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Managing the Desk: Keeping Up With Information Overload

Trading desks are challenged to keep up with changes in the markets, regulations and technology.

Trading desk heads are faced with a myriad of challenges in today's electronic trading world, and keeping up with changes in the markets, regulations and technology is an ongoing task. Mary McDermott-Holland, senior vice president of trading at Franklin Portfolio Associates, knows firsthand how important it is to keep up with the information overload.

"To be an effective trader, it is imperative that we know and understand these issues and consider how we use these technologies," says McDermott-Holland. "It is, however, very difficult to manage to be on top of everything given the vast information we are presented with each day."

Her advice? Take advantage of conferences and seminars held by brokers, industry groups and other firms to build trader knowledge in areas such as dark pools, derivatives, options, currencies, algorithms and technology. In addition, she points to industry organizations that have committees devoted to dealing with trading regulation and trading issues.

"They are often the first to meet with regulators and innovators of technologies and systems," says McDermott-Holland, adding that having traders on these types of committees is key. "Firsthand information can then be brought back to the desk for assessment and for fit with individual business models."

McDermott-Holland was involved personally with the Security Traders Association (STA), having served as a past chairwoman. "STA deals with key issues and formulates opinions and comments on issues at the forefront of our markets," she says. "I very much keep in touch with their work. In addition, through my work with STA, I was able to build a vast network of resources to draw upon, which helps me remain current on issues and trends in our markets."

Related Article:
Managing the Desk: Technology Documentation

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