Hot 100: Carl James, Pictet Asset Management

With The Trade's Hot 100 handbook due to publish next week, we continue our buy-side previews.  Today we chart Carl James's journey through the industry.
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Carl James, 49, is global head of fixed income trading at Pictet Asset Management, a post he has held since October 2015, which involved a move to Geneva.

His new role at Pictet involves making sure the company adheres to that latest regulatory rules while taking advantage of new technologies.

Naturally, this is while aiming to reduce explicit and implicit trading costs by using dealers’ skill and experience.

James’s career in the City began after leaving school when he secured a job as a market maker with stockjobbers Akroyd & Smithers at 19. He moved internally, to SG Warburg’s, to work as a sales trader in pan-European equities. The company later became part of UBS.

James moved from the sell-side to the buy-side, working for Phillips & Drew Fund Management, also part of UBS. He was responsible for derivatives, program trading and international trading.

When Phillips & Drew merged with UBS Global Asset Management and Brinson, James became head of pan-Asian trading and spent five years living and working in Asia including stints in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Describing this as a “watershed moment”, he took on more of a tactical and strategic role than previously.

James returned to London to work for Henderson Global Investors, as global head of trading.

He merged the three separate equity, fixed income and derivative dealing desks, and implemented a single order management system as well as opening Asia and US live dealing.

After five years he moved to Fortis Investment Management, shortly after the ABN and Bank of Scotland merger. There, he became global head of dealing and introduced a global trading platform for the newly merged entity.

He went on to work for BNP Paribas IP, after its takeover of Fortis, focusing on fixed income. There, he developed the bank’s outsourced buy-side dealing operation.

Outside of work James is a keen cyclist, covering about 7,000km each year. One of his biggest rides has been from London to Monaco, an 880-mile ride which took eight days.

James is also a voracious reader and enjoys politics, technology, behavioural science and economics. He especially likes to read books that make you think laterally, and question or challenge current thinking, such as ‘The Zero Marginal Cost Society’ by Jeremy Rifkin, or attending events such as The Kilkenomics Festival labelled by some as ‘Davos with jokes’.