Memoirs of a Minyan: Whaddya Say Y2K?
The purpose of the journey is the journey itself.
As part of my charge, I was responsible for the implementation of risk management systems, commission allocation to our trading partners and staffing decisions on the desk.
The status quo that preceded my arrival would quickly change; I was ready to put my fingerprints on the operation.
The New Kid in Town
It all seemed very strange. We actively traded $400 million and calculated the profit or loss by hand each day. The actual number, along with trade errors, arrived from Goldman Sachs (GS) the following afternoon.
Our offices were on 40 Fulton Street adjacent to the Brooklyn Bridge. There were a dozen or so full-time employees, including three clerks directly under my charge. They made multiple-six figure salaries for executing orders on behalf of Jim and Jeff, which seemed awfully extravagant given my experience on the Street.
Within a few months, I ushered through several changes. The clerks were replaced with young guns that had skill-sets accretive to the trading process. Their base salaries were low but there was no ceiling if we produced.
Eat what you kill.
We installed a state-of-the-art risk management system that allowed us to monitor our performance in real-time and “stress test” various market scenarios.
I met with the desk heads of our brokers and told them commission would be correlated to their idea generation and the liquidity they provided.
It was pure meritocracy, within our walls and with regard to our relationships. We were tough but fair and always operated within the letter of the law.
Word of our approach quickly spread and our firm hummed like a well-oiled machine.
We got the first call from brokers when analysts changed a rating on a stock. Head traders communicated the directional flow from their most respected accounts and I was always quick to offer my opinion in an attempt to establish good will.
Todd Harrison is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Minyanville. Prior to his current role, Mr. Harrison was President and head trader at a $400 million dollar New York-based hedge fund. Todd welcomes your comments and/or feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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