Bodine Retires from General Motors

The buyside trading community will lose one of its leading voices come Monday. George Bodine is retiring, and today marks his last day as director of trading at General Motors Asset Management.

“I would have done this job for a lot less money,” says Bodine, a 34-year trading veteran. “We had so much fun. We saw tomorrow’s newspaper today and reacted to the news as it came out. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”

Bodine is retiring from GMAM after 12 years there, but he will not be leaving the industry. He will begin working for QSG in late November and will head its research trading area. He plans to open a New York office for the Naperville, Ill.-based firm that specializes in quantitative analysis for both traders and portfolio managers.

The goal, he says, is to “closer align the interests of traders and portfolio managers” with pre-trade analysis and transaction costs measurement. “I’m really excited,” says Bodine, who was among a select group of GMAM employees who were offered an attractive retirement package.

Bodine has been a frequent speaker at industry events and was also featured in the July 2005 issue of Traders Magazine. Indeed, his opinion has been sought out by many in the industry and for good reason.

Over the last dozen years, Bodine has held a position that has allowed him to review the trading practices of more than 50 money managers. Consequently, the trading veteran has had a bird’s-eye view into the dramatic changes in technology and regulation that have transformed equity trading.

He also saw the best practices of trading desks at the firms investing the pension fund’s $130 billion. “I learned a lot,” Bodine says. “I not only got to see firms’ trading process, but also how they interacted with their portfolio managers and with the Street.”

Bodine is among a small group of current Wall Street pros whose career began before Mayday–when commissions were deregulated in 1975. That January, nearly 34 years ago, Bodine joined the Equitable Life trading desk.

At the Equitable, he also ran the back office, a money market fund and traded options. Bodine worked on the trading desk during the heyday of block trading–a time when personalities such as Stanley Shopkorn at Salomon Brothers and Bob Mnuchin at Goldman Sachs were household names in trading.

But what sticks out most for Bodine about the trading industry is the integrity of the people. “I cannot ever remember anyone ever backing out of a trade, and I can only think of two or three instances when I could not come to an agreement after I had already traded, and that speaks volumes about the honesty and the integrity of the people in the industry.”