Spot light on Kevin White, Global Head of Alternatives Trading at Invesco 

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?

One of the key advantages for the Global Multi Asset Derivatives Desk was our ability to transition to a home set up in a seamless fashion. This was aided by our Business Continuity Program (BCP) which had already rolled out home setup capabilities for traders across our global investment centres, which was part of our BAU offering. The smooth transition enabled the team to experience zero disruption on our trading coverage model.

All desks experienced the huge disruptions in spreads, market depth and some inability to access normal liquidity. The key advantage for our global desks was our ability to adapt our execution model enabling the use of various smart order routing technologies via both High touch and Low touch Algo connectivity. This coupled with a flexible approach to usage, depending on liquidity and trade requirements.

One of the key learnings for the team was around who our key partners on the sell side community really were, and in the main, most providers stepped up.

 

Which projects have you successfully worked on this year?

Increasing our execution coverage model via Systematic Trading in the listed futures space. We as a firm have been using low touch connectivity for a considerable amount of time and the next step was to introduce a Futures Algo Wheel structure. We currently have 5 Algo Wheels in place, aligned to key various implementation strategies. The concept around crawl/walk/run, with the first part being adoption, usage of Algos and removing any broker selection biases and now the walk part of the equation, is around evaluation of the strategies and reviewing wheel weightings to reward relative outperformance.

We have also looked at evolving our broker connectivity and creating broker review templates for all our derivatives activity. This project helped with our communication, collaboration and transparency with the sell side community.

LIBOR reform and the shift to alternative RFRs

 

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

I think the key word will be flexibility. We have all shown that a remote working solution can work but you do miss the face to face interactions and bouncing ideas off each other.

I do see a combination of both an office based and a WFH culture but a renewed emphasis on being in the office, especially on the trading desk.

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

Hard work and focus on quality over quantity, dedication and most importantly, listening.

Technology and electronification around execution outcomes are key themes and will continue to be for many years. A detailed proactive understanding of these themes and be prepared to bring other skills to the table. Coding will become a key required skill and the need for market standard qualifications.

We as human beings are always learning and never be embarrassed to ask a question.

 

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

We at Invesco have been very lucky with the various programs and access we have internally. Mental Health and Mental Wellbeing is at the forefront of all our minds, and Invesco continues to be committed to ensuring that we are all working in a safe and supportive environment where Mental Wellbeing can be openly talked about and people have the support and help they need.
 
We have also partnered with Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England to provide interesting, informative and interactive learning that will enable us to understand more about mental wellbeing, the signs to look out for in our teams, and some hints and tips to support us to have effective conversations about this sensitive topic.

I personally have a passion for triathlons and my escape has been getting out on my road bike and enjoying the country lanes.
 

What has been your career path before your current role?

From a very young age, I was always fascinated by the “City” and markets. I was lucky enough to join a small stockbroker, literally a few weeks before Big Bang. My blue button career lasted all of a few weeks before the shift away from the stock exchange floor to electronic trading. I spent a lot of happy years with Marshall & Co Stockbrokers before moving to Guardian Royal Exchange (GRE) to help run the Foreign Exchange and Money Markets desk. My next stop was Hermes, who at the time ran the Post Office and BT pension schemes. My remit expanded to cover all things derivatives and I progressed to being part of the Asset Allocation Overlay Team, heading up the Execution Team and running an options overlay book aligned to the BT Pension overlay management.  I spent over 13 years with the group before being asked to join MSIM to build out a derivatives capability. My time at MSIM was cut short when Invesco bought the part of the business I was aligned to. I have now been at Invesco for 11+ years and no two years have ever been the same.