Commentary

Tim Quast
Traders Magazine Online News

We're All HFTs Now

In this guest commentary, author Tim Quast looks back at the history of HFT and how the market has evolved to where many firms now fit the definition of high-frequency trader.

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July 31, 2001

Looking For a Few Good Pros

By Sanford Wexler

While some firms are trimming their staff, J. Alexander Securities, a proprietary trading firm, is looking to add a few top-notch traders.

The Los Angeles-based firm, which was founded in 1979 by Jim Alexander, makes markets in some 700 Nasdaq and OTC Bulletin Board stocks. It has 15 traders and is seeking to hire five additional traders for its satellite office in Aventura, Fla.

"The whole industry is cutting back and we are expanding," said Alexander, the firm's president boasted. "We just feel that this middle market needs more attention and we are taking on more traders to service this market."

Alexander said, despite the sluggish Nasdaq market, there are great opportunities to be realized by trading "middle market" stocks (companies that are generating from $100 million to a billion dollars in revenues).

"Being a market maker gives you a window to a company," he said. "It gives you a marvelous insight into a company."

J. Alexander's head trader, Dick Newberg, said the firm has high standards. It is only interested in hiring traders who know how to skillfully trade.

"What is classified as traders in other firms are really order clerks," he said. "They are not traders in the sense of putting up risk capital. We are looking for a certain type of individual who has the instinctive ability to determine which way a market is heading."