Buy-side Perspectives Issue 15 - Page 18

champion women to apply for buy-side trading jobs #buysidewomen T he #buysidewomen campaign was launched at the 7 th annual Alpha Trader Forum Global Summit in London on the 6 th and 7 th February 2019. This initiative was spearheaded by Anita Karppi, MD, whose career in the financial markets has spanned over 20 years. It is evident that the ratio of buy-side women to men is very low in buy-side trading positions and Anita’s belief is that more women need to apply for roles to be more equally represented within the trading community. With initiatives such as State Street Global Advisors’ #Fearless Girl campaign, there was no better platform for Anita to launch The Buy-side women campaign. Over the 2-day summit, which was attended by 160 global heads and senior equities, fixed income and FX Cathy Gibson, head of trading at Royal London Asset Management and Vernita Exum, head of equities (Europe) at Vanguard. Day 2 saw Louise Drummond, deputy global head of execution at Aberdeen Investments and Sharon Ruffles, head of fixed income trading at State Street Global Advisors taking centre stage. Discussion over both days resulted in frank and open dialogue as each of the panellists shared their personal experiences of how they organise their desks, cope with the challenges of managing a team and how to get a work life balance. The panellists engaged with the audience which stimulated further topics of discussion ranging from paternity leave for fathers to suggestions of childcare at work for traders and coping with ‘burn out’. The closed- door environment allowed the audience to open up, respond and ask the panel questions on topics that have previously been viewed as taboo. “When girls see other women doing this job, they feel that they can do it too” Xian Zhang, world renowned orchestra conductor buy-side traders, Anita was joined by ladies who currently run buy-side trading desks at their firms within these asset classes. The afternoon session on both days headlined ‘A head trader’s perspective – organising the trading desk and managing staff careers’ was led by an all ladies panel which was a huge success. The first day kicked off with Anita being joined by Eden Simmer, head of global trading at PIMCO, 18 The discussion also allowed for the audience to air views, with some responding that the initiative might be perceived as a “feminist campaign”. The initiative, is however about introducing and encouraging more women to apply for buy-side trading roles – rather than an employer choosing a candidate because they are a woman. Why are there so few women in buy-side trading? There were a lot of thought-provoking comments that came from the 2-day discussion on this topic and with the Spring 2019