Exceptional Magazine : 2011 Exceptional Magazine
SMARTS Group / Technology and emerging industries category winner 19 "I was driven by the need to show that the ideas that come from university have real world impact." Professor Mike Aitken, SMARTS Group One to watch The Entrepreneur Of The Ye a r National judging panel commented that Aitken is one of those rare people who is able to bridge academia with business and encapsulate the best of both. SMARTS' product is continually evolving and its international potential and scalability is truly impressive. Professor Mike Aitken proved his academic theories in the business world, founding a $28 million global leader that provides market surveillance to 40 stock exchanges and regulators, and over 50 national and multinational broking frms. Meet the 2010 Entrepreneur Of The Ye a r Technology and emerging industries category winner. When Aitken was told his academic ideas of a real-time market surveillance system could not be applied in the real world, he was determined to prove his detractors wrong. His answer was to recruit two computer science research students and create the frst automated market surveillance system, giving birth to the SMARTS Group (SMARTS): a global leader in market surveillance with offces in Sydney, London, New York and Toronto, and an ambitious growth agenda. SMARTS’ frst commercial product was the SMARTS Integrity Platform, a market surveillance solution for exchanges and regulators, which takes a real-time data feed directly from the trading engine of an exchange and processes it in real time, automatically detecting prohibited trading behaviours and alerting the host. Aitken differentiated his company by keeping it connected to the university system, providing SMARTS with instant access to a pipeline of highly skilled and talented fnancial technology professionals. He also ensured that SMARTS provided a premium service by offering clients highly trained, on-site specialists. In 2004, SMARTS established Capital Markets Surveillance Services (CMSS) as a joint venture with the Capital Markets Cooperative Research Centre, to provide real-time compliance systems to broking frms. Last year, CMSS merged with SMARTS and all its products and services took on the highly regarded SMARTS brand, with the broking product relaunched as SMARTS.broker. Today, SMARTS is the most proven and widely adopted surveillance solution on the market. The SMARTS Integrity Platform has been adopted by over 40 national exchanges and regulators including the Australian, Swiss, London, Hong Kong and Thailand stock exchanges. SMARTS.broker is used by over 50 national and multinational broking frms. Aitken turned his theoretical ideas into a $28 million company with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 22%. It is this track record and the future growth prospects of the business that led stock trading technology outft and exchange operator Nasdaq OMX to purchase SMARTS in July 2010. "We've got two or three other ideas which we now have money to invest in," says Aitken.
2012 Exceptional Magazine