'We're in a situation now where we've got so many new technologies all at the same time' says Hirander Misra, Chairman & CEO of GMEX Group

Harinder Misra Interview

Hirander Misra, Chairman & CEO of GMEX Group shares his thought on the rise in digital assets including cryptocurrencies and blockchain. He talks about GMEX MultiHub (GMEX), a new business unit of the GMEX Group which has launched Digital MultiHub (MultiHub), a global cloud-enabled trading and post-trade digital market infrastructure platform which facilitates third-party trading and post-trade services across traditional and digital asset markets.

Over the last five years digital assets have become a democratization tool.

MEDIA 7: Could you please tell us a bit about yourself? How were you able to manage 9+ years of GMEX Group as its CEO?
HIRANDER MISRA:
This year, GMEX will be ten years old at the end of May. So, you know, time flies, as I say, when you're having fun. Within the financial markets industry on the brokerage side and then primarily on exchange side, I've had 26 years of experience & last ten years of that have been with GMEX Group. It's very interesting because it has harnessed my background in setting up and building exchanges and the electronic trading and post trade platforms across asset classes that are enabling exchanges across the world with some exciting projects that span from India to the US, to Vietnam and many other places. So, it's been a privilege to be involved in a global B2B enterprise, because one, it allows us to work with a multitude of players that are very diverse across the world. More recently, over the last five years digital assets have become a democratization tool. So, I've become interested in B2B and B2C tools. So, there's a lot of work we're doing in that area. So, when you co-found a business at the outset, you always think that there will be a five-year time horizon, but ten years on, we're still having fun, and we can see many, many more years.


M7: How has GMEX Group changed the fintech experience for its clients in recent days?
HM: This has been an exciting thing. Whoever you spoke to across the world, the pandemic has brought people closer together, even though we've been further apart. There's been a multitude of online video calls, etc. But in many ways, for FinTech, it's been terrific, notwithstanding the very unfortunate human tragedies. For those that could say, okay, we're in a pandemic initially, everyone's panicking, even if you go back to March - April 2020, but we as an organization and others saw this as a real opportunity to say, okay, you know, the world is changing. How do we evolve with it in terms of what we do and our services? So initially, for a few months, there was taking stock, but then also as the world recalibrated, a lot of thought leadership and discussions took place with other FinTech leaders about how we could work in terms of what we were doing much more collaboratively. So, there's competition, but there can be a positive collaboration because fintech is very broad, you can't do everything, and you have areas of expertise. For example, ours is digital market infrastructure enabling all kinds of financial markets players, but you then have payments, structured finance, and many other elements. So, we spent a lot of time fostering those partnerships with the likes of Amazon Web Services and IBM as well as other more established as well as newer companies, and that's been good because we're beginning to see this sort of fragmented landscape where there are multiple blockchains, and there's various traditional infrastructure come together a lot more cohesively. So, the pandemic presented a real opportunity with our backs against the wall. But, you know, things positively present themselves as well.

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The pandemic presented a real opportunity with our backs against the wall. But, you know, things positively present themselves as well.

M7: With the integration of technology for businesses of exchange & trading venues, what more requirements are pending for providing services to clients?
HM: Traditional finance is well established and across many asset classes, securities, commodities, FX, derivatives, and now digital assets. But, there's a multitude of exchanges, there's a multitude of brokers and banks and other participants. So, for the asset managers now - it's interesting because these traditional players, especially on the institutional side, now increasingly want to get into digital assets. But they want to do that cohesively and work well with their traditional businesses. So, you can't throw away lots of existing technology. So, the challenge is always how do you evolve & how do you get into new ways of doing things in new asset classes. So, we're seeing this as a real opportunity in our industry and the ability to bring some of those players on the institutional side steadily into new digital asset classes and new business models & ultimately, it's got to boil down to revenue opportunities for them as well, because it's got to be good for us as a service provider but also good for them in terms of what it can do for them.


M7: Congratulations on receiving the prestigious Hind Rattan Award. It's one of the highest awards granted annually to non-resident persons of Indian origin to recognize their outstanding services, achievements, and contributions in their respective fields. What do you have to say about that?
HM: It's very privileged in terms of receiving the award indeed. My grandfather came to the UK one year after the partition in 1948 from Punjab, and then obviously, we established ourselves here. My parents met here, but we've maintained strong bonds with India. We have a place in Chandigarh, and there have been regular visits & I've also been privileged during the heart of the pandemic Indian Energy Exchange launched Indian Gas Exchange enabled by GMEX Group’s technology. I am honored to be involved in that. So, both personally and on a work level, I maintain solid links with India. So, to be recognized is a great privilege, I see lots of opportunities in terms of that India relationship back into the UK, where I'm biased, and globally as well. At the moment, Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, is visiting India & there's lots of trade talk. Still, those bilateral relations are strong & it's good to solidify those with this personal award.

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Digital assets and decentralized finance (DeFi) will increasingly converge with traditional finance (TradFi).

M7: Given the changes in today's rapidly evolving businesses, what are the critical circumstantial changes in your industry? What systematic approach are you using to monitor these economic changes? 
HM: Yes, it's a fantastic time in the capital markets industry because obviously, technology must be used, not for technology's sake, but as a business enabler. We're in a situation now where we've got so many new technologies all at the same time. These include blockchain, artificial intelligence, in terms of the internet of things, the movement to web 3.0 for businesses; the challenges are how do we harness some or all of these and create corporate opportunities for financial technology firms like us. We're seeing a good chance that digital assets and decentralized finance (DeFi) will increasingly converge with traditional finance (TradFi). So, with DeFi and TradFi coming closer together, we're going to see what I call and what I deemed to be a concept called hybrid finance or HyFi. Indeed, I have written articles on this because both, as a silo, can't necessarily operate. The two have to converge and come together. This also means digital asset infrastructure has to incorporate existing infrastructure on the traditional side and networks like SWIFT and other technologies, to integrate the banks and asset managers and exchanges, but that's got to come together with multiple blockchain networks as well. So we're going to see a lot of action in that middleware layer to bring together these fragmented elements and join them into a cohesive whole.

ABOUT GMEX GROUP

GMEX is a global market infrastructure vendor providing multi-asset trading, exchange matching engine and post-trade business solutions, and Ecosystem-as-a-Service (EsaaS) technology. These include, the GMEX MultiHub, which is a cloud based trading and post trade digital market infrastructure platform that as a ‘multi-asset network of networks’ facilitates a first of its kind collaboration across major institutions, regulatory regimes and start-ups with the goal of bringing digital assets to a wider audience.

For more information visit www.gmex-group.com or Twitter @GMEX_Group

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GIP’s founders and teams remain highly committed to clients, and we expect the integration with BlackRock’s broader platform will generate even greater opportunities. Subject to completion of customary onboarding procedures, BlackRock has also agreed to appoint Bayo Ogunlesi, GIP Founding Partner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, to the Board at the next regularly scheduled board meeting following the closing of the transaction. “Infrastructure is one of the most exciting long-term investment opportunities, as a number of structural shifts re-shape the global economy. We believe the expansion of both physical and digital infrastructure will continue to accelerate, as governments prioritize self-sufficiency and security through increased domestic industrial capacity, energy independence, and onshoring or near-shoring of critical sectors. Policymakers are only just beginning to implement once-in-a-generation financial incentives for new infrastructure technologies and projects,” said Laurence D. Fink, BlackRock Chairman and CEO. “I’m delighted for the opportunity to welcome Bayo and the GIP team to BlackRock, and happy to announce our plans to have Bayo join our Board of Directors post-closing. We founded BlackRock 35 years ago based on a unique understanding of investment risk and the factors and forces driving investment returns. GIP’s deep understanding of the factors and forces driving operational efficiency for long-term value creation have made them a global leader in infrastructure investing. Bringing these two firms together will create the infrastructure platform to deliver best-in-class investment opportunities for clients globally, and we couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities ahead of us.” “I’m excited about the power of this combination and the prospect of working with Larry and his talented team. We share with BlackRock a culture of collaboration, client focus, investment partnership, and commitment to excellence. Investors have adopted private infrastructure investing for its ability to provide stable cashflows, less correlated returns, and a hedge against inflation. Global corporates have turned to private infrastructure as a fast innovator and a more commercially agile owner of infrastructure assets that aren't core to their commercial businesses. This platform is set to be the preeminent, one-stop infrastructure solutions provider for global corporates and the public sector, mobilizing long-term private capital through long-standing firm relationships,” said Bayo Ogunlesi, GIP Founding Partner, Chairman, and CEO. “We are convinced that together we can create the world’s premier infrastructure investment firm.” About BlackRock BlackRock’s purpose is to help more and more people experience financial well-being. As a fiduciary to investors and a leading provider of financial technology, we help millions of people build savings that serve them throughout their lives by making investing easier and more affordable.

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