What are prime brokerage clients looking for today?

Anthony DeMonte, managing director, head of equity finance, Cantor Fitzgerald, explains how the firm is helping clients respond to market challenges.
By Anthony DeMonte

Could you tell us a bit about the business and your key successes over the past 12 months?

The past year has been an interesting one, with several Fed Rate hikes, added volatility, and some deleveraging in Global Equities. One of the benefits of having a diversified portfolio of businesses across Equity Financing, Fixed Income Financing, Clearing and Delta One is the ability to drive revenue in different economic cycles. 

On the Equity Financing side, the lack of issuance in SPACs resulted in a downdraft in balances and leverage into the first quarter of 2023 but the SPAC business provided relationships with a variety of institutions that do other things. We were able to pivot and offer different products and solutions to these clients.

In addition, we continued to deliver the broader organization to our clients.  Cantor Fitzgerald has continued to invest in the investment bank which in turn helps the prime brokerage business.  There’s a theme here that we want to deliver the entire firm to our clients.

We have found success by focusing on our client’s needs as well as giving access to our entire innovative global financial services firm, which includes Global Equities, Fixed Income, Investment Banking, Research, Real Estate and Prime Services. 

What sets you apart from competitors in the space; what’s unique about the Cantor proposition?

The Cantor Prime platform is unique because we’re an independent broker dealer; as a non-bank, we support our clients a little bit differently. Some of the large bulge bracket prime brokers tend to be very sensitive with their balance sheet, return on assets, where we’re much more interested in the client and the ability to help them to find what makes the most sense to them.

What also makes us unique is our ability to be nimble. The Cantor team is innovative and can adapt quickly to changes in products and services required by accounts.

We operate out of an entity that is dedicated to servicing our Financing clients, a US Registered Broker Dealer, with only client positions, no propriety holdings.

The firm made a significant investment in people and technology in its Equity offering to complement its existing strength in Fixed Income Financing and Clearing. The result of this investment is a client focused offering, combining a seasoned and experienced team with a platform that is multi-asset class, nimble and responsive to the client.  The Prime Brokerage business is focused on growth with access to leverage, Securities Lending, and bespoke value-add transactions (Fully Paid Lending).  

The broader firm has continued to make investments to deepen its offering, most notably in Research and Investment Banking with major additions in Biopharma and Technology. 

How have you seen clients requests or needs shift in what has been a turbulent period for the market?

What’s most important to Cantor Fitzgerald during turbulent markets is to listen to our clients and ask questions. Whether that’s access internationally, deploying leverage, cash re-investment or Securities Lending, we work with our clients and treat them as partners. Each client is different. We’ve really spent time understanding our clients and we continue to deliver the entire firm to our clients so that not only are we focused on our client’s execution and financing, but also helping them to grow their business.

Looking ahead, what would you say are Cantor’s key priorities for the next three years and beyond?

Our key priorities are to grow our market share organically as well as through new client acquisition.  We want to continue to take market share and we want to penetrate all segments of the prime brokerage landscape.  Ultimately, it’s about the client, adding value and finding the right solutions for a competitive marketplace.

With a continued focus on our clients’ needs, our job as a Prime Broker is to deliver our innovative platform and help our clients manage and grow their business.