Checkpoint Capital Unveils Transparency with Inaugural Investment Seminar

Noteworthy event highlighting transparent investing will take place in Austin, Texas on September 9 and 10

August 06, 2019 12:05 PM Eastern Daylight Time

AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Almost one year to the date of the official launch, Checkpoint Capital, an industry leader in transparent pricing for community banks and credit unions, is today announcing its inaugural Investment Seminar. The first annual event, which will take place on September 9 and 10 at the historic Austin Country Club, will feature high-level speakers with a focus on how transparent pricing is changing portfolio management for community banking.

“For a lot of these attendees, this will be their first look at price transparency. What started with stocks in 1975 is just now being introduced into fixed income in 2019. We are excited to be the leader in this long overdue trend.”

The Investment Seminar will be led by Checkpoint Capital’s Founder and President Jon Virostek and recently appointed chief executive officer William K. Weber. Guest speakers include legendary professional golfer Mr. Ben Crenshaw, fixed income and liquidity strategy specialist Ron New and world-renowned economist, Dr. Lacy Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management Company.

“This conference is a milestone for the community banking industry and other mid-sized fixed income investors,” said Mr. Virostek. “For a lot of these attendees, this will be their first look at price transparency. What started with stocks in 1975 is just now being introduced into fixed income in 2019. We are excited to be the leader in this long overdue trend.”

In addition to the guest speakers mentioned above, Checkpoint Capital’s strategic partners, Paragon, Empyrean Solutions and RiskSpan will be presenting their unique, cloud-based technological solutions for community bankers.

For more information and event registration, please Click Here.

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.

Contact: For media inquiries:

Kelly Ferraro, KAF Communications, LLC

kelly@kafcomms.com | (646) 275-7040

S&P Exclusive Checkpoint Capital Bets on Transparency

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New fixed-income firm Checkpoint bets on transparency with depository clients

Checkpoint Capital LLC aims to stand out in a crowded field of fixed-income trading desks by providing price transparency to community banks and credit unions.

Founded in late 2018, Checkpoint's services include fixed-income trading, bond portfolio accounting, asset liability management, strategic planning and board education. It offers investment products and services through broker/dealer CUSO Financial Services LP. The firm is targeting depositories with assets around $200 million and up to about $10 billion.

Founder Jon Virostek, whose experience includes stints as a managing director at Brean Capital LLC, Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. and Stifel Nicolaus & Co. Inc., said Checkpoint can appeal to any size depository, but those with at least $20 billion in assets tend to have more investment infrastructure and less of a need for Checkpoint's services.

While many established broker/dealers offer fixed-income trading and other services to depositories, Virostek said in an interview that Checkpoint is taking a different approach by revealing to customers just how much the company makes on a trade.

Jon Virostek, Checkpoint founder and president
Source: Checkpoint Capital LLC

Community banks and credit unions often have no idea how much of a markup they pay when making a trade, Virostek said, which puts them at a disadvantage to other clients of fixed-income trading desks. He noted that larger banks can afford resources such as staffing, a Bloomberg terminal and analytics that enable them to get more transparency into bond prices. Retail investors are protected under 2018 regulations requiring broker/dealers to disclose how much they make on trades.

Without the regulatory protections and resources to add technology, smaller depositories are one of the few remaining targets for broker/dealers looking to generate high margins on fixed-income trades, Virostek said.

"Community banks and credit unions are getting picked off," he said. "The margins are extremely wide."

Protecting profits is important for fixed-income desks because the electronification of trading has led to compressed margins in the business, and this has helped trigger staff reductions across the industry. Total full-time-equivalent fixed-income front office producer headcount has dropped 16.5% to 17,200 in the first quarter from 20,600 in the first quarter of 2014, according to research firm Coalition.

Given the cutbacks, building a fixed-income business in this environment may seem counterintuitive. However, Virostek said his firm does not have the same margin demands as established players because the Austin, Texas-based Checkpoint will look to operate with low overhead. "[We're] not going to be in class A office space in Manhattan," Virostek said.

He added that since Checkpoint is new, it can build its business to meet current market demands. "We don't have a lot of legacy technology or infrastructure that we're having to deal with or fire," Virostek said.

William Weber, who was recently named CEO and whose previous roles included working as co-head of financial strategies at Keefe Bruyette & Woods Inc., noted that the growth of de novo banks has ticked up, and those are potential client targets for Checkpoint. The company could also look to capitalize on merger fallout from such deals as Stifel Financial Corp.'s acquisition of First Empire Holding Corp., a fixed-income broker whose clients include credit unions.

"Some of the smaller community banks are probably not on the radar screen of some of these guys," Weber said in an interview.

While many are competing for fixed-income trading commissions, Virostek believes his company is in a field of its own. "We're disclosing commissions," he said. "There's nobody doing that."

Checkpoint Capital hires Bill Weber as CEO

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                     

Checkpoint Capital hires Bill Weber, provides fixed income solutions for Banks and Credit Unions

New business offers community banks price transparency, lower prices, and bond market expertise

AUSTIN, TEXAS (May 30, 2019) — 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 the 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 KBW’s capital markets group and was Senior examiner for The FDIC’s 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 80% of the market doesn’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.

 

About Corfinancial

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.

 

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