kong names.
He is keen to avoid generalisations about a region as diverse as Asia, adding: “Asia is of course very different to the US or Europe. The region is fragmented and the different markets tend to be at different stages or levels of complexity.”
Yet Raccat believes WeMatch’s service, specifically that it enables clients to transact swaps, repo and loans in parallel, makes it a compelling prospect in Asia’s main lending centres.
Raccat said: “WeMatch is unique also in that we show all the products in a single ecosystem, we are the only platform doing this.”
He added: “The idea that we show swaps alongside repo and securities loans is something that Asian clients are very interested in because most have the ability to switch from one product to another. Asian also tends to be less siloed in terms of how the banks are structured.”
Bank inertia has historically been one of the biggest barriers to the success of lending platforms like WeMatch but Raccat feels the industry is at a tipping point.
He said: “Personally, I would have been sceptical in launching this service five years ago but I think the window of opportunity is open now. If you look at the idea of making the market more transparent and more liquid, it’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when, and I think that “when” is now.”
Raccat said the largest lending banks are among his customers – he said some 32 firms are using his platform and of these “about 70%” were banks and the rest are institutional investors. The platform is handling about 2,500 requests a day and receiving about $40bn of interests daily, he added.
He said: “For the banks, the platform looks at being fully adapted to and integrated with their internal systems which helps them tackle operational risk which frees up their balance sheet.”
Raccat also plans to continue adding new products to the platform. “We have launched in November 2017 equity derivatives (exotic products) and plan to launch at the end of February 2018 a dedicated Delta One platform. It took us one year to build total return swaps, six months to deliver repo and securities lending, three months for equity derivatives and six weeks for Delta one.”
Ultimately, the aim is continuing increasing the levels of business being transacted on the ambitious platform. “We want to reach a target of 50 legal entities with about 350 users and I think that is achievable by the end of June,” concluded Raccat.