R.J. O’Brien acquires Lombard Forte Securities and expands in Dubai

Chicago-based futures brokerage and clearing firm R.J. O’Brien & Associates (RJO) announced its affiliate RJO MENA acquired Dubai-based interdealer broker (IDB) Lombard Forte Securities Limited (LFS).

The acquisition is part of a product and geographic strategic expansion of RJO which establishes the company’s presence in Dubai. CEO and co-founder of LFS, Kunal Savjani, assumed the role of Senior Executive Officer of RJO MENA, Managing Director, Global Head of Equities and Credit Sales for R.J. O’Brien.

Savjani founded Lombard Securities in 2012 and after that partner with Fadi Kassis of Forte Securities Limited to co-found LFS in 2015. LFS offers range of execution and brokerage services to hedge funds, asset managers and investment banks regionally and globally. LFS has built a strong footprint in emerging markets. LFS and RJO MENA’s primary regulator is the Dubai Financial Services Authority.

All 14 LFS brokers have become part of RJO. Most of them operate out of Dubai and several are working as part of the RJO Limited UK. Kassis who was LFS Chief Financial Officer will continue to lead Forte Securities Limited, which will provide clearing services for a period of time to ensure a smooth transition for the client business that has moved over to R.J. O’Brien.

RJO Chairman and CEO Gerald Corcoran said:

This acquisition of Lombard Forte aligns perfectly with our strategic goals of expanding our product offering into credit and equities markets, further building on our over-the-counter presence, and broadening our geographic reach into some of the most exciting emerging markets in the world today.

R.J. O’Brien acquires Lombard Forte Securities and expands in Dubai

RJO Chief Sales Officer Dan Staniford said:

Daniel Staniford, R.J. O’Brien

Dan Staniford
Source: LinkedIn

Kunal and his seasoned team of brokers are a fantastic addition to RJO. We’re thrilled to have them on board and to welcome their long-standing clients to the R.J. O’Brien family. LFS created a unique offering based on extensive experience in the field at some of the world’s largest IDBs and a culture that respects and rewards its brokers for always putting the client first. This acquisition gives us strong leadership in Dubai while positioning RJO to immediately establish a solid footprint in key new product areas and geographies.

Savjani said:

The culture Fadi and I created at LFS has always been a vital part of our success, and it wasn’t until I met Dan and learned more about RJO that the idea of an acquisition became very intriguing. Our team is truly excited about joining forces with this organization that is of such a like mind, particularly with its emphasis on superb quality and lasting client relationships. From our initial focus on the institutional equities market when we created LFS in the DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre), the scope of the firm has steadily broadened to serving clients across a variety of markets.

RJO’s strong balance sheet, global presence and preeminent technology – which were key factors in our decision to become part of the firm – create a tremendous opportunity to bring new capabilities and levels of service to our loyal clients. At the same time, our experienced brokers, significant trading activity and sophisticated clients will quickly propel RJO into a position as a major market player in the IDB space. It’s a testament to all parties involved that we have been able to finalize this transaction during such challenging times globally and a remote work environment.

Before Lombard, Savjani served as an emerging market equity derivatives broker at Tullett Prebon and BGC Partners from 2007 to 2012. Savjani is also an entrepreneur, early-stage investor and venture capitalist – launching firms in Malawi, East Africa, London and the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region and serves as an active investor in early-stage projects between Europe and the Middle East.

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