Glimpse into Saxo Bank’s 20-year history of excellence
First milestone: Establishment
Some of the world’s leading companies began their journey to stardom in a garage (Apple), a student dormitory (Facebook) and even in a church crypt (Virgin). Saxo Bank, a company that was destined to become one of the world’s leading online investment banks, started its humble existence in a modest 130m2 flat at Ny Østergade that was converted to an office. The company was established as a brokerage firm named ‘Midas Fondsmæglerselskab’ in 1992. The name was later changed to Saxo Bank when the company succeeded in securing the required banking license. The lack of available resources at hand prompted its two founders, Kim and Lars, to purchase all the necessary office equipment from a garage sale! The equipment included basic desks, chairs, telephones and only TWO computers: one for Kim and another for the back office.
Kim was a privileged user of the computer, since trading on behalf of clients was his main responsibility. At that time, “Reuter System” was installed on his computer, and was the most comprehensive database of information about the markets. Besides the company’s two founders, six employees joined the sales force and two others handled the back office. The sales team worked with simple A4 size charts that they used to assist clients and write recommendations.
No internet for leads. Only Yellow Pages!
Google and other major browsers did not exist at that time. The only available source for the sales team to get leads was the ‘Yellow Pages’. Only 2 out of 10 office telephones had display screens and salespersons were always vying to get them! Each salesperson was equipped with a catalogue of ‘Yellow Pages’ to identify prospective clients in an alphabetical order. As an example, one salesperson was in charge of contacting clients from A to D, the second one from E to H, and so forth. Only 6 salespersons made between 200 to 300 calls per day and managed to attract from around 5 to 20 new clients per month (all of them were Danes).
As to products offering, “Midas Fondsmæglerselskab”, later Saxo bank, offered only penny shares and bought options. The average trade volume of individual customers varied from 10,000 DKK to 200,000 DKK.
Kim cooking delicious pasta salad!
With a workforce of fewer than 10 employees, food shopping and cooking were divided among all, which was an excellent way to boost team spirit. Kim and Lars were not relieved from those duties and former employees still recall a tasty pasta salad cooked by Kim!