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March 23, 2005

The Fast Track in Paradise

By Gregory Bresiger

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  • The Fast Track in Paradise

Steve Tullar doesn't have to listen to traffic reports in the morning. He doesn't have to wonder why the Long Island Railroad is 45 minutes late. He doesn't have to sit in the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan wondering when he will finally arrive home. Tullar, a prototypical trading industry executive, rarely is stuck in traffic. His blood pressure never rises when he gets behind the wheel for the morning commute. That's because Tullar made a lifestyle choice in his executive job.

His employer, JonesTrading Institutional Services, wants it that way. The firm looks for offices that are not in the middle of a big city. It believes a de-stressed trader can work hard and efficiently.

Tullar, managing director and head of sales for JonesTrading, concedes that he is a lucky man. The 36-year-old trading pro lives about two miles - a leisurely five-minute commute - away from his office in upscale Aspen, Colorado. Aside from some celebrity sightings and the panoramic views, this locale reminds Tullar of his childhood.

"I've always loved the mountains. I grew up in California where I spent a lot of time outdoors," he says. Tullar, who was born in Long Beach, California, and came to love the Big Bear Lake area, is in the right place.

His office is one block removed from the ski slope. He loves skiing in the nearby mountains. He will often go hiking at the White River National Forest, backpacking through the country by using a series of huts, or cabins, which were constructed for an army division that was training for mountain fighting in World War II.

Tullar, married and the father of three, can follow these pastimes because he is in the middle of this picture postcard country, a part of the nation that bears no resemblance to Midway, Broadway, Sunset Blvd. or downtown Flushing. "We are living the dream," Tullar says. "I've got a New York job a block away from a world class ski slope."

Domestic Operations

Tullar oversees JonesTrading's domestic operations, an agency block trading business. The mix is generally split between listed and over-the-counter. There are some 10 offices in the United States, with about 80 traders and 20 sales assistants.

JonesTrading - formerly Jones & Associates - has been Tullar's choice throughout his adult life. He joined straight out of school in 1991. He began at the Los Angeles office, making stops in New York and Orlando before coming to Aspen. That's the town in which his wife, Holly, was raised. Tullar came to Aspen in 1994.

Tullar was trained by Packy Jones, the chairman of JonesTrading and the son of one of the founders of the 30-year-old firm. But Tullar will also tell you that he - and his trading colleagues at JonesTrading offices across the United States - benefit from the company's general avoidance of the big cities. The offices - with few exceptions - are in some of the most beautiful parts of the nation. And the firm wants it that way.