Trading Matters Guest Speaker Panel Discussion
Best Practices for Managing
a Trading Desk Virtually
On June 3, Virtu U hosted its inaugural buy-side panel discussion on the implications of managing a trading desk in a working from home (WFH) environment. All execution and trade-related activities have had to rely on technology to bridge the physically distant gap. Learn how your peers are adapting to WFH with technology and communications.
- Pre-pandemic, panelists noted that WFH not fully embraced by management as a viable option
- Early testing and shutdown preparedness (weather, exogenous events) resulted in smooth transitions for firms
- Employees embraced WFH, senior management pleased with productivity levels
- Some panelist’s firms are looking to extend WFH, examining need for BCP sites, explore cost-saving benefits of closing of BCP sites in favor of WFH. One panelist firm already did so, pre-pandemic.
BCP vs. WFH
- Some panelist’s firms initially wanted a mix of in-office, WFH and BCP sites
- What they
found was that WFH functioned much better for trading desks than BCP sites
- Given virus distancing guidelines BCP would not be a feasible option
- BCP technology ergonomics found to be poor substitute in compared to WFH set-ups
Re-entry plan and wellness concerns
- Geographic office location, city density, transportation and elevator considerations are all factors in the return to office plans
- Where applicable, some firms are
implementing a return to office on a voluntary basis depending on family circumstance
and health safety concerns
- Other considerations firms are toying with: childcare, mass transportation, building/elevator/trading floor/common areas sanitization and physical distancing
- Some firms will use the summer period to test continued WFH scenario
- Many will use a delayed and/or staggered re-entry (team A, B) with a mix of in-office and WFH
- The pandemic led to the establishment of all-over communication protocols in terms or security, efficiency and frequency (type of communication medium matched to who the communication was with) throughout the panelists’ organizations. All panelists observed:
- Better attendance on calls and virtual meeting than in person
- Trading desk style of communication has proliferated throughout the organization with analysts, PM, implementation teams
- Increased PM/Trader interaction:Stay-in-place orders meant less out of office demands on PMs and analysts, leading to increased engagement and focus on trading decisions and highlighted to need to keep the communication and interaction fluid.
Applications and software
- Bloomberg IB for trading professionals, especially with sell-side
- Increased use of mobile devices as on-desk tools for virtual meetings
- Not everyone has a camera on their desktop, but they do on their phones
- For one panelist, Compliance did not allow Zoom on local setup but could be used on mobile devices
- WebEx mobile app
- Jabber app for phone calls and contact management
- Slack for development team
Technology for social, team-building engagement
- Weekly virtual happy hours are highly encouraged so that the human element of working away from the team not lost
Meet the panelists
Global Head of Execution Services,
Steve Cavoli joined Virtu in 2015 from Morgan Stanley where he had worked since 2004; he previously worked at Instinet. Mr. Cavoli graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point in 1992 and served nearly eight years as an infantry officer.
Economist/Global Execution and Analytics, Luminus Capital Management
Mike Tran passed with Distinction in Honors Business Administration, majoring in Economics and Finance, at The Richard Ivey School of Business in London, Ontario, Canada. Over the last 16 years, he has held senior leadership roles as an Economist in global execution at numerous equity long/short hedge funds including Tremblant Capital, Atwater Capital, Tekne Capital, and currently, Luminus Management where he specializes in implementing data driven analytics of global execution technology platforms, macroeconomics, risk management, algo model performance optimization, and transaction cost analysis.
Partner, Global Head of Trading, GMO
Mr. Mahoney is the Head of GMO’s trading team. Prior to assuming his current responsibilities, he was responsible for trading and process oversight for GMO’s Emerging Markets Equity team. Previously at GMO, he was a trader for the Emerging Markets Equity team and joined GMO as a member of the Data Management and Corporate Actions team. Prior to joining GMO in 2000, he was a senior trust specialist with Mellon Trust’s corporate actions group. Mr. Mahoney earned his B.S. in Business Administration from Merrimack College.
Managing Director, Head of Equity Trading, Voya Investment Management
Nanette Buziak is the Head of Equity Trading, responsible for all facets of equity trading and related operations, managing a team of four traders that transact equities, currencies and futures for their U.S. Equity Team. Nanette is also responsible for the Broker Vote process at Voya IM. Prior to joining Voya Investment Management in 2005, formerly ING Investment Management U.S., Nanette was a Senior Portfolio Manager at J.P. Morgan Asset Management for eight years, responsible for their structured equity portfolios. Her previous experience includes roles as trader and portfolio manager for First Marathon America, Inc.’s domestic convertible bond arbitrage portfolio and was a member of their program trading team. She started her career as a financial analyst at Bear Stearns & Company, Inc. Nanette received a BBA in Applied Actuarial Mathematics from Bryant University in 1993 and holds FINRA Series 3, 7, 55 and 63 licenses. She is a Board Member of NOIP, the National Organization of Investment Professionals, and is also a member of the ICI Equity Markets Advisory Committee, SIFMA’s Asset Management Group Equity Trading Committee, C.B.O.E Institutional Advisory Committee and Trader Forum. Nanette was also the 2011 inaugural year winner of the Trader Magazine Wall Street Women Industry Trailblazer Award and the 2017 Markets Media Trader of the Year Award Winner. Nanette also is an outside consultant for the CFA Institute on CFA and CIPM program readings related to trading. Nanette is also very active in mentoring both internally to Voya Investment Management as well as externally within the financial industry. Nanette is active with several charitable efforts, primarily with the Saint Luke Church Parish Outreach Committee and Als Angels, located both in Westport CT.
Managing Director, Global Head of Equity Trading, Lazard Asset Management LLC
Darrin Sokol is the Director of Lazard’s Equity Trading group. Prior to joining the Firm in February 2001, Darrin was a Partner and Senior Equities Trader at Omega Advisors, Inc. He began working in the investment field in 1991.