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BNP Asset Management's Pojarliev discusses a variety of options to address foreign currency exposures. Although there is no single best-practice solution for addressing foreign currency exposures, institutional investors have three main choices, he says.

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August 1, 2013

A Program Trader's Rise

By Alan Rubenfeld

Ironically, Radtke's biggest competitors on the Street are many of the traders who learned the art and science of portfolio risk trading under his tutelage. His former colleagues now hold management positions at institutions such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse.

It has been a long and difficult road, but Radtke has helped to bring Barclays into the top tier of global portfolio trading brokers. Reflecting on the changes of the past few years, Radtke zeroed in on two. "First, despite the considerable increase in electronic trading, the high-touch business remains the place for brokers to achieve the highest returns and add value to their customers," he said. "From a client perspective, the biggest change has been the increase in order transparency. Today, the customer can control his or her order from start to finish, see where and at what level each execution occurs, and receive real-time P&L updates, as well as comprehensive pre- and post-trade reports.

Looking back over his 25 years on Wall Street, Radtke definitely wishes he had a few mulligans: "My biggest failure has been trying to be a perfectionist. It has always been difficult for me if I did not see everyone else bringing the same level of intensity that I did. But the only people I yelled at were the ones I cared about. You can't take away the intensity of the job, but you have to be able to channel it to achieve a productive result. I am still learning to do that. Sometimes what some perceive as anger is just me focusing and doing the best job of which I am capable."


Editor's note: The author worked with Radtke on Deutsche Bank's program trading desk between 1996 and 2006.



Rules to Trade By

There's no doubt Barclays' Jeff Radtke has learned a thing or two in two decades on the Street's top program trading desks. He shares with us some of his insights and personal rules.

Every trade should always lead to another trade. "Whenever we trade a portfolio rebalance or addition/deletion to an index, I always think about how we want to be positioned coming out of the event. For example, if there is a large buy of an individual name, we would determine whether or not we want to have a short position coming out in order to play the potential reversion and if so, how much risk do we think makes sense. Each trade has its own unique strategy."

Stay on the desk. "You cannot be a manager of risk if you are sitting in a glass office in the corner. It is impossible to understand changes in micro market structure and its impact on daily liquidity if you are not rolling up your sleeves and are part of the action. I regularly slice up and trade baskets - it is the only way to stay in tune with the pulse of the market. As soon as I start delegating all the trading responsibilities, I will start losing the insight as to what clients really care about."