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FLASH FRIDAY: Not Your Father's New York Stock Exchange - Traders Magazine

FLASH FRIDAY is a weekly content series looking at the past, present and future of capital markets trading and technology. FLASH FRIDAY is sponsored by Instinet, a Nomura company.

Everybody knows the New York Stock Exchange has a storied past — from buttonwood trees, to ticker tape machines, to heaving trading floors.

But what does its future hold?

Traders Magazine checked in with a trio of young folks at the iconic corner of Broad Wall to get an idea.

Ryan Lee, Manager, Exchange Traded Products

Briefly describe your educational background and work experience to date.

I graduated from Boston College in 2018 with an Economics major and a Philosophy minor, and have since become a level II CFA candidate. I began working at the NYSE after graduation, helping asset managers list Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) on the NYSE and supporting their sales efforts and trading after they list. I have recently transitioned into a full-time sales role on the ETF Listings Team.

How did you get interested in the world of finance / exchanges?

In the summer of 2017, I had the opportunity to intern with Virtu Financial, helping support their institutional sales desk. I immediately fell in love with the high-speed decision-making involved in the world of capital markets, as well as the comradery of the trading floor. After that incredible experience, I could not have been more excited when I received an offer to work at the birthplace of American capital markets, the New York Stock Exchange.

What is your role and responsibilities at NYSE?

I am a Manager of Exchange Traded Products as a member of our ETF Listings Team. I work in a sales and relationship management role, both guiding asset managers new to the ETF wrapper through the listing process and towards our listing venue, and aiding the established, major players in the space with their sales and distribution and capital markets support. Two of my primary focuses are on our liquidity programs and promoting actively managed strategies in the ETF wrapper.

What is the best aspect of your job?

The relationships. I am incredibly fortunate to be a part of such a close-knit team with an amazing group of clients, many of whom I consider good friends after years of working together. Our team truly functions as consultants for asset managers large and small, which requires constant communication to best deliver our client solutions. The bonds we have formed with our clients make this communication the most fun part of my job and the reason I am excited to come into work each day.

Ryan Lee

Any aspect of the business that you think can use some disruption?

Over the past two decades, we have seen further increases in market fragmentation. I believe that on-screen liquidity is the lifeblood of efficient capital markets and that we need to drive volume back to lit venues. I believe that if we see continued fragmentation of our capital markets, the end investor may receive a worse experience, shaking their confidence in the broader financial ecosystem.

Any notable mentors, past or present, that you’d like to recognize?

Douglas Yones, Head of Exchange Traded Products at the NYSE, has been an incredible mentor since I started on his team. His ability to communicate with clients, understand their needs, and provide timely solutions to advance their business is unparalleled. He leads our team both by example and through encouragement, and has built a broader team whose members have all given me the opportunity to excel in my role and build the skills I will need in my career for years to come. Outside of a professional capacity, I would be remiss if I did not credit my parents for instilling in me the value of hard work at a young age through both their words and, more importantly, their actions.

Flash forward 20 years: What does your career look like?

I hope to be a part of a company that is continuously evaluating its opportunities and risks, and always seeking to be at the vanguard of innovation. As the home of financial innovation for the past 229 years, the New York Stock Exchange, and its parent company Intercontinental Exchange, have afforded me this ability, and I cannot imagine a place I would rather be.

Flash forward 20 years: what does the finance/fintech industry look like?

I think finance, in large part due to fintech innovations, will continue to democratize investing. From the rise of commission-free trading to the growth of ETFs, anyone with a smart phone can access US capital markets and invest in an incredibly wide range of investment strategies. I think it is imperative to level the playing field and the next step in this democratization of investing is education. Over the next 20 years, I hope to be a part of a broader industry movement to increase financial literacy around the country, and to remove any further barriers to investing for all.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I really wanted to go into sports media. I certainly did not know anything about capital markets as a kid, but I could easily rattle off the whole 25-man roster for the Yankees or tell you why the Rex Ryan Jets were going to win the Super Bowl (I am still waiting…). Though my career is no longer headed that direction, members of my team and many of our clients would tell you I still can talk about football and basketball for hours on end. 

What business leader(s) do you admire and why?

I have always admired Reed Hastings and how he built Netflix into the media giant it is today. As brilliant as the subscription-based model was for DVDs, his foresight to pivot and create the streaming service we now all use today was remarkable, completely upending television as we knew it. I am excited to see how he and his management team handle the robust competition of Disney+ and other long established media companies entering the streaming space.

What book has had the most influence on your life?

Perhaps this is a cliché answer for my generation, but the Harry Potter series led me to fall in love with reading at a very young age.

Choey Li, Quantitative Research Lead

Briefly describe your educational background and work experience.

I got dual undergraduate degrees in Mathematics and Finance from Ohio State University and Master’s degree in Financial Mathematics from University of Chicago. I worked as a risk analyst at Goldman Sachs in NYC for about two years and now am working in Quantitative Research at NYSE.

Choey Li

How did you get interested in the world of finance / exchanges?

I have always been interested in trading and investments: I like the fast-paced nature of trading where new information continuously flows and requires immediate reactions to make decisions. From the exchange point of view, I am exposed to a comprehensive dynamic of trading. It is interesting to analyze how every participant in the market interacts with each other and to form a better understanding of the overall market dynamic.

What is your role and responsibilities at NYSE?

I am in Quantitative Research, mainly focusing on trading where I construct a more comprehensive understanding of what happens in the market and come up with strategies to optimize trading activities.

What is the best aspect of your job?

The exposure to the overall market dynamic and the flexibility of creating models/strategies based on our own understanding of the market.

Any aspect of the business that you think can use some disruption?

Maybe the crypto world – it is a new rising world in finance, but the seemingly highly volatile nature of trading crypto assets might need some ways to be stabilized.

Any notable mentors, past or present, that you’d like to recognize?

My college professors and my current manager.

Flash forward 20 years: What does your career look like?

Technology will be more advanced and further integrate with businesses that now still require human input. I hope I will be able to catch up with the speed of the technology advances and to continue exploring new opportunities of innovation.

Flash forward 20 years: what does the finance/fintech industry look like?

More regulations might need to be placed on new, advanced technology to ensure a fair business environment.

How optimistic are you in your generation’s ability to step up and lead (companies, industries, governments) when the time comes?

I am positive on our generation’s ability to lead in the future: young generations have been equipped with more advanced technical skills and have been exposed to a more complicated and fast-growing industry. If we continue pursuing our curiosity for this industry, we could continue bringing innovations to the world. 

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a surgeon when I was a kid to solve medical riddles and save lives.

If you weren’t working in finance, what do you think you would be doing?

I might go for a law or medicine degree, to have some impact either in creating a fairer environment or in saving lives.

What business leader(s) do you admire and why?

Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma, Michael Bloomberg. They are very intelligent people who could see how this world evolves before the majority of us could see it.

What book has had the most influence on your life?  

I appreciate books that expose me to different perspectives of the world we live in, such as Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond.

Courtney Munro, Account Manager, Proprietary Market Data

Briefly describe your educational background and work experience.

I graduated from Fordham University in 2018 with a B.A in International Political Economy and a minor in Women’s Studies. I began my career as an Advisor Consultant at an asset management firm, where I spent two years selling mutual funds to financial advisors. In 2020, I transitioned over to the Intercontinental Exchange as an Account Manager, initially in the Desktop division of ICE Data Services, and recently as a member of the NYSE Proprietary Market Data Sales team.   

How did you get interested in the world of finance / exchanges?

As a student in a liberal arts college, I had little exposure to the world of finance and admittedly found it a bit intimidating. Despite this, I accepted a role in asset management sales after college and quickly fell in love with the fast-paced, intellectually stimulating environment. As I continued to grow my knowledge of the industry, I became fascinated by the power of the financial markets to drive innovation, diversity and social impact, which ultimately led me to pursue a career with the NYSE. 

Courtney Munro

What is your role and responsibilities at NYSE?

I am an Account Manager on the Proprietary Market Data Team here at the NYSE, which is responsible for all real-time, historic and referential data products across the five NYSE Group Exchanges. In the capacity as Account Manager, I am focused on maintaining existing client relationships and building new partnerships across various industries to expand the NYSE proprietary data footprint.  

What is the best aspect of your job?

I truly love the way my job allows me to maintain human connection and develop personal relationships in a technologically driven world. Every day presents new opportunities to meet with and learn from diverse clients across the industry, and further develop meaningful partnerships on behalf of the NYSE that help elevate our clients’ businesses. 

Flash forward 20 years: what does the finance/fintech industry look like?

I imagine the finance/fintech industry will be more diverse and accessible 20 years from now. As technology continues to evolve and entrepreneurs continue to innovate, I am confident that the finance/fintech industry will find new and exciting ways to drive equitable access to the capital markets across the globe. 

How optimistic are you in your generation’s ability to step up and lead when the time comes?

I am incredibly optimistic about my generation’s ability to lead, notably because I feel we possess a unique desire to lead with inclusivity and empathy. I am a firm believer that diverse leadership the best leadership, and I am hopeful that my generation will continue to prioritize diversity as a core tenet of business and leadership, which will drive lasting change across various industries.  

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. Though my current path has not landed me in front of a kindergarten classroom, I believe my early desire to educate, understand the needs of others and develop meaningful relationships are similarly fulfilled in my current path as a saleswoman. 

If you weren’t working in finance, what do you think you would be doing?

I think I’d likely be a lawyer. Thankfully, my sister endured three years of law school and the Bar Exam before I graduated college, which gave me just enough time to redirect my attention to a career in financial sales.

What business leader(s) do you admire and why?

I deeply admire leaders who challenge the status quo, use their power and influence to drive positive social and economic change, promote healthy, inclusive cultures and prioritize diversity within their organizations. There is no better example than the NYSE’s very own Stacey Cunningham, an inspiring trailblazer in the global markets who leads the NYSE as the company’s first female president.