Spot light on Hans Lindh, Retired,

Former Head of Execution,

Swedbank Robur

Head of Trading Champion 2020

2020 has been a year of disruption – how has your desk coped with the pandemic? What key learnings can be made?

The desk has coped extremely well with the situation and when the remote connectivity was solved it has been a success in a way. Some traders are happy and even more keen to work from home than commute to the office day in and day out. I obviously don’t know exactly how execution performance has been but what I understand it’s holding up. From a general point of view I think that it’s interesting to see how fast the business adopted to remote trading and that PM’s and traders can work, share ideas and even become more efficient when they connect in a chat room or over video/skype etc. Interestingly we worked on and wanted to set up a “working from home” capacity for traders to meet the need to trade off hours and make it easier to utilise the traders time better. This was not prioritised at that time, unfortunately, had it been we could have moved traders home from one day to the other. But to be a hindsight trader is easy. What to take with you from this is to always be prepared for the worst but hoping for the best in the meaning that every buy side desk has to prepare to take more responsibility for executing the orders, measure performance and be prepared to execute from different locations at any time.  I also think that the speed how electronic trading will develop from now will accelerate if it hasn’t already and anyone at least the larger firms has to think twice if they don’t have systems and know how in place.

 

How do you envisage the trading desk of the future post the pandemic?

As I wrote in the beginning I think that my former company is continuing to add capacity and understanding how to measure trades mainly algos and making sure to deliver Best Execution at any time, it’s much easier if you can automate the process. A lot of initiatives on the fixed income is going on but that’s the most difficult parts to take further in a situation when some people are working from home and resources are needed elsewhere. But other than that I’m not tuned in.

What are your top tips to inspiring traders about how to reach to the top of their profession?

This is the interesting part I would say, we will see a huge change, some traders will work from home one or two days per week, electronic trading will if it’s not already be the preferred way to trade. How to take advantage from all available data and what systems or initiatives coming up from a number of companies will or can change the way traders can support PM’s. I think this is the next big thing if we can find ways how to digest the data and use it in the decision process, AI and machine learning will take off and new competence has to become part of the trading desk over the coming decade. Experience, knowing the markets and companies that are traded will still be very important and not go away and maybe a head trader has to think more than twice how to put together the team. I can’t see how any firm with ambitions to be a top performer can ignore this. Eventually I personally think that traders should start to go back to the office after a period of “getting used to” normal life again. The nature of trading as well as the need of close collaboration with PM’s, system developers, management and others is easier when having eye to eye contact.

What top tips do you use to optimise your mental health?  #buysidementalhealth

I’m convinced that what I mention in my top tips above is good for mental health in general. Possibilities for traders to work from home a few days a week or parts of the day, off hours for example is another. Should we allow or even demand that people exercise more, maybe? At least it should always be a part of the packaged. Also not everyone wants to be a trader forever, every firm who wants to stand out as a firm that looks after employees mental health have to actively manage traders next career development. For some trading can be the young persons profession and not everyone wants to live his or her life in the fast lane until the end. As I mentioned I think any trader with a few years of experience can be used in so many other positions within the financial industry and this can help mental health long term.

What has been your career path before your current role?

As most people know I’m happily retired after many years in the industry. I have a military career as well before I went to university and have served as a officer in the army reserve for many years post uni. I started as equity sales at Handelsbanken 1986 and, went to a emerging group of international equity sales, trading and research at HB until Merrill Lynch hired me in 1993. I moved to London for seven years and finally become responsible for equity sales to the Nordic region.  After returning to Sweden I was out of the industry for a few years and didn’t intend to go back until I was asked by my former company to run the equity trading desk. This was in due time, 2007 it took off I would say Mifid, market structure, algo trading, payment for research etc. everything happened around this time. I’m very grateful having had the opportunity to be part of that shift.