People in The Trade: Mark Denny – Investec

Mark Denny, head of dealing (global markets) at Investec Asset Management goes 60 seconds with The Trade.

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Mark Denny, head of dealing (global markets) at Investec goes 60 seconds with The Trade:

1.   What constitutes a typical day in the office?

It’s a 7am start for the London Dealing Desk. With team I’ll be gathering information from overnight markets and ensuring all orders are being handled by a relevant Dealer and discuss strategies when necessary. Also, we chat over Skype with our Dealer in Hong Kong.

It’s an 8am breakfast from the canteen, and then an 8.30am morning meeting with the UK equity Team, with the Dealing Desk leading with the news. Then I chat with the Operational Team to ensure everything is running smoothly.

We might have a dealing & operational due diligence presentation to one of our clients; this could be a new prospect or an annual review. Also, we may meet with one of our execution counterparties to discuss market structure and developments. Lunch is taken at the desk, and we then talk with our Dealing Desk in Cape Town. Fire-fight the emails! 

2.   How did you get to working in your current position?

I spent the first two years of my career working in equity and bond settlements which laid the foundations well for me to then join a dealing desk as a trainee dealer – which is where I still am today.

3.   What regulatory changes are having the most significant impact on your day-to-day workload?

There have been many regulatory changes in the recent past and new ones proposed for the near future which have a direct effect on trade execution. Market structure liberalisation, post-trade information, pre-trade information, unbundling, commission sharing, Basel III etc. etc. all of which have both intended and unintended consequences and whether good or bad they are all things that play a big part in our day-to-day workload.

4.   What is the business doing to ensure it achieves best possible execution for clients?

The most important thing is to have an independent, un-conflicting multi-asset centralised dealing desk with very solid processes and procedures that all contribute to the best possible execution result for our clients. Hiring the right talent and instilling the right culture is a very important ingredient here. Of course having the right execution tools at your fingertips is also very important. We have built our Dealing Desk to ensure we have 24-hour global coverage by fully utilising our offices in London, Hong Kong and cape Town.

5.   How would you describe the relationship between traders / portfolio managers at the organisation? (These may be the same person!)

The Dealing Desk is very independent from the portfolio managers with regards to the execution process but at the same time does work very closely with them. We effectively view portfolio managers as clients in the way that we listen to their thoughts around the rationale for the trade (e.g. any price limits they may have) and we manage expectations over the time it may take to complete the order as well as pricing and impact feedback. 

6.   Where are you focussing on developing the trading function at present (improving the OMS / EMS, a increased focus on Transaction Cost Analysis, Improving Fixed Income capability, etc.)

We are happy with our multi-asset OMS/EMS solutions at present but are always keeping an eye on developments in other products. Liquidity in fixed income as we all know has become very problematic over the last few months so it has been important for us to be involved in some of the initiatives that are trying to bring together what little fragmented liquidity there is in the market. We have also spent a fair amount of time and resources improving our equity TCA capabilities recently and are working on solutions for foreign exchange and bonds as well.