One of the last human points of resistance to the algorithmic take-over of professional trading can be found in the fixed-income trading desk.
The deft relationship business is known for having participants with Ivy League pedigrees and a lacrosse playing background, a data point that a machine learning algorithm recently used when making hiring recommendations.
With an algorithmic transition, profit margins are being squeezed as human relationships are becoming less important. Benchmarking the transition are new hiring mandates at some of the largest banks, a recent Greenwich Associates report pointed out.
Relationships and fundamental market understanding are less important, the report noted, and algorithmic experience and data science skills are now in demand.
In this emerging environment, what are best practices for an integration framework?
When combining fundamental investment thinking with quantitative thinking unique conflicts often arise. Fundamental, discretionary fund managers often creatively connect non-correlated dots and sometimes challenge consensus thinking.
Quantitative logic, on the other hand, is often driven by if-then Boolean logic at its core and looks for mathematical consensus to guide decisions. Mixing these two disciplines can be like expecting oil and water to enjoy each other’s company.
“Relationships and balance sheet still matter, of course,” Greenwich Associates Managing Director Kevin McPartland wrote in a report title that highlights a dichotomy, “Trust and Data Drive Fixed-Income Dealer Growth.”
Trust is a human concept and data is often associated with empirical, mathematically discovered understanding is the point where a melding of the minds might occur.
The integration of the two highlights the new path forward. “But the ability to manage both in a more quantitatively driven way can mean the difference between profit growth and a year-on-year decline,” McPartland observed.
Technology is increasingly becoming an important feature on bond trading desks, particularly for sell-side banks. Fully 91% of bulge bracket banks said automating parts of the trading process was one of their “top technology priorities for 2018,” the Greenwich Associates report pointed out.
Only 44% of middle market participants, meanwhile, felt the same. This group was having slightly more difficulty “complying with new/changing regulations” and was more focused on improving client management tools and data.
Knowing what technology to integrate so as to deliver a near-term positive return on investment while positioning the firm for a longer-term shift in intelligent automation can prove challenging and, itself, might have variables that don’t easily fit into a math formula.
“Assessing the process of tech integration is always a challenge because no technology is perfect, but it is often much better than human performance,” said Evan Schnidman, CEO and Co-Founder, Prattle, a firm that uses machine learning techniques to analyze human speech patterns to provide a market edge.
“Electronic equities trading has proven to be highly reliable, but very rare missteps can have catastrophic cascading effects. With bond trading, and any other technology-driven process in financial services, it is vital to build appropriate circuit breakers and human checkpoints. Simply, technology is a valuable tool, but humans still need to be in the loop.”
When integrating technology into a bond trading workflow it is important to set proper expectations that can be measured on a project plan timeline.
Often times expecting the unexpected is a discretionary skill that requires understanding technology’s limits.
“The best practice in tech integration is to remember that technology will not solve all of your problems, but it may be able to streamline the human workflow and optimize decision making,” Schnidman said. “If institutions keep that in mind, they are likely to adopt technology more readily, thereby making each additional innovation less jarring from a tech integration standpoint.”
With technological change coming at an increasingly rapid pace, the imperative is in understand what aspects of human trading can be modeled and what should remain discretionary.
“Instead of fully relying on quantitative approach at the beginning, it is a good starting point to integrate the output of quants and AI models in the human decision making process of position taking and dealing,” said Tsuyoshi Yokokawa, founder and CEO of San Francisco based Alpaca Markets, a firm that in parts helps integrate quantitative trading models into fundamental trading methodologies.
As the last refuge of human-based trading turns algorithmic, the processes and methodologies that drive these projects are likely to determine success or failure to a large degree.
In bond trading, the sell side is taking a different approach to that of the middle market.
The TRIBE app is LIVE!📱 Here’s how it all started…
Last November, our TRIBAL CHIEF posed a simple question.👇
We received dozens of messages and emails from you all expressing interest in joining the collective. 👇
So, we went to work.
Within ten days, we had the first MVP (minimum viable product). So, we returned to you and asked if any of you would be willing to check it out and give us feedback, aka beta test. 👇
That following weekend, we put TRIBE in the hands of a few beta testers. Each user scanned the site, clicked every link, and pinpointed any errors during the meeting.
Armed with the feedback we collected, our team made the necessary updates to the site.
That following Monday, December 21, 2020, we conducted a special edition of our FB Live 10 Questions. We used this episode to soft launch TRIBE just to our Facebook community. In addition, we used that time to conduct a live walkthrough and answered questions we received regarding TRIBE.
After that 10 Questions session, we officially launched TRIBE and opened enrollment. We were expecting a few submissions, but instead, we received hundreds of applications!!!
Each submission allowed us to learn more about you and helped us define ways we can serve you best.
We ask questions like
What interests you the most?
Have you started a business before?
Have you invested (stocks, bonds, real estate, etc.) before?
And most importantly, why do you want to join our community?
This stage of the journey is called audience development. We learned that 53% of you were entrepreneurs and that over 70% of you were super-focused on learning about investing both in the stock market and real estate.
Best of all, we discovered that 78% of you were willing to commit 5-10 years to learn how to become millionaires. Yay!🙌
Knowing your audience is so important, no matter what business or industry you’re in. With this data, we were able to craft virtual experiences that would help you reach your goals. For example, we outlined a calendar of events focused on real estate, stock investing, goal-setting, and entrepreneurship.
We spent the first few weeks getting to know our founding members through virtual meetings, coaching sessions, and events.
With that in mind, our tech team searched for a solution. In the meantime, we created a group chat through WhatsApp.
We used that chat room to share updates and connect with our members.
In February 2021, we began building the TRIBE social network platform. Our goal was to funnel all community events, updates, and networking under one umbrella.
Our team spent hours designing branded creatives like banners, thumbnails and creating content like how-to articles and videos to populate the network.
We shared the upcoming news about the platform with our founding members first and asked them to check out the site and share their feedback. For the first two weeks, the TRIBE social network was exclusively available to them. However, once they gave us their approval to move forward, we opened doors to the entire wealthgang.
The platform went from founding members to thousands 💪! Not to mention 175K+ (followers, TRIBE members, app downloads, etc.) across the entire NYCE ecosystem. It feels like it all happened overnight. 🔥🔥🔥
As more members joined TRIBE, we conducted more virtual experiences. In addition, we ensured that all events were recorded in case some members were unable to attend; we could share the replay.
However, as demand for replays grew, we knew we needed a better solution to deliver on-demand access.
TRIBE TV was born. To us, it’s Netflix for financial literacy. Through TRIBE TV, you can learn at your own pace.
As the community continued to grow, we added more membership perks like 1:1 and group coaching sessions from experts and 30-day challenges.
So, what’s next for TRIBE?
Today, I am happy to announce that the TRIBE app is now officially available in the App Store and Google Play. (Here are the direct links to dowload: iOS and Android! You can also use Text Me the App here to text yourself and others a quick link to download the app.)
That’s right, a community fueled by a simple social media post has grown to thousands of members, over 100 virtual events, dozens of success stories (hey, Donna!), and now there’s a standalone app!
You know what? We could not have done it without you, our TRIBE community. 🙏
What’s the lesson in all of this? Just start. No matter where you are in life, just start. Start that blog, launch that side hustle, apply for that mortgage loan, invest in that index fund, build that website. No matter what you desire to create, just do it.
You’ll never be ready. We weren’t prepared to build a community that serves thousands. We weren’t ready to produce over 100 virtual events in less than a year. We weren’t ready to build a streaming platform. And we certainly weren’t ready to build two mobile apps in less than 12 months, but we made it happen.
Why? Quite frankly, it’s pretty simple for us. These initiatives move us one step closer to creating 100,000 millionaires. That’s the gasoline that fuels us and keeps us moving. That’s more important to us than anything else.
Through hard work and hardcore commitment, we did it! And you can too!
Always start with why? Our why is always to move one step closer to creating 100,000 millionaires
Build an MVP
Test, test, test
Talk to your target audience so you can learn more about them and their needs
Build solutions to their headaches
Always add value
Work your ass off!
P.S.S. I recommend that you also delete/disable notifications from the Mighty Networks mobile app. Otherwise, you may receive duplicate notifications about TRIBE.
The Art And Science Of How To Keep Talented People Around
(Editor’s Note: The following article is a guest post by superstar entrepreneur and tech investor Jonathan Schultz.)
The number one reason talented people leave their jobs is because of the failure of their direct managers. Businesses are defined by the strength of their people. Even in the most successful company (think Google, Amazon, etc.), a bad manager can drive talented employees out the door. So what is the true art and science of keeping talented people around?
Successful managers apply targeted, dynamic coaching to each individual team member. There is not one management style that works for everyone or every situation. Managers need to adapt their approach to every situation and every team member. This is called situational leadership. This situational leadership model has been used across 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies and has received numerous accolades from training experts.
The model details how we learn new skills and the four stages of mastering new tasks. For every stage and task, managers need to adapt their approach to managing their report.
When your team member approaches a new and unfamiliar task with a determination to master it, they see opportunity. They are complete beginners in execution, but they possess high motivation and low skill. In this step, the manager needs to take a highly directive approach, where they demonstrate how the task should be done, setting concrete goals and closely reviewing the report’s progress as well. You are not being a micromanager by supporting the growth and training of your team. Sometimes your team needs to use your expertise as training wheels.
This stage is full of frustration. Why? Because it generally takes people more time to master a skill than they’d like. Discouragement will set it and their confidence will lower. While they have built up more skills, their confidence is at its lowest in this stage. In this stage, the manager needs to serve as a cheerleader and remind their team member of why they were chosen to do this task and remind them of how far they have already come.
In the third stage, people have gained enough skill to complete the task but still maintain a mentality of imposter syndrome in which they are more skilled than their confidence allows them to believe. They may even still be discouraged. In this stage, managers need to do less guiding and allow their team member to perform while self-directly more consistently. These acts of trust can boost the team member’s confidence and their dependence on the manager will fade while their confidence increases.
People reach stage four when their confidence is at the same level as their skill. They become veterans and will continue to boost their confidence and skill set. This is the stage in which the manager steps back and gives the employee the space to continue fostering growth. Check in every now and then and help as needed. Also be sure to recognize the team member for all of their accomplishments along the way.
Keeping talented people around is not hard. Managers just need to apply situational leadership and remember that every team member works and learns differently and need an environment in which they can thrive in. As the leader, you are building this environment, so make sure it is a healthy one.
Jonathan Schultz is an entrepreneur, real estate tech investor and influencer. He’s the co-founder of Onyx Equities, a leading private equity real estate firm, and has been voted one of the most powerful people in real estate. Follow Jon’s blog here.
This Guy Co-Built A $4B Company In Four Years - And He Only Works 7 Hours A Day
Cal Henderson is pretty badass.
As co-founder and Chief Technical Officer of Slack — arguably the single most crucial role in any startup — Henderson has helped build a product from zero users to four million daily in just over three years.
About a year ago (cue Shmoney Dance!), Slack announced they’d raised $200 million in its fourth round of venture capital, putting the software at a WHOPPING $3.8B valuation.
And unlike many all-time greats on #TeamNoSleep (think Leo DaVinci, Thomas Edison and Vince McMahon) — and the modern ones who call for 95-hour work weeks — this dude actually puts his Z’s atop his to-do list.