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Blue Trading System’s is a family of traders, technologists, innovators and committed professionals. The women and men that work here want to build something that not only meets demand but advances the industry. We are sharp, loyal and strategic.

Through 2018, we wanted to highlight the people behind the name. These are the ones applying their knowledge, dedicating their time and investing their money in Blue Trading Systems. We invite you to learn more about the people building our solutions.


Sue Colvin
What is your name, title and responsibilities at Blue Trading Systems?
Sue C. Colvin, Office Manager: I am responsible for administrative duties and operational efficiencies. I make sure things run smoothly in the space we work. Finally, my staff reminded me that I try to make sure there are treats available in the office for everyone as well.

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Coconut Pecan Cookies
How did you get into this field of derivatives trading? Trader or technologist?
I was fortunate enough to have my son, Trevor Colvin, include me in this adventure. We don’t say we are a family company for nothing. From the technologists to the sales managers to our clients, we really care about each other.

From your perspective, can you describe the relationship between BTS and its clients?
From my experience, BTS makes clients a primary concern and customer service is of the highest importance. We take our customer’s challenges to heart and do everything in our power to help them meet their trading technology goals.

How has BTS evolved since you started at the company?
Each year I have seen growth in the company and the individuals developing their product. This is especially true for 2017 when we expanded from providing an options trading platform to helping traders in the futures space too. It was nice to see the team recognize a void in the market as well as how their strengths could meet that need.

What is your favorite piece of advice regarding trading, technology, the markets, leadership?
I feel that leadership is critical in motivating employees. My favorite piece of advice was issued by Phil Jackson, coach of the Chicago Bulls: Wisdom is always an overmatch for strength and good leadership should balance criticism with equal amounts of praise.

If you had to pick, what animal would you be and why?
I would be a dolphin. Their ability to have fun, and of course their intelligence. Dolphins seem so kind and sensitive and have the sweetest faces.

Blue Trading System’s is a family of traders, technologists, innovators and committed professionals. The women and men that work here want to build something that not only meets demand but advances the industry. We are sharp, loyal and strategic.

Through 2018, we wanted to highlight the people behind the name. These are the ones applying their knowledge, dedicating their time and investing their money in Blue Trading Systems. We invite you to learn more about the people building the solutions.


Jake Norbut
What is your name, title and responsibilities at Blue Trading Systems?
Jacob Norbut, Software Engineer these days, but as my partner Taha Afzal mentioned, we all wear many hats here at BTS. I’m currently working on various facets of our client GUI for our new futures platform, BTS Spark. Prior to my move to a more development-focused role, I trained and managed our operations staff, as well as was responsible for all client onboarding.

How did you get into this field of derivatives trading? Trader or technologist?
Technologist. Out of college I was working outside of the trading industry as an SAP consultant. I got a call from Kevin one day (we’ve been friends since the 7th grade and were college roommates) and he mentioned Blue Capital Group was about to deploy an electronic trading system and they needed an operations leader who could understand the trading system from top to bottom. I met with the team, and the rest as they say, is history.

From your perspective, can you describe the relationship between BTS and its clients?
From my days manning our support desk, I can tell you first-hand that we value each and every relationship. Whether it’s a call to help onboard a new trader in your organization, or you have a feature you’d like to see us incorporate in a future release, we’re eager to work with you.

How has BTS evolved since you started at the company?
We’ve really grown into a family over the years; there’s not a week that goes by where I haven’t interacted with every single member.

What is your favorite piece of advice regarding trading, technology, the markets, leadership?
Regardless of where you are in your career path, continuing education should be a life-long endeavor; this is especially true in any technology-related field.

Mantis Shrimp
Mantis Shrimp
If you had to pick, what animal would you be and why?
A mantis shrimp since it has the most sophisticated eyes of any animal - humans only have 3 kinds of light receptors but mantis shrimp have around 10. Also, mantis shrimp have a mean punch.

Blue Trading System’s is a family of traders, technologists, innovators and committed professionals. The women and men that work here want to build something that not only meets demand but advances the industry. We are sharp, loyal and strategic.

As we enter 2018, we wanted to highlight the people behind the name. These are the ones applying their knowledge, dedicating their time and investing their money in Blue Trading Systems. Throughout this year we invite you to learn more about the people building the solutions.


Pedro Pinto
What is your name, title and responsibilities at Blue Trading Systems?
My name is Pedro Pinto, I am one of the founders of BTS. My main responsibility is to lead the Software Development group.

How did you get into this field of derivatives trading? Trader or technologist?
My grad school advisor was golfing partners with Trevor Colvin our CEO, back in 1999. At the time Trevor was looking to grow the technology team at Blue Capital Group and my advisor put us in touch. I knew nothing about finance but it was very clear after talking to Trevor that this was an exciting field, filled with intelligent people dealing with very challenging technical problems.

From your perspective, can you describe the relationship between BTS and its clients?
Given our roots as a trading firm we have a deep empathy with our customers. We understand that their livelihood is inextricably linked to the performance and sophistication of their trading systems. That consideration is one of the main drivers in our decision making. Our product design, development and testing efforts are all oriented towards building robust, high-performance high value software that maximizes our clients bottom line.

How has BTS evolved since you started at the company?
Our group started out as the technology arm of Blue Capital Group, a fairly successful options market maker. As we transitioned to working as a Software Vendor we went from sitting next to a single customer trading a very narrow set of instruments in a specific way, to serving the broader trading community. Navigating this transition was challenging, but ultimately extremely rewarding. We were able to develop new processes and new technology that allow us to quickly go from product concept to robust production code.

What are a few challenges the industry is currently facing?
One of the biggest challenges we see are increasingly prohibitive technology costs. Today it is almost impossible for all but the largest trading firms to develop competitive trading software in-house. We see ourselves as playing a small role in combating this consolidation pressure. Because building trading software is all we do, we have gotten good at it and we are able to provide the trading community with high-quality solutions at a fraction of what they would have cost to develop internally.

What is your favorite piece of advice regarding trading, technology, the markets, leadership?
Do sweat the details. That is where the devil is.

If you had to pick, what animal would you be and why?
Dolphins of course. The smartest animals on earth, all they do is muck about in the water having a good time.

Blue Trading Systems attended the 92nd annual Securities Traders Association of Chicago’s (STAC) Mid-Winter Meeting last week in Chicago. Exchange representatives, technology providers, trading firms, hedge funds and industry professionals gathered to discuss issues impacting our industry. Hot topics included cryptocurrencies, low volatility in the markets and corporate responsibility.

Cryptocurrencies

Least surprising, one of the most well attended panel discussions was a conversation on cryptocurrencies led by Bcause’s Sean Ristau. Mitigating risk was a main theme as panelist Michael Mollet from CBOE Global Markets admitted that they chose to align their new Bitcoin futures contract with the licensed digital asset exchange and custodian, Gemini, because it is a regulated entity. Launched by the Winklevoss twins, Gemini is a New York trust company regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services. It is subject to fiduciary and capital reserve requirements as well as cybersecurity and banking compliance standards.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has also approved trading of Bitcoin as a new asset class but that doesn’t eliminate issues dealing with the definition of a cryptocurrency, tax implications and market manipulation concerns. While this may be a lucrative market, many traders are still in a wait and see mentality as regulatory authorities work out the kinks.

Trading Signals

Jerry Hanweck from Hanweck moderated a panel looking at trading signals and how traders are finding direction in low volatility markets. Panelist Mike Wisnefski from the Materials Exchange talked about the different approaches experienced traders have compared to the new generation of traders such as quants and robots. Wisnefski advised that experienced traders will have a leg up if they think differently using old school methods.

The panelists also touched upon the importance of extracting information from data and looking at alternative sources for trading signals. The panlists couldn’t pinpoint where to look for alternative data but said that this is non-conventional information like sentiment data, personal anecdotes, or deriving data from one market and applying it to another. As the markets adapt to new entrants, it seems even a birds eye view of a parking lot and when cars are parked there could be used to extract alternative data.

Corporate Responsibility

The conference also included a fireside chat with Silvia Davi from Thesys Technologies in an intimate conversation with Patsy Doerr from Thomson Reuters. They addressed the need for gender diversity and inclusion within the financial industry. Davi provided context around the issue reporting that about only 5% of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are women. Doerr was optimistic in saying that the financial industry is gearing up for a transfer of wealth in the next few years and that women will be the primary decision makers when it comes to finances and investments. In fact according to Business Insider, by 2020, women will control $22 trillion in investable assets.

Conclusion

The STAC Mid-Winter Meeting was a great place for BTS to visit with industry colleagues and hear about the new challenges and opportunities facing our industry. The markets are evolving, there is no doubt about that. We have new asset classes that excite but scare some participants, we have traders forced to look at unique venues for trading signals as well as a transfer of wealth that may shift the corporate mindset to be more inclusive of gender diversity. All in all it was a great gathering that addressed thought provoking issues and we look forward to our further involvement with STAC.


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