Trading experts' advice: Do unto others

August 4, 2014 12:21 PM

Thursday's edition of the MarketsWiki World of Opportunity Summer Intern Education Series proved to be more diverse than the first, with stories and advice not only about trading and business, but about software development, Vitruvian principles and philanthropy.

Mead Wells, founder of Octagon Asset Management, introduced the interns to the philanthropic side of trading, explaining how he used an opportunity to create a new business to instead start a charity, A Leg To Stand On. The charity provides free prosthetic limbs, corrective surgery and other rehabilitation to children in need in developing countries. It’s helped over 12,000 children in over 20 countries so far.

“As we go about our path of finding a career, we make decisions based on monetary gain or social gain or career status,” Wells said. “A lot of that is driven by basic need to have food and clothes and support a family, but there’s also a margin of greed in there. If your dependence on money is what drives your happiness, you’re in for a big letdown. One of the best investments you’ll ever make is doing something for somebody else.”

Stefani Sandow, product manager for Trading Technologies, shared her personal story of moving from architecture to software development in trading. All architecture students read about Vitruvius, an ancient Roman architect, she said. Vitruvius demanded that all architecture must be three things: firmitas, utilitas, venustas (solid, useful, delightful). These Vitruvian principles apply to software development too, Sandow said.

Chris Edmonds, Senior Vice President of Financial Markets for ICE, spoke about his time as president of ICE Clear Credit, a credit default swap clearing house that was born out of the 2008 financial crisis. Since its birth in March 2009, ICE Clear Credit has cleared $53.2 trillion gross notional risk in 1.8 million trades. Even in those moments of crisis, Edmonds said, positive things can develop and confidence can be restored.

Chris Hehmeyer, managing member of HTG Capital Partners, and Pat Kenny, vice president of client relations for CQG, shared stories about their respective starts in the business as runners and how their careers developed out of the floor.

Hehmeyer eventually started his own futures commission merchant firm and he spoke about running that business when his personal assets were on the line daily. It's an exciting time to be in the business, Hehmeyer noted, as technology continues to merge with humanity.

Kenny initially thought he wanted to be a trader, but as he found out on his time on the floor, his talents coordinated more to sales. He learned this primarily through mistakes, he said, and added that in such a small, tight-knit business, it's as much of who you know as what you know.

The lecture series continues this week on Tuesday and Thursday.

About the Author

Thom is an editorial intern at Futures. He studies magazine editing, economics and sociology at the University of Missouri and will graduate in May 2016. You can reach him at