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September 2, 2013

Turning Warriors Into Wall Streeters and More

By John D'Antona Jr. and Peter Chapman

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Turning Warriors Into Wall Streeters

Three years ago, Charles Reeder was a Marine machine gunner in Iraq. Now he's studying to become a floor trader at the New York Stock Exchange.


"I decided I wanted a career on Wall Street when a fellow veteran took me down to the trading floor and showed me how my skills on the battlefield, such as quick strategic thinking in the face of extreme consequences, were applicable in the financial markets," Reeder said.

It is the moral imperative of the United States and Wall Street to help returning combat veterans. And there is no better place than Wall Street to turn warriors into traders.

That's the thinking of Jim Cahill, president at Drexel Hamilton, a broker-dealer owned by veterans who were disabled while serving, founded on the principle of offering meaningful employment opportunities to disabled veterans.

It is a mission also supported by NYSE Euronext, which offers combat veterans a 10-week internship/education course designed to help returning warriors transition into financial and corporate service careers in the civilian workforce. The program, now in its second year, is designed exclusively for U.S. military veterans, providing practical, hands-on training, experience and resources.

Call it Operation Enduring Employment.

"We're going way out of our way to get veterans, either disabled or not, hired and on their way to great careers and the best possible jobs," Cahill told Traders Magazine. "Wall Street and the financial industry should be bringing these people along."

While the national unemployment rate is currently at 7.4 percent, the jobless rate for post-Gulf War II veterans is higher, hovering around the 10 percent mark in 2012, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor. In 2012, the unemployment rate for male Gulf War II-era veterans ages 18 to 24 was 20 percent, higher than the rate for non-veterans of the same age group (16.4 percent).

And it doesn't matter to Cahill or Drexel if those it trains move on to other firms or stay on. The bottom line, Cahill said, was to get veterans working.

-John D'Antona Jr.


Sun Trading to Acquire Options Market Maker

Sun Holdings, the parent company of Sun Trading, will acquire options market maker Toro Trading.

Sun Trading, a Chicago-based high-speed trading shop with about 100 employees, focuses primarily on cash equities in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Toro, with nine employees, is a New York-based options market maker. At presstime, the deal was expected to close Aug. 30

The deal is expected to diversify Sun Trading's expertise and geographic reach, the company said in a statement. Sun will maintain an office in New York and retain Toro's principals, Danon Robinson, Adam Besch-Turner and Joshua Jackson.

Sun Trading expects its new presence in New York City to "increase our ability to attract even more of the industry's top trading talent and to continue to grow our firm," Sun Holdings chief executive Bernard Dan said in the statement.

Sun Trading plans to grow the New York operation, hiring Talha Chaudhry, formerly a senior risk official at MF Global, to recruit trading pros.

The move is Sun Trading's second attempt at options trading. In 2011, the firm fired about one-third of its staff, including its options trading employees.

- Peter Chapman


New Venues Planned

Two more trading venues are slated to open later this year.