AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Just seven months after launching Checkpoint Capital, the industry is taking notice. Aiming to level the fixed income playing field for community banks and credit unions that have long been at a disadvantage, Checkpoint is establishing themselves as an industry leader in transparent pricing for these institutional buyers.
It’s not just the customers that are validating Checkpoint’s welcomed approach. Checkpoint has earned the trust of some industry heavyweights on the service side and just last week welcomed 33-year industry veteran William K. Weber to the team. Weber spent ten years as Co-Head of the Financial Strategies Group for KBW and was previously a Senior Resolutions Specialist at the FDIC – Division of Resolutions. He will serve as CEO (Chief Executive Officer) for Checkpoint Capital, LLC.
“When Billy called me, I was on a plane to see him the next day,” said Founder and President, Jon Virostek. “Not only is Bill one of the sharpest guys in the business, he is also committed to the customer. His following and contacts in the banking community is humbling and you don’t see that kind of loyalty with your traditional bond salesman. Bill takes the customer experience to another level.”
Decades after technology and industry standards made stock market pricing and commission information readily available, the bond market remains opaque for community banks and credit unions. While classified as institutional investors, these institutions have been stranded between their larger regional competitors and retail investors buying bonds for retirement. The larger regionals have dedicated staff and technology to manage price risk on transactions and retail buyers now see their commissions on the brokers’ trade confirmations.
Unable to afford the specialized staff and expensive technology that larger institutions use to gain valuable information, these institutions rely solely on broker- dealers to buy bonds.
“When retail investors gained transparency from FINRA last year, I knew it was time to get ahead of this movement. It’s not just opportunity, but it’s the right thing to do. Larger banks are getting better pricing, because they can afford the technology of Bloomberg and other sophisticated analytical tools,” said Checkpoint Founder Jon Virostek. “Community bankers can’t afford these tools, so they typically rely on random offerings from bond salesman who offer no guidance on cost. We’re not talking about $20,000 to $50,000 transactions. These are $1mm to $10mm trades and most of the buyers don’t even have a Bloomberg terminal. The community bankers know that the undisclosed fees can be substantial, but until now there’s been little they could do about it.”
Checkpoint also helps banks identify fixed-income investments that best fit their unique asset allocation and risk management needs.
Checkpoint recently formed strategic alliances with Empyrean Solutions and Corfinancial. Empyrean offers a suite of solutions for Asset Liability Management (ALM), Liquidity Stress Testing, Deposit Analytics, Credit Stress Testing, and Funds Transfer Pricing to institutions of all sizes on an on-premise, cloud or outsource service basis. Corfinancial provides paragon, an integrated trade capture, accounting, collateral management, and portfolio reporting cloud-based solution designed specifically to help banks and credit unions manage the complexities of their fixed-income portfolios.
“Jon is breaking the mold in an archaic industry. To this day you still see firms ringing bells for big sales, live commission leaderboards, cutting neckties… I think the customer is demanding a different experience. These chances don’t come along often, and I am thrilled to be a part of this story,” said Bill Weber. “We’re in a position to empower the customer by offering them the expertise and technology that few have access to today,” Weber said. “The resources we provide will help these institutions lower costs, manage risk, increase efficiency and put them on the same level playing field with the largest buyers in the industry. It also takes the pressure off bank leaders, so that they can focus on their customers.”
Checkpoint makes money on the difference between the price for which it buys and sells the bonds. The spread is disclosed up front so there are no hidden fees, and banks pay per transaction so there are no long-term commitments or contracts.
Virostek began his career in 1994 at the Baker Group and went on to serve as a managing director at Stifel Financial Corp., Cantor Fitzgerald and Brean Capital before launching Checkpoint.
He said he’s long recognized that community banks needed this type of service, and now is the right time to launch.
“Transparency has never been more important, and recent market conditions have made every percentage or basis point matter more to every institution and investor,” Virostek said. “Whenever you start something like this, you are taking an incredible risk. I can say that my conversations and relationships with my customers has only gotten stronger since we started. We have recognized the ‘Elephant’ now we can move forward in a disciplined approach to managing the portfolio. Work is fun again and you get a sense of giving back to an industry that has been great to me and my family.”
About Checkpoint Capital
Austin-based Checkpoint Capital offers community banks and credit unions affordable access to the latest financial technology and analytical tools in order to better understand their unique fixed-income investment needs and gain greater price transparency in the bond market. Our resources level the playing field with large institutions and empower community banks to lower costs, increase efficiencies and better manage risk.
Investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (CFS), a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA www.finra.org / SIPC www.sipc.org) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor.
To learn more, visit our website www.checkpoint-capital.com.
With headquarters in London and offices in Boston and New York, corfinancial provides software solutions and advisory services to banking and financial services organisations worldwide.
There are four key problem areas corfinancial looks to solve through its primary software and service offerings:
- salerio is a post-trade processing solution that enables asset managers, hedge funds, and third-party outsourced administrators to automate the flow of securities and treasury trades from matching through to settlement;
- BITArisk is a fully integrated, end-to-end private client suitability and risk solution that enables private banks and wealth managers to mirror fully the investment process and risk management profiles of their client portfolios;
- paragon is a comprehensive front-to-back office fixed income portfolio accounting and processing solution for banks; and
- costars is a fully integrated investment administration platform for third party administrators, fund supermarkets and wealth management providers.
To learn more visit www.corfinancialgroup.com.
About Empyrean Solutions
Empyrean Solutions is a leading provider of balance sheet & risk management solutions offered to financial institutions of all sizes and complexities. Unique to the industry, Empyrean supports customer deployment as best suited to each institution; on-premise, on the cloud, or as an outsourced service. Fueled by unparalleled levels of customer satisfaction, unrivaled processing speed, intuitive technology and inexpensive, risk free implementation services, Empyrean has grown rapidly. Ask around and see for yourself.
Please visit us at www.empyrean-solutions.com to find out more.