08.06.2021
By Markets Media

FLASH FRIDAY: T. Rowe Price Gen Z in the House

This article originally ran as FLASH FRIDAY on Traders Magazine, a Markets Media Group platform. FLASH FRIDAY is a weekly content series looking at the past, present and future of capital markets trading and technology. FLASH FRIDAY is sponsored by Instinet, a Nomura company.

In last week’s Flash Friday, Traders Magazine spotlighted the younger generation at Instinet.

This week we meet Generation Z, aka Gen Z or the Digital Generation, of T. Rowe Price.

Who are these people who (probably) never used a fax machine or rotary phone, but will be running things in 20 or 30 years?

Read on.

Tommy Baird, Fixed Income Portfolio Modeler, High Yield Desk

Describe your educational background and work experience to date.

Tommy Baird

I graduated from Wake Forest University in December of 2017, and since have become a level III candidate for the CFA while also pursuing a masters in computer science from Hopkins. I started my career as a consultant and then internal business analyst in trading technology. At the end of last year, I become a Fixed Income portfolio modeler on the high yield desk.

How did you get interested in the world of finance / asset management?

I love the problem-solving nature of it. There is never one right answer, but rather taking the information and skills at your disposal to try and make the best decision for the relevant client.

What is the best aspect of your job?

The people. Any given day will present its own unique challenges, but when you know the people around you are working together to make the best possible outcome, you tend to walk into work with a lot of confidence.

Flash forward 20 years: what does the finance/fintech industry look like?

I believe that we can leverage technology to make financial wellness cheaper and more accessible to everyone. Tools like robot advisors for families and financial literacy for students are still very much in their infancy stage.

How optimistic are you in your generation’s ability to step up and lead (companies, industries, governments) when the time comes?

My only hope is that we stay ‘young and naïve’ as long as possible. Once we start accepting what is more realistic or attainable, I think we stop innovating and chasing big dreams or lofty goals.

Bonus Question: What’s the most underrated skill on the trading desk?

Obscure movie and sports knowledge. Anyone can discount cash flows, but do you have your NFL greats down? Your Bull Durham and The Princess Bride quotes ready to go? It will make all the difference.

Hannah Greenhall, Trading Analyst, Investment and Trading Solutions

Describe your educational background and work experience to date.

Hannah Greenhall

I graduated from Lafayette College in 2018 with a double major in Economics and Spanish. After graduation, I moved to NYC and worked for a financial services firm in the Commodities department for a little over two years.

What is your role and responsibilities at T. Rowe?

I work as a Trading Analyst in the Investment and Trading Solutions department, all which is under Global Trading. Some of my responsibilities include booking new issues, working with our external partners to resolve any issues, and communicating with internal departments to make the trade process run smoothly.

What is the best aspect of your job?

The best aspect of my job is the constant communication that takes place. I started this job when everyone was working remotely so it’s been difficult for me to meet everyone. With emails, chats, and phone calls, I feel as if I’ve known people for years and everyone I’ve interacted with has been very nice!

When you see photos of retro, in-person trading floors, say from the 1980s/90s, what are your impressions? 

All I can think about is how loud and crazy it must have been! With all the technology we have now, it’s crazy to think all of this used to be done on paper and through manual work!

How optimistic are you in your generation’s ability to step up and lead when the time comes?

I am very optimistic in my generation’s ability to step up and lead. I think my generation is very involved and not afraid to speak their minds and I believe we can accomplish many things. In my opinion, seeing how active we were in the various movements that took place recently, shows that we can step up and be effective leaders.

Bonus Question: What are some of your hobbies? 

I really love playing tennis and cooking. I love trying new recipes and watching Food Network! I also love going to the beach, hanging with my friends and family, and spending time with my new puppy, Moose!

Reagan Huber, TCA and Market Structure Analyst, Trading Analytics

Briefly describe your educational background and work experience to date.

Reagan Huber

I have a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, with a minor in Computer Science. I started at T. Rowe as an intern on our Multi-Asset team the summer before my senior year and stayed on part time throughout my final semesters. I started our Investment Fellowship program shortly after graduation and my first rotation was in Global Trading where I ended up accepting a permanent role on the Trading Analytics team after a second rotation in Quantitative Equity.

How did you get interested in the world of finance / asset management?

I never really imagined working in finance, but I never set out for anything in particular really. I knew I loved math and learned to love computer science, and the fellowship allowed me to explore different areas I could apply my interests. This role felt like the perfect blend for that with the excitement of trading as an added bonus. The more I learn about the markets and how trading is evolving the more it feels like the right fit for me.

What is your role and responsibilities at T. Rowe?

As a TCA and Market Structure Analyst, a big part of my role is best execution evidencing and pre- and post-trade TCA analysis for internal and external clients. Our team monitors performance on various levels and is constantly looking for ways to improve our feedback loop into trading decisions. More specifically, I focus on the electronic side of trading, partnering with our systematic trading team to enhance data driven executions. This might take the form of building out applications for our team to use for analysis, ad hoc research notes sent out to the desk on trends in our data, or delivering analytics directly back into the trading platforms.

Any aspect of the business that you think can use some disruption?

I think this pandemic has brought to light a number of things we could be doing differently. Two years ago I don’t think anyone would say we could all do our jobs virtually for this long. A lot of younger people are beginning to value flexible working arrangements and working from home more so than ever before. In order to stay competitive to recent graduates, companies will have to keep this in mind, and in the long run I think that will shift how we view the 40-hour work week.

When you see photos of retro, in-person trading floors, say from the 1980s/90s, what are your impressions? 

It’s always so neat to see the differences in technology – the big old clunky computers instead of the multiple sleek monitors we have now. It’s hard to imagine what all the different trading roles would translate to back then now that they are so dependent on technology and data. I’m not sure I would have found a niche in finance then the way I have now. At the same time though, there are a lot of similarities. The level of communication needed and fast-paced environment may never change, and I think that’s what makes trading exciting.

How optimistic are you in your generation’s ability to step up and lead when the time comes?

I am very optimistic. I think our generation is capable of disrupting longstanding traditions and better aligning our practices with where we want our future to head. There is much greater emphasis on diversity and more open mindedness for where our best ideas can come from. Casting a wider net for innovation along with a more tech-savvy workforce will be two key pieces to leading companies and industries when the time comes, and it will be sooner than we think!

Bonus Question: What pandemic trends did you get into?

I love to ask people what pandemic trends they got into (i.e. making bread). I got very into puzzles for a good few weeks at the beginning, but the biggest was adopting my ‘pandemic puppy’! He is definitely the best thing to come out of the pandemic for me.

Rachael Kelly, Portfolio Investment Analyst, Investment & Trading Solutions 

Briefly describe your educational background and work experience to date.

Rachael Kelly

I graduated summa cum laude from Gettysburg College with a degree in Mathematics and a minor in Anthropology. I have been working at T Rowe Price since I graduated in 2019, first through the Fellows program and then at a permanent position on the trading floor as a Portfolio Investment Analyst in Investment and Trading Solutions.

Any notable mentors, past or present, that you’d like to recognize?

There is no shortage of people that I need to thank for being my mentor and continuing to lead me on the right path. Tina Moore, who inspired me to work in the finance industry and continues to inspire me with her unbounded wisdom, optimism, and faith in me. Nick Welsh, who reminds me to continue growing and learning and reaching for new goals I would never have otherwise considered. Co-workers Peter Boxx and Alexa Gagliardi, two of the most patient and wonderful people who believe in me far more than I believe in myself. College professors Keir Lockridge, who is still disappointed that I did not pursue a Ph.D in mathematics, and my advisor Ricardo Conceição, who encouraged me to be a mathematics major and who co-authored my first mathematical journal publication.

When you see photos of retro, in-person trading floors, what are your impressions? 

I had the opportunity to visit NYSE prior to quarantine and I do not believe that even pictures do justice to the unhygienic, choreographed chaos of the trading floors from the 1980 and 1990s. Even empty, I would not describe the floor as “open”, and it is almost too easy to understand why it was called “the pit”.

Flash forward 20 years: what does the finance/fintech industry look like?

There exists an incredible amount of technology that finance is only starting to find. The future state of finance depends entirely on which technology is implemented first. Blockchain, for example, has the ability to shorten standard settlement cycles from days to hours. Innovation will likely move faster than the trust investors will have in that technology, so I imagine that the biggest changes will not be implemented for another thirty to forty years.

How optimistic are you in your generation’s ability to step up and lead when the time comes?

Every generation one day has to lead, but no generation is entirely prepared to lead when their turn arrives. Effective future leaders learn from the failures of mentors and other current and past leaders. My generation certainly has to learn to lead but we have plenty of time to learn.

Bonus Question: What is a project that you completed during quarantine?

A dream of mine was to build a computer, but I had little need of a desktop prior to quarantine since I had a wonderful laptop I bought during college that I did not use enough to warrant an expensive, immobile replacement. Once quarantine struck, I found myself abusing my laptop in an attempt to have multiple screens for work and was able to finally convince myself to build myself a relatively cheap desktop with the help of my brother. Like any good computer, he does have a name, which I mulled over for too long: Gore Magala.

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