Insights from a millennial, institutional trader


June 21, 2017

These are investment insights you’re going to love, and totally relate to; how to get involved with investing from a millennial stock-trader.

As an institutional sales trader newly based in San Francisco, Taylor Ortiz’s career may be centered around the stock market, but her focus is centred on creating unique and differentiated value for her clients – something the financial industry lacks today.

In just her mid-twenties, Taylor has worked as a trader covering west coast and european financial institutions, tapping into her own well-developed network to ensure that even challenging market liquidity doesn’t stifle her ability to meet client needs.

Interestly, her career began as an intern in London with luxury accessory brand Anya Hindmarch as a public relations intern. While PR and marketing has always been of interest, time spent curating a thoughtful investment portfolio with her Dad lured her to further explore the world of finance.

After testing the waters with two internships, one in which she assisted with Dodd-Frank implementation classes (the federal legislation passed to ensure financial institutions were responsibily leveraged post-recession), Taylor moved onto a trading desk in Aspen where it was her responsibility to find and optimize stock trades between two natural parties.

Her next move would be to San Francisco with a global financial institution, where after a year and a half, she has fully transitioned into the NorCal lifestyle, rock-climbing, paddle boarding, and wine-sampling on weekends.

We met up with Taylor to chat about how she got into trading and the top tips she would recommend to get started.

How would you explain your profession over drinks?

At events I usually simplify it to, “I trade large amounts of stock on behalf of hedge funds and financial institutions. So if a hedge fund is looking to buy one million shares of a publically traded company, it is often faster and (hopefully) cheaper for the fund to use a broker such as myself than buying the stock themselves.”

As a trader operating on east coast market hours, what does your daily routine look like?

Great question! It requires discipline! I have about 4 alarms set and am out the door by 4:00 am. I’m at work from about 4:30 am – 1:30 pm. As a trader you need to be in front of the markets in case of any sudden changes that affect your trades so I try to pack my own meals, which often include two breakfasts because of how early I’m up!

The market closes at 1:00 pm here which opens up my afternoon to a workout outside (SF is the best city for running) and happy hour once everyone else is off work. I try to have any client entertainment start and end early. It’s a daily goal to be in bed by 9:00 pm. I drink copious amounts of lemon water to keep me energized through the day, but a couple cups of coffee early in the morning are always necessary!

As for the work itself, I’m on my first call to London to hear what has already happened in the Asian and European markets on my way to work.

4:30 am – 8:00 am is my busiest time of day. This time is spent talking to clients about what stocks are moving, writing morning reports on the markets, and emailing news or research I believe my clients would find valuable. Being an institutional sales trader is all about attention to detail and hustling so your clients can make decisions on the markets or at least inform their portfolio managers.

From the market open at 6:30 am onwards work continues with constant information updates and trading the orders my clients send me. The final hustle is from 12:00 – 1:00 pm, then pencils down; the markets are closed.

What was your entry point into finance; what led you into a financial sector career?

In college I was introduced to options trading through an internship in Chicago working as a marketing assistant. Marketing taught me the language and intricacies of the financial markets and I quickly became hooked.

I actually started my career as a sales trader from bartending.

While that was my introduction, I actually started my career as a sales trader from bartending. I was a bartender after college to make some quick cash and some guys came in and saw my ability to multi task, listen to guests, and hustle… I guess the skills are transferable!

Before I knew it they had asked me if I’d be interested in equity trading and I was intrigued! One month later I threw in the towel at the bar (literally!) and started on the desk as a clerk to 10 traders!

You must receive a lot of questions from friends and acquaintances about how to get involved with investing and with the markets, what advice do you give them?

All the time!! When they ask me I answer them with a question: “What are you reading right now that has to do with investing?” More often than not the answer is “Uhhhh nothing! Help!” That is where you start, with educating yourself.

Start investing by educating yourself; read!

So my first piece of advice is READ READ READ. I recommend Barron’s. Just start with one paper. Next step would be Financial Times out of London and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Second step: read about topics that interest you. Just because everyone is talking about infrastructure with the Trump administration doesn’t mean you need to join the chatter. Maybe you love reading travel blogs…thought about investing in Expedia (EXPE) or airlines (UAL, LUV) and the details behind those stocks? Reading about areas of interest will prompt you to learn about dividend yields, investment strategies, and earnings season!

Too afraid to stock pick? I get it. So read up on funds that fit your investment solutions. These publications talk about numerous investment options. Vanguard has a great selection of funds for any income and risk level. From there start to educate yourself on the portfolios you are looking at.

Too afraid to stock pick? I get it. Read up on funds that fit your investment solutions.

What is the most commonly held misconception about investing in the stock market?

That you need money to play in the stock market and people feel as though they don’t have enough. Fair point and I’ve been there myself. But what if you managed to set aside just $500 over time and then honed in on one sector you are interested in? Learn to trust yourself with educated risk, collaborate with others; set yourself up with a group of friends in an investment club… wink, wink! 
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cat-financial-literacy, investing Financial Literacy, Investing