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Career case studies: Trading

Bobby Ahluwalia

Bobby Ahluwalia is an associate director within Scotia Capital’s equity derivatives trading division. He graduated from The University of Ottawa with a degree in Finance in 2006. That same year, he joined Scotia Capital’s global trading associate program.

How did you get to where you are today?

I secured a position at Scotia Capital as part of its Global Trading Associate Program after completion of my undergraduate degree. This provided me with an introduction to the various capital markets businesses across the firm’s offices in Toronto, New York and London. Following several rotations I joined a newly-created cross-products group in London. After spending four years as part of this team, I relocated to our New York office to join the equity derivatives sales and trading desk in early 2010.

What makes a good trader?

Being a highly specialised business by nature, it is often difficult for to expand your skill-set beyond an individual role. Today, being able to adapt and broaden ones skills across products, functions and geographies is becoming increasingly valuable.

What about it appeals to you personally?

The uncertainty of day-to-day market events creates a highly-energized atmosphere that is exciting and challenging. Beyond the stimulating aspects of the trading floor, I find the entrepreneurial characteristics of the job appealing.

What have you found most challenging?

Regardless of size, location or capabilities you are constantly faced with strong competition from your industry peers.

What makes you good at your job?

I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with many great individuals and senior leaders. Early in my career I made a point to not only seek the advice of these people, but also to try and instil in myself the superior qualities that have made them successful.

What’s the best part of your job?

No two days are the same. One day I can be meeting clients in Italy, the next teaching options theory to a roomful of interns or working on a new tool.

Any bad bits?

Sometimes it can be extremely fast-paced, which means you have to be able to think on your feet and work well under pressure.

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