WSW 2014: Trailblazing and Trading Are In Jennifer Setzenfand’s Blood

Industry Trailblazer Award

Jennifer Setzenfand


Jennifer Setzenfand, a senior equity trader at Federated Investments, is a second-generation trader. Her father, Dennis Green, spent 38 years in the Nasdaq/OTC world, running desks in Cleveland, Chicago and Baltimore.

It was in the blood.

Besides a passion for trading, the father-daughter act also shares one other career similarity: both were chairman of the Security Traders Association. Her father held that distinction in 1990 while she held it in 2012.

An initial interest in photography at college soon gave way to an affinity for economics and business. Setzenfand graduated in 1995 with a degree in finance from Ohio University.

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After an internship as a runner on the floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange, Setzenfand confided to her father that she was interested in trading and wanted to take the next step. She decided to look for a job in trading after graduation.

Even today, that fascination for trading early on still holds true as continues her journey.

My ability to be a trailblazer is not totally of my own credit, She told Traders. I believe that some women make their way with sheer determination, hard work, and their own will power. Others, like me, rely heavily on the support of amazing mentors, bosses, family and friends.

Setzenfand’s first job out of college was at Nasdaq market maker Mayer & Schweitzer in Chicago. There, she worked as a desk assistant for veteran trader Tom DeCarlo. She would learn trading from the ground up-most importantly, the meaning of the bid-ask spread. Her mentor Allison Stifel showed her the ropes and soon thereafter, her pad.

I have a long history of working for amazing women, from Allison Stifel at Mayer and Schweitzer, where I started my career, to Diane Startari, the current Head of Global Equity Trading here at Federated today, she said.

Setzenfand has heeded her father’s advice throughout her career, and one particular bit of counsel helped bring her to Federated Investors. “My dad told me that I should look to go to the buyside,” she explained, because it would allow her to trade more instruments.

Besides equities, Setzenfand now trades structured notes, convertibles, options and futures. She finds that diversity stimulating.

Adaptability is what makes a good trader, she pointed out, and knowing when to use an electronic tool or human intervention can be crucial.

It makes the journey much easier to have the support of great women. With that being said I think that my ability to succeed has been based on a willingness to accept help and ask for it when needed. As we all know, relationships are everything in this business.