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 27, 2005

From P & L to Nirvana

By Michael Scotti

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  • From P & L to Nirvana

(Traders Magazine, July 2005) -- As a former market maker, Joseph Feeney has gone from reviewing his P & L daily to a more holistic approach toward trading.

"On the buyside, it's more about teamwork and how the firm, or the team does," confides Feeney, the head trader at the $4.2-billion Sentinel Advisors in Montpelier, Vt. "When you're a market maker, it's all P & L, so it's very simple: You either made money, or you lost money."

"I like the buyside," Feeney said. "There are no egos here, and we're beating our benchmarks." Both the Sentinel Common Stock Fund and the Sentinel Small Company Fund are in Morningstar's top quartile, sometimes elbowing their way into the top decile, he points out.

Feeney confesses that it is easier to trade for successful stock pickers. But there is a driving force behind this former market maker's desire to get the best prices. It's more than just fulfilling his fiduciary duty, Feeney says, and that added incentive is the leeway the portfolio managers give their trading desk.

And he doesn't want to disappoint them. "They give us the opportunity to do what they pay us to do," Feeney says. "We don't have any problem with pulling an order, if we think we can buy it cheaper later on in the day."

It might make sense, then, that Plexus Group ranks the desk as "positive value-added" vs. its peer group.


"There are no egos here [at Sentinel], and we're beating our benchmarks."