RBC Capital Markets is overhauling its electronic trading tools and has hired a team of new managers to get the job done. The unwavering stability of the Canadian bank throughout the credit crisis and the abundant talent up for grabs on the Street are two critical factors behind RBC’s ability to ramp up and remake its electronic trading group.
Leading the group is Bradley Katsuyama, Managing Director and Global Head of Electronic Sales and Trading, who transitioned internally from RBC’s risk trading desk last Spring. He has been charged with hiring a new team and making radical changes to the firm’s electronic trading tools. The tools being rebuilt include algorithms, smart order routers, among other client facing trading applications.
In an interview with Advanced Trading on Tuesday Katsuyama said, “We did an assessment of what we had— proprietary tools and those we acquired through an acquisition—to understand the gaps. We also wanted to build additional products that were focused on our core client base—major North American institutions.”
Further, he notes, “The market has gotten more challenging with high frequency trading and fragmentation. This gives us an opportunity to enhance products for not only our clients, but our Cash and Program trading desks as well.” The product rollout is being finalized, and will be launched in the first half of the year. Katsuyama declined to provide further details on the products that would be launched.
RBC's Goals: Technology and Biz Partnership
RBC's aim is to address some of the universal frustrations in trading, including accessing liquidity and minimizing information leakage. Katsuyama notes, “At times there’s a tradeoff there. Helping clients to make smart decisions is a focus for us.”
Katsuyama embarked on a search for talent last spring, in conjunction with Seth Gelberg, the firm’s CTO of Global Equity. They were on the look out for both business and technology managers to run key aspects of the business.
“The real critical part for us was partnering with technology. We wanted to make sure we created a partnership in the right way. It’s made a tremendous difference in our ability to innovate and communicate our objectives,” claims Katsuyama. He explains that the collaboration began during the interviewing process. Gelberg interviewed and vetted all of Katsuyama’s finalists and vice versa.
The two started by creating a management structure which included three groups---the Electronic Trading Group, the Client Implementation Group, and the Global Algorithmic Trading Group.