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May 25, 2007

JonesTrading Looks High & Low

By Michael Scotti

 A third-market broker known for its block trading prowess has reached into the low-touch, electronic trading world to name its new president and COO. JonesTrading named Will Geyer, who headed alternative trading at Citigroup for the last five years, to lead the firm's new strategic effort. The firm recently got a $50 million cash infusion from a private equity investor (see related story in this issue).

CEO Packy Jones said hiring Geyer made sense because JonesTrading needed greater insight into electronic trading, an area that is not its strength. Geyer will adapt technology to the firm's high-touch model. Although early information suggests the firm may have some type of indication-of-interest system on tap, Jones said there is no specific strategy at this point. As the firm studies the marketplace, "there will be opportunities out there," Jones said.

Geyer, who ran trading at Barclays Global Advisors Investors for six years before moving to the sellside, said he thinks electronic trading may have run its course in the markets. Electronic trading tools add efficiency to the process and are effective for the large-cap stocks, Geyer said. However, once the buyside looks to trade the less liquid stocks with algorithms, "automating those trades can cause damage and isn't the best way to execute a difficult stock," he added.

Mike Hornbuckle, former president of JonesTrading, continues at the firm and will oversee client relations, work with key accounts and work with sales traders to manage their accounts, Jones said.