Outlook 2016: Jennica Ross, WallachBeth Capital
Jennica Ross is a managing director and head of strategic relationships at WallachBeth Capital.
What were the major themes of your business in 2015?
Our firm made a significant effort this past year to actively listen to and engage with our clients on facets of the investment process beyond just trade execution. Though trading and best execution continue to remain a core part of our business, our discussions uncovered that there were other areas of the investment process the institutional community was grappling with and we had the expertise and structure here at WallachBeth to help them tackle some of these challenges.
In 2015, we worked with our clients on a range of topics, including projects such as the development of an optimal trading strategy to the construction of custom portfolios that achieve nuanced target exposures. We also engaged frequently with our clients in the actual technology behind our solutions. This included how we embed deep learning logic in algorithms to how we systematically project impact costs during our bespoke pre-trade process.
Our goal has always been to remain nimble and efficient in how we deliver intellectual capital and services. So in the past year, we’ve spent a great deal of time thoughtfully aligning the phenomenal talent we have across the firm with the gaps we’ve observed in the marketplace. We successfully launched our SCOUT team in late 2014 to deliver comprehensive solutions that address these gaps through consulting, quantitative analysis and custom projects. A big reason our clients embraced SCOUT was not only because of the top-notch expertise in the group, but because our structure as a firm coupled with an agency-only model provided them the comfort they needed knowing we are truly their partner.
What are your expectations for 2016?
Last year was a whirlwind year for the markets and proved especially tough for a number of businesses across the street. And as we believe the recent spikes in volatility will occur in greater frequency in the year to come, it is tough to predict how this year will play out for both the market and market participants. That being said, I expect our firm to continue doing what we do best – listening to our clients, understanding their needs and developing tangible solutions. I believe these will include continued guidance and education in asset classes our clients care about.
Front and center in this context are exchange-traded funds. Though rapidly maturing, there’s still a surprising need for education and usage in these products. This is especially true given ETFs growth in breadth and complexity as well the current market environment. Given the ever shifting regulatory landscape, we also see an increased need for similar unbiased guidance in the world of equity finance. We will be engaging with our larger institutional clients on how best to use derivatives in collateral management and innovative methods to optimize balance sheets.
Just as we’ve focused on empowering our clients with the intelligence and mindshare through our SCOUT offering, we are committed to do the same this year in the area of technology. We believe there’s tremendous value in making the process more efficient for our clients and delivering tools that provide them the visibility and flexibility needed in their day to day workflows. We’re making truly innovative strides in this space and will have a several exciting launches this year as a result of recent focused efforts.
As a firm, we will continue to take pride in our ability to remain nimble in the face of whatever market conditions we encounter. This has allowed us to not only stay relevant with our clients, but be truly differentiated in our offerings and service models. We are excited to continue leveraging this competitive advantage as we enter 2016.
Featured image by/Dollar Photo Club
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