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Spot light on Justin Sham, Fixed Income Bond Trader, Morgan Stanley Investment Management  

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?

MSIM was very much on the front foot though in terms of response and reaction times. We already had a robust work from home / disaster recovery technology framework in place from long before COVID was a thing

so activating it on a wider scale was, at least conceptually, easy. Obviously practicalities of getting everyone hardware at home was a logistical challenge, imagine Santa’s workshop of activity, to package up

PCs/monitors/mice etc etc into boxes and couriered out across the country but we did very well I think and in hindsight I’d say it was an exciting and pride-inducing sight to see the MSIM machine spring into action. Many of us were already equipped to handle working from home in a disaster situation so like the Scouts motto : Be Prepared.   

Which projects have you successfully worked on this year?

This has been a year for going back to basics – preserving relationships and finding liquidity for our clients. Grandiose projects took a backseat to survival – so as a ‘project’ I’d say we’ve been a success.


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

I think that many desks will become redundant unless they evolve post pandemic. Through unchecked automation more and more functions have been able to be performed by Operations rather than traders

who know the products, the markets and the market participants. If you’re not even clicking buttons nowadays not only can it be done by someone else – it can be done by something else.


Also while TCA analysis and other endeavours are useful – what we learnt was that pricing sources struggled to keep up with the market movements this year – making much of that data redundant.


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

Put yourselves in your counterparties shoes – treat them with respect and you’ll get better execution and enjoy the job a lot more.


What top tips do you use to optimise your mental health? #buysidementalhealth campaign 2020 by the Buy-side Trading Community (BTC)

If you do a job you love you’ll never do a day of work in your life – mental health is what you make of it. Remember that the sun will set and rise regardless of whether you worry and stress or not. Reality check what you’re doing and realise chances are it could be worse.


What has been your career path before your current role?


Very scenic I’d say – one thing that inspires me to talk to young people about our industry is that I never really knew what it was all about. I had an idea – but in terms of exposure to people who did the jobs and the roles themselves – I was fairly clueless. Too much for me to type though….not straight from Uni that’s for sure!

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