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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November 1, 2001

Military Vets Take Charge

By Sanford Wexler

The military training of some traders was a critical factor in helping save many lives in the recent World Trade Center attack.

When the second airplane hit the south tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, Art Gorman, Jr., a manager of Nasdaq trading at Merrill Lynch - and a former U.S. Marine officer - stepped into combat readiness.

Gorman, who served in both the Persian Gulf War and in Somalia, commanded his troops - in this case, his fellow traders and support staff - to immediately flee the World Financial Center. It is located near the toppled twin towers and was damaged in the attack.

Gorman, along with another Merrill trader, Bruce Dillard, a former U.S. Navy pilot, led several employees to the stairwell exits.

"We saw the plume of 20 stories worth of fire," Gorman recalled. "Dillard and I said, Everybody out! Let's go! It must be some kind of attack.'"

Military vets are well represented on Wall Street. Diron Scott, another former Marine officer, who is a Nasdaq trader at W.R. Hambrecht in San Francisco, has a theory of why vets make good traders. "Marine officers are able to make decisions very quickly and they are able to work with all types of people," Scott said, "They are able to look at a scenario and come up with a detailed plan. The same applies to trading."

"You come up with a game plan in trading," he added. "You implement certain tactics." Yes, sir.