Forefront Communications

Markets Media: Day One ELS Report: Thriving in a New Market Order

Alexandra Hamer

Alexandra Hamer

Surviving and thriving amid a constantly evolving regulatory and technology landscape — and how those two factors shape the optimal structure of an equity trading desk now and into the future — were some of the big themes tackled on the main day one of the Equities Leaders Summit 2019 in Miami, one of the biggest gatherings of buy side heads of equity trading.

In setting the scene for the two-day conference hosted at the Eden Roc Miami Beach by Worldwide Business Research (WBR), which also produces the TradeTech event series in Europe, event Chairperson and Aite Group Capital markets Industry Analyst Spencer Mindlin told the more than 350 delegates that 2019 was a “very interesting year” for US equities markets structure.

He said that while the industry finally “got to take a step back and digest MiFID II” there was still “a lot to chew on,” including an unprecedented number of new equity exchanges currently in the process of coming to market, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) takeover the Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT) project, and the London Stock Exchange’s pending $27 billion deal to buy financial data provider Refinitiv.

Creating a dynamic team structure

In day one’s opening keynote, BlackRock Global Head of Equity Trading Paul Whitehead and Eaton Vance Chief Diversity Officer Ingrid Jacobs Diversity discussed the need for the buy side to ensure that they have a diverse workforce, as well as the resulting business benefits that come from instituting a plan for inclusivity.

“It’s well established that diverse teams will come to better outcomes. The question of ‘why’ is easy to answer … the real work comes in implementing it. Hiring is very task-oriented, but inclusion is an attitude. It’s really about making people feel comfortable so they can bring their whole self to work,” Whitehead said.

Jacobs said that Eaton Vance gets “really sophisticated” questions diversity touching not only gender and race but also age, disability, military veteran status and LGBTQ inclusion, to name a few.

“There’s definitely the sense that firms will need to back up their words,” she said.

Whitehead said the fact that the buy side was in a “unique time” given the decade-plus long bull market, providing a perfect opportunity to evolve its trading desks.

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