Moving from a science background, via a specialist trading college, and into capital markets has taught Marjorie Stiti of Lombard Odier that curiosity is the key to growth and success in the finance industry. Working with a wide range of functions and firms builds a strong career and bakes-in adaptability on the trading desk.
It is therefore invaluable to develop a range of qualifications and skills around the markets, instruments and legal frameworks, as this enables a team to be agile in product development and responding to market events, both potential and current. Diversity on the trading desk is necessary as the next challenge is always an unknown, she says, but traders must move beyond their own discomfort to stretch and learn.
Transcript of interview:
Dan Barnes: Welcome to Trader TV #Generationtrader where we look at the impact of diversity in the trading environment. Joining me today is Marjorie Stiti of Lombard Odier. We’re going to discuss her career path and her views on diversity within trading.
Welcome to the show.
Marjorie Stiti: Pleasure to be here, Dan.
Dan Barnes: So to start with, what was your educational background before you started your career in finance?
Marjorie Stiti: At 17 years old, I passed a scientific baccalaureate, specialized in physics, and I was still young and interested in every field. So I decided to not restrict myself too much and I opted for business school. Three years later, after having attended some amazing financial conferences in Paris. I applied in the trading school. Most of the teachers are ex-traders from banks and funds. The concept is you’ve got classes by different assets like commodities, derivatives, bonds, equities, short term products, etc..
Then I completed my master too, with my first professional experience, an internship at Natixis Paris as a system trader for different desks like equity indexes, convertible bonds and I guess it is where and when I decided to work in a trading room.
Dan Barnes: How would you describe your experience of actually joining the industry?
Marjorie Stiti: I began my career at Swissquote Bank in Switzerland. Then I was headhunted by another Rothschild-supported bank for an equivalent job in the trading room. I used to face more professional typology of clients like external asset managers. It was a pretty good opportunity for me to network.
In the meantime, I start working on the CFA. It’s an American financial analyst charter. I invested too little to working on this one, but it showed me a different perspective of financial markets. And then I accepted a job at Lombard Odier.
We are engineering financial vehicles, certificates for the bank. It’s working a bit like a phone, but in a more flexible, reactive, holistic approach from the beginning to the end. So beginning with the construction of the products. What kind of exposure are like to markets? What kind of instruments?
Then you’ve got the life of the products. So you’ve got trading to do, trading in the certificates to adapt your exposition of the markets, the markets making of the products of the certificate, and of course, every event which can occur during the life of the product. And that’s brought on a broader set of knowledge like legal infrastructure, tax efficiency, different country laws, etc.. So once again, it is a different perspective but still fascinating.
Dan Barnes: So what’s been guiding your career and your interests within finance?
Marjorie Stiti: I would say curiosity. Whatever is your role in the financial markets industry, the crucial point to be good is to be curious, to question everything. So rethink old models with your new and different perspectives of the job. Financial markets are not stationary. So every day we are trying to reconcile the old economic theories with the irrationality we’re seeing.
Every day we are trying to read between the lines to see long term trends. We often hear that data is knowledge. I would says that’s true, but partially, I think it is the capacity of analyzing in the relevant and adaptive manner is the key. And for that, we have to be humble and to keep being curious.
Dan Barnes: So how do you see diversity changing within the trading environment today and what still needs to change?
Marjorie Stiti: The fact is we don’t know what’s going to be the challenge we’re going to face in the future in financial markets. So we do need the most diverse set of knowledges to cope with that uncertainty.
There is some progress, but definitely not enough to move the needle. I guess we have to overpass a critical threshold to really see the impacts of diversity and positive impact has been proved by research now, in innovation, in profitability. The society on that subject is evolving faster than the industry. So financial markets as a sector in general.
In order to keep is attractiveness to recruit talents, to retain its clients and of course, to improve this reputation, we’ll have no other choice is to speed up the trend.
Dan Barnes: And then finally, what guidance would you give to someone who’s looking to work in this business today?
Marjorie Stiti: Banks are currently transforming themselves, integrating all the aspects and impacts of disruption they’re facing today. They’re going to work with different bring new players like fintechs to reorganize their internal strategy and reorganization to be much more flexible, to be much more simple, agile, to implement, more new to disciplinary way of working.
They are already working on the full integration of digital in their operating models. They are reintegrating the customer in the internal center of the strategy. And of course, this team working on the reinforcement of their transparency, which is the cornerstone for a healthy and functioning financial system. So all the trends, evolutions, tendencies are new opportunities for traders.
So stretch yourself with different roles, different functions as much as you can. Trust yourself, your abilities, of course, challenge yourselves, get beyond discomfort. It is within your control and rethink your own job. You’re only limited by your creativity and your own ambition as a goal.
That’s fantastic. Marjoirie, that was very, very inspiring. Thank you so much.
Marjorie Stiti: Thank you, Dan.
Dan Barnes: I’d like to thank Marjorie for her insights today and of course, to you for watching. To catch up on our other shows or to subscribe to our newsletter, go to TRADERTV.NET.