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April 1, 2014

The Second Time Around

The Second-Term Mandate: A Q&A with Patrick Armstrong

By Phil Albinus

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When it comes to U.S. presidencies, the second term is usually when the trouble starts: Watergate, Iran-Contra, Monica Lewinsky, the unraveling of Iraq and the Wall Street bailouts. Patrick Armstrong is the first president of the Securities Traders Association of New York to hold the office for two consecutive terms. In his day job, he is a managing director of Prime Executions, the agency-only broker, and he is overseeing the opening of a new office in San Francisco. Traders caught up with President and Governor Armstrong-he was named a governor of the STA recently-and asked for his thoughts on what worries his clients, the rumbling of new rules and regulations coming Washington, D.C., and how the relationship between the buyside and sellside has evolved. One thing is clear: The coming year looks like a busy one for the 41-year-old Armstrong.

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TRADERS: You're the first president to have back-to-back terms at STANY. Can you tell us what you want to accomplish this year as president?

PATRICK ARMSTRONG: I've taken on a couple of new roles this year. I've also been elected to an STA governorship as well, so I'm balancing the national me versus the New York me. On top of that, I've just transitioned out to San Francisco, where I'm opening a West Coast office for PrimeEx, and I've put it to my constituency. I knew I was going to be moving and it was going to be difficult to maintain my New York relationships, but they insisted on having me continue. So, I travel back once a month for a week or so, and continue to keep moving the organization forward.

 

TRADERS: Besides the weather, why is PrimeEx opening an office in San Francisco?

ARMSTRONG: We think there's a lot of opportunity out here. Being a traditional New York Stock Exchange-based firm, we just feel like the message gets lost by the time it gets out to the West Coast. There are big opportunities to get some business from the West Coast.

 

TRADERS: Is private equity a spur for this?

ARMSTRONG: No, this is all traditional broker-dealer and research.

 

TRADERS: Back to STANY: What's the difference between a governorship and a presidency?

ARMSTRONG: So, the presidency is obviously leadership of the board in New York. An STA governor is just that: I'm on the board of the national board. The STA is a bottoms-up organization. The strength comes from the affiliates. New York, being the largest affiliate, obviously has a big role in the STA, but the STA in general has done some great work in Washington with the S.E.C. and with congressmen and senators in getting the message of some of the issues of market structure out there.

 

TRADERS: What are the top three issues for STANY and its members in 2014?