Nancy Davis was recognized as a Rising Star at the 2015 Women in Finance Markets Choice Awards.
What follows is a lightly edited transcript of a December 22 telephone interview.
Markets Media: Describe our role at Quadratic Capital Management.
Nancy Davis: We have a very differentiated approach to portfolio construction. I’d argue it’s quite innovative, as the whole portfolio is implemented with optionality. We primarily use options in our portfolio construction, which is a risk-based support approach to portfolio construction. We are a discretionary macro strategy that seeks to have a defined downside along with asymmetric risk-reward. The strategy is also typically long volatility. We aim to deliver uncorrelated returns in normal environments and also in risk-off environments.
MM: What do you (and by extension, your team and your organization) do to achieve Rising Star recognition?
ND: It was definitely an honor to be recognized by a panel of industry peers. I think this is my second or third Rising Star Award. We’ve had a lot of success at Quadratic, as I have in my career. It’s nice to be recognized, especially by a group of peers.
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?
ND: I have been in the world of finance for almost 20 years now. I can tell you the industry has definitely changed a lot. When I was first a trader and then a portfolio manager, most of the time I was either the only woman or one of two on the whole floor. I think that’s really changing right now.
A trading or portfolio management career on Wall Street is the ultimate meritocracy, because you have a number next to your name. It’s a great place for young women to pursue a career because it is truly a level playing field that’s based on your performance and your returns.
I’ve been guest lecturing and volunteering with universities for many years, most recently with Columbia Business School, specifically to encourage more women to go into revenue-generating roles on Wall Street. There’s nothing wrong with compliance, legal, or operations, but I think you have a bit less control over your destiny in those career paths. The level playing field of trading and portfolio management side is very helpful, especially since women are still a minority on Wall Street.