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Tibra Capital

  • 100 - 500 employees

Stephen Powell

In my role as a quant trader, I am engaged in the trading front lines; researching, implementing and evaluating trading strategies.

What's your job about?

I work at Tibra Capital, a proprietary trading firm which operates using a diversified set of strategic approaches on local and international markets. Tibra facilitates liquidity, price fairness and the efficient allocation of capital in financial markets through its trading activities. Operating in highly competitive and dynamic trading environments ensures that Tibra is always challenged and must constantly innovate and use cutting edge technology to compete.

In my role as a quant trader, I am engaged in the trading front lines; researching, implementing and evaluating trading strategies. My role involves not only discovering the complex relationships which exist in the modern world, but also efficiently making use of trading systems and other market participant behaviour to best utilise real time data.

What's your background?

I was born in and grew up in Brisbane, Australia. While completing my schooling at St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace I had the opportunity to travel both within Australia and abroad. Near the end of my schooling I participated in an exchange program to study for a semester at Konan High School in Kobe, Japan. Following my graduation from high school I began studying a Dual Bachelors Civil Engineering and Mathematics at the University of Queensland.

I had always been strong at mathematics and my original intention was to purse civil engineering professionally. There was a clearly defined career path and modern structures are truly awesome. However, while undertaking an internship at a structural engineering firm, I realised that I was more interested in the mathematics and problem solving involved in engineering than the reality of client focused project delivery and conservative design. Fortunately, my dual degree offered me alternatives.

While I had no formal programming training, I had previously begun to explore programming as a way of better applying my mathematical knowledge. The following year I applied for several internships through the University of Queensland’s Mathematics department and accepted an offer at Tibra’s Austinmer office. Following the internship, I was offered a graduate position. After the completion of my dual bachelors in mid-2018, I relocated to the beaches of Wollongong and have been working as a quant trader since.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes, innovation is at the heart of successful trading, with diverse team member backgrounds preventing stagnation and idea homogenisation. While a high level of mathematics and programming is not required, the ability to understand and communicate mathematical ideas as well as the desire to engage in program development is necessary. Tibra’s quants have mainly mathematics, engineering, or computing experience. Prior experience or training in finance is not a requirement, with most having little exposure prior to joining. Although cliché, a willingness to learn, keep an open mind, and take the initiative are all important attributes.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

Completing a project and watching calculations happening at a speed which even millions of individuals would be unable to compete with is always thrilling. Modern trading occurs at a speed and scale beyond normal comprehension. The markets are constantly giving feedback and require us to constantly give innovation; everyone is working on something new and putting otherwise only theoretical ideas into practice.

What are the limitations of your job?

Financial markets are highly competitive, as such Tibra has high expectations of its employees. Quant work isn’t for everyone and it is difficult to know prior to giving it a go. High expectations sometimes translates into longer working hours if a project is urgent and international trading can also cause some offset working hours.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  • Begin learning to program earlier, with a focus on building personal projects. The world is constantly heading towards more, and more, and more automation. Personal projects are a great way to both refine programming ability and gain an understanding of the full process involved in building a useful program.
  • Figure out what is important and don’t waste time trying to perfect the trivial.
  • Don’t miss tutorial sign-on and get stuck with 8:00ams