All posts by Elise Fleischaker, VP Marketing

VP Marketing

Another FIA Boca conference (#FIABoca) is in the books. Despite a snowstorm that hit the midwest and east coast, creating travel challenges for many, about 1,100 attendees from a record 25 countries eventually made it to the historic “pink resort” to gain insight from industry thought leaders, network with connections old and new, and soak in the Boca Raton scene and sun.

Boca 2017 was sentimental for all of us at Trading Technologies because it marked the two-year anniversary of the TT® platform’s launch. Our CEO Rick Lane shared how watching the TT platform grow over the past two years was in many ways like raising his twin two-year-old toddlers: “In many ways, the milestones they’ve achieved in their second year of life mirror the same of the technology platform in which TT has invested so much.” Read his full story in “TT at Two.”
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“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
-Xunzi

When we spend time on college campuses through the TT CampusConnect® program, the questions we field from educators typically revolve around the best way to equip students with the skills needed to ensure a smooth transition from the classroom to career. While our experience in this regard is limited to the world of futures and options, the same is true for any discipline: to set students up for success after graduation, create a learning environment that mirrors the workplace as closely as possible.

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Alex Preda King's College London 

The following is a guest post authored by Alex Preda. He is professor of accounting, accountability and financial management at King’s College London, a TT CampusConnect™ partner school since 2013. His principal research activities relate to global financial markets, and his research interests include: strategic behavior in financial markets; decision-making and cognitive processes in electronic anonymous markets; market automation and trading technologies. His publications include, among others, Framing Finance: The Boundaries of Markets and Modern Capitalism (University of Chicago Press, 2009), Information, Knowledge, and Economic Life: An Introduction to the Sociology of Markets (Oxford University Press, 2009) and Noise. Living and Trading in Electronic Finance (University of Chicago Press 2016, forthcoming).

What makes a good trader? It’s an important question and one that preoccupies those in capital markets. I have the opportunity to interview a number of traders to see if I can determine what makes them tick and what kind of characteristics are essential for success. Here are some of the insights I gleaned.

I discovered that it is more than a trading strategy, available capital or a particular trading philosophy. For these to be effective, they need a firm foundation. I don’t know if I can say someone is born a trader, but I can say there are certain attributes to a trader’s personality that are significant for successful trading and constitute a good trader. If these questions seem more psychological than financial, it’s because they are. Needless to say, these questions preoccupy traders, both institutional and retail, as they try to improve their performance. In similar fashion, interview questions probe candidates to determine if they have what it takes to ensure the success of a trading desk.

Even when the markets were pit traded and physical prowess mattered, height, energy and a loud voice could take a trader just so far. These were trading tools available to some, but they were wasted if the individual lacked the essentials. Today’s tools are electronic and automated, but in the same spirit they are only as good as the individual using them. Even though traders today monitor computers and trading strategies are automated, firms still look for certain qualities that define a trader.

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For college students decades ago, a standard exercise was to pick a number of securities, carefully roster them in a notebook and register the closing price each day throughout the semester. Information was gleaned from The Wall Street Journal, and when the dust settled, some students made money and some lost. It’s unclear if students learned much given that they read about how their portfolios performed instead of actually experiencing the market and engaging with it.

How times have changed. For the better.

Now students can experience market dynamics, not just read about them. University professors understand that students need to move beyond the classroom and actually experience what they have been studying.

carnegie mellon university

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is one example of a school that’s providing students with that real-world experience by leveraging our software through the TT CampusConnect™ program.

CMU offers both BS and master’s degrees in computational finance, a discipline that first emerged in the 1980s. Sometimes called financial engineering or quantitative finance, computational finance uses mathematics, statistics and computing to solve finance problems.

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If it seems you can’t go a day without reading something about the world of financial technology a/k/a fintech, you’re probably right. Fintech is on fire. Reports say global investment in financial technology has ballooned from $2.8 billion in 2012 to more than $22 billion in 2015. And the pace of investment is not slowing down: $5.3 billion flowed into fintech in the first quarter of this year, up 67% over the same period in 2015.

Fintech is certainly hot in Trading Technologies’ hometown of Chicago. According to World Business Chicago, our local fintech economy represents $25.9 billion in gross regional product and 123,156 employees from 8,412 companies.

Barchart recently brought together representatives from many of these companies to explore the latest technologies for financial exchanges and trading at the second annual FinTech Exchange.

I don’t think anyone was surprised that the event sold out. As Barchart’s Mark Haraburda explained in his opening remarks, Chicago isn’t just another fintech hub. What differentiates Chicago’s fintech ecosystem from other cities where fintech is strong, he explained, is the enduring leadership we have in the capital markets space. Mark said this became abundantly clear to Barchart’s team as they prepped for FinTech Exchange 2016 by attending events in other cities.

FinTech Exchange put a spotlight on some of these companies by giving more than 20 firms the opportunity to talk about their latest innovations and how they’re being used in the financial markets. Topics spanned from alternative data, artificial intelligence and deep learning to binary options, bitcoin and more. I walked away with a deep sense of appreciation for how our industry contributes to Chicago’s reputation as a leading fintech hub.

Here are some of my key takeaways.

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