We seek to profit from our understanding of markets. In return, it is important that what we do is intelligible to anyone wishing to understand us.
The way SVI operates shouldn’t be opaque or impenetrable. It is easy for financial institutions to come across as black box operations. One of the frustrations I faced early in my career was the lack of information available to better understand financial markets and firms.
In the past two decades however finance has come a long way, and increased transparency has had lot to do with this. The origins of our firm can be traced back to the early 2000s, and as a result we have the benefit of having lived through the continued push for greater transparency driven by Sarbanes-Oxley, MiFID, Dodd-Frank and similar regulations world-wide.
As our firm grows, we create many new jobs. We want our traders to understand that financial markets can be learned, and that years of training, rather than minutes of luck, can allow us to take advantage of their inefficiencies while providing much needed liquidity to markets in return.
Financial institutions should build trust through transparency. This is reflected in the efforts of regulators globally to require greater transparency, but I am not satisfied with doing just the minimum required. To that end, this blog will serve as an outlet for SVI’s thoughts and reflections on a dynamic industry.
In writing about the issues that matter to us, we hope to encourage others to do the same, because it’s crucial that financial institutions partake in the debates that are all too often domineered by commentators living outside the walls of our trade.
With this in mind, let me shed some light on our firm, with a word about the people working inside our own walls. Select Vantage executes trades on 46 markets employing over 2,500 staff in 39 countries. On any given day we trade upwards of US$3 billion. Given the global reach and breadth of our market participation, I focus on hiring traders who share my belief in fair, efficient and transparent markets.
We are aware of the role we play in the delicate financial ecosystem. Like nature, trading is competitive; it involves winners and losers. Our goal is to remain transparent about the framework through which we compete. We are privileged to work in a fast-paced environment where hard work and smart thinking can pay off quickly. The hard work and resources which go into achieving these results is not always clear, and as a result, we understand that our industry should be subjected to more scrutiny than others.
At Select Vantage we are students of trading as much as we are practitioners. At the end of each day, it is not just our balance sheet that we review, but also the ever changing market environment in which we operate. We always keep in mind the responsibility we share with the broader financial community to contribute to fair, efficient and transparent markets.
As a result, one discussion we will engage in on this blog concerns the subject of appropriate industry regulation. This will be particularly relevant in the coming months, as Europe prepares for the coming into force of sweeping new regulatory reform known as MiFID II (Markets in Financial Instruments Directive) on January 3rd 2018 that will have global repercussions.
Moreover, a unique feature of SVI is our utilization of human capital over sets of algorithms or automated strategies. This focus on the contributions of the human element to the trading landscapes positions us well for a future in which we do not see algorithms or automated strategies serving as fit replacements for people. For this reason we take a keen interest in a variety of open debates regarding the future of an industry on which we all depend, but about which too many know too little.
We’re looking forward to the discussion.
Daniel Schlaepfer, October 2017.
Daniel Schaepfer was educated in Canada and received an MBA from the John Molson School of Business, Goodman Institute of Investment management at Concordia University, and a Bachelor in Commerce from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. He is a CFA charter holder and passed the FINRA series 7 and 24 exams as well as CSI courses, CSC and PDO.
Prior to his role as principal of Select Vantage he was employed by and consulted for a privately owned trading technology firm, where he was responsible for the product development of the firm’s trading system and negotiated market access agreements in NCSA EMEA and ASIA. He has operated two successful trading floors and early on in his career he worked as a day trader.