Rising Star: Nancy Davis, Quadratic Capital Management

Rising Star: Nancy Davis, Quadratic Capital Management

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.

Nancy Davis, Quadratic Capital Management

Nancy Davis, Quadratic Capital Management

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.

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