Sapna Patel was recognized for Excellence in Market Structure at the 2015 Women in Finance Markets Choice Awards.
The following Q&A was conducted via e-mail.
Markets Media: Describe your role at Morgan Stanley.
Sapna Patel: I am currently the Head of Americas Market Structure and Liquidity Strategy at Morgan Stanley and an Executive Director on the Morgan Stanley Electronic Trading desk. In my current role, I focus on market structure issues, regulatory developments, order routing and liquidity strategies, as well as business development. Prior to joining the desk in 2008, I spent three years as an institutional equities coverage attorney in Morgan Stanley’s Legal and Compliance Division. I began my career at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in the Division of Trading and Markets (formerly the Division of Market Regulation), and held various positions during my five years at the agency.
MM: What do you (and by extension, your team) do to achieve excellence in market structure?
SP: In my role, I work closely with the buy side, sell side, exchanges and regulators. This certainly gives me a broader perspective on the various views regarding market structure and regulation – what is working well and what needs to be addressed. My background and being able to look at issues though business, legal and regulatory lens allow me to approach market structure issues in a unique and thoughtful manner. For many years now, my firm, Morgan Stanley, has been a thought leader in driving market structure and regulatory change. We have taken positions that we felt were right for our clients and for the marketplace as a whole even when our positions were not in vogue. For example, over the last seven years, we specifically advocated for reform that would provide more transparency to our clients around certain aggressive order handling practices that have emerged in a post-Regulation NMS, automated trading world. We understand that regulators are now working on new regulation around broker order handling transparency and plan to engage in continued dialogue with them to help shape it. Market structure has been and continues to be an important focus of ours and our clients and we are accordingly dedicating time and resources to this ever-evolving space.
Find something that you are passionate about and that makes you want to come into the office each morning
MM: What is your perspective on being a successful woman on Wall Street, i.e. what has been your experience as a woman in a field that at least historically has been dominated by men? What is your advice for young women who aspire to a career similar to yours?
SP: My perspective is continually changing based on the lessons that I have learned and continue to learn during my career. The first thing that I would say is that you have to enjoy what you are doing – find something that you are passionate about and that makes you want to come into the office each morning. Second, get to know the various people in the industry who you interact with because they will serve as your network – especially other women who can give you meaningful support and feedback during your career. Finally, you have to find the appropriate balance between work and personal life / family – this is hard for many women, including me, but very important to do. This is the advice that I would give a young woman in this industry, much of which has been given to me by other successful women on Wall Street.
Featured image byt/Dollar Photo Club