Veteran-Owned Firm Looks to Expand in Equities
Traders Magazine Online News, April 12, 2012
Academy Securities, a veteran-owned brokerage, has a vision of how the three-year old company will expand its fledgling equities trading business. Academy's mandate is to give U.S. military veterans a shot at a Wall Street career.
Its game plan is to marry two types of veterans: Those who have served their country and are hungry to learn the trading business and veterans of the Street willing to share their knowledge and be mentors.
San Diego, Calif.-based Academy's objectives, according to Jamie Atwell, director of trading at Academy, is to give back to the men and women who served the country after 9/11 and create a firm that has a 50/50 split between Wall Street pros and combat vets. These veterans, he added, have one of the highest unemployment rates in the U.S. The agency broker is a certified Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business.
"We are definitely in a hiring mode," Atwell said. "We're looking at opening offices in San Francisco, Chicago--wherever there's a fit and a need. There's a lot of Wall Street talent out there and we're in a fortunate time period. We're also looking to recruit and hire more post-9/11 vets."
There's been a huge push of late among U.S. corporations to hire war vets. And hiring disabled military veterans for second careers in finance is not limited to Academy. Other firms such as Drexel Hamilton, a full-service institutional broker-dealer, is also a certified SDVOB. It also looks to create a 50/50 split between financial veterans and combat vets.
According to recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the unemployment rate for combat veterans overall is around 7.5 percent-it is worse for those recently returning from service-10.3 percent.
Most of the Wall Street candidates that Academy has been interviewing and hiring have 20 or more years of experience in trading. Many have bulge bracket experience. The firm recently opened a midtown-Manhattan office, which is staffed by three sales traders. The NYC trading desk is run by Michael Naidrich.
Naidrich, a 20 plus year veteran, joined Academy from Nerus Partners, where he was chief operating officer. Prior to that, he was a founding and managing partner at agency broker-dealer Nova Capital Markets. He also was a senior vice president at Moors & Cabot, where he created a NYSE direct access desk focused on trade execution for buyside and sellside desks.
Atwell hopes to double the size of New York office's trading staff by year-end, to six. All told, Academy employs six veterans, four of whom are sales traders located in San Diego. Also, Atwell is recruiting military veterans to work out of the newly-opened New York office. The overall goal is hire 10 veterans over the next year.
Also, the firm's president, Phil McConkey, has 15 years Wall Street experience, including working for G.G.E.T., an institutional broker- dealer. McConkey, a Naval Academy graduate, is best known for snagging passes from Phil Simms on the New York Giants-one of which was in Super Bowl XXI.
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