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Tom Stevenson,

Head of Equity Trading - EMEA at Fidelity International

Which will be the key areas of focus for your trading desk in 2023?

The ability to adapt to the evolving needs of our clients is key, and creating the requisite scale and efficiency requires strong collaboration between the business, Technology and Data teams. The coming year will see continued focus on this, as we look to equip our traders with the right tools to manage a large and complex blotter, while adding increasing value to the investment process. We have made a great effort at FIL enhance our intelligence sharing across our global trading teams and asset classes, and this will continue in the coming year as we leverage the different skills and technologies required for a world class trading desk.

Which is the biggest market structure issue in your opinion?


There is clearly a lot to choose from here, as evidenced by the sheer volume of consultations that we are asked to engage in. The impending T+1 settlement cycle change in the US (and implications for Europe) is important, as is the desire for a real time, pre-trade Consolidated Tape. For me though, European and UK divergence/convergence is something I pay close attention to, particularly with regard to any changes in the Share Trading Obligation, as that could have a significant impact on liquidity access for some of our investors. All of this said, I do feeI that sometimes the industry gets distracted by specific topics and misses the bigger picture - that we want our region to have efficient, liquid markets that attract companies and investors. When I speak to peers in the industry we all just want what is best for our end investors and when markets and liquidity access become too complex, I think that can have a detrimental impact.

Which focus area would you like to see progressed by the end of 2023?


This is a familiar one, and I am at risk of repeating others, but I very much hope we some progress in the electronification of the IPO and book building processes. In a market so focused on technological innovation, the fact deals are still run in basically the same fashion as when I first started out is surprising. These are often some of the largest orders a trader will handle, and the transmission of both order interest and deal updates remains incredibly manual - for both buy side and sell side. There are vendors innovating in the space and I know many on the buy side are hopeful some of these may gain traction in the coming year, particularly if we see a rebound in capital markets activity.

What are your thoughts about attracting the next generation of talent into trading?


We as an industry need to be serious about promoting Diversity and Inclusion within Trading if we want to attract the best of the next generation. I am very fortunate to lead a diverse team of talented people from a variety of backgrounds, who care deeply about equality and lowering the ladder for others coming after them. I can see first-hand how this brings diversity of thought to our team, which helps us adapt to change and embrace new ideas. The more we as a trading community can do to highlight the success of people from underrepresented backgrounds, and the benefits of an inclusive team, the more chance we have of finding new talents. If traders are only sourced from the traditional routes, our chances of innovation and new ideas are reduced. I do think there is both the appetite and momentum for change within trading now, as evidenced by initiatives such as Sustainable Trading, and we need to harness that as an industry. Perhaps a fresh look at the merits of reducing market hours could also help here! While my own view is the benefits are primarily cost focused, we should also acknowledge that having some of the longest trading hours in the world might not be too attractive to those top talents who could enter other industries, or those whose lives require more flexibility.


Top positive tips for your peers and colleagues in trading? Power of #buysidepositivity


Our people are our greatest assets and leaders should invest the appropriate amount of time understanding what they need to succeed. Actively engaged management is key - listening, developing and helping our people to grow. The culture in a team is a good sign of how effectively the individuals are being managed and how conducive the environment is for them to thrive. I take great pride in how collaborative, adaptable and innovative our team is, both individually and collectively. If we want our people to perform at elite levels with positivity and passion, we need curate this culture on an ongoing basis.

And a personal one to force myself to take action at the start of the year - regular exercise and time out is so important, for both physical and mental health. I know from experience how easy it is to fall out of good routines when work or life becomes challenging, particularly for traders working the hours we do. That is why taking the time for self-care is so important, and has a direct correlation to performance in my view. Time to dust off the trainers!

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