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[ C O V E R March,” Joseph says. “It could be down to a number of different factors, but from our perspective the channels we found the most efficient to trade through started to adjust. The proportion traded electronically went back up 10% this year, post-DVCs versus pre- DVCs and the proportion traded on the cash desks decreased by 10% versus pre-DVCs.” Evolving challenges While the organisation make-up of the trading desk and the way it uti- lises technology may have changed over time, not to mention those increasing volumes and the new regulatory operating environment, the way in which Joseph’s desk handles new challenges is very much a blend of experience and re- sources working in tandem to make the most of new opportunities. “We have up-skilled our trading desk, where they have been man- dated and required this year to take courses in agile methodologies, the foundations of programming and machine learning, so that everyone starts to talk the same language,” he says. “It doesn’t mean that everyone on the desk can code – some have a technology background like myself – but it gives a complimentary skill set. It means we have this agile, in- cremental, iterative delivery, which makes us very nimble, making us well-placed to embrace future challenges.” Terms such as agile and nimble are more often thrown around by FinTech start-ups or smaller boutique firms, not those belonging to an organisation the size of JP Morgan: the desk trades on behalf of thousands of different accounts, in tens of thousands of different S T O R Y | N E I L J O S E P H ] “In EMEA the number of orders per trader has increased by 70% over the last three years. It’s a testament to our overall setup that during that same period we have seen an improvement on our implementation shortfall of 6% as well.” securities across 70 different markets. As such, trade automation is a large part of Joseph and his team’s work. “One of the things we are working on is a targeted notification system that will alert portfolio managers to any relevant liquidity opportunities or news events,” he offers as an example. “As a trader supplies details of block liquidity or specific news events the system will automatically calculate the relevance of the information to every portfolio manager and appropriately target those to which it is most relevant. “ The targeted notifications systems is being built on JP Morgan’s proprietary Spectrum platform, in use across the business’ portfolio implementation and trading, but Joseph also highlights the support of the trading experi- ence in this area. The relationships both on the desk and with other teams in the asset management business and wider JP Morgan structure play a vital role here, especially when turnaround times are thin and rapid delivery is paramount as the market structure changes and throws up new challenges. “Every accomplishment on the desk, partic- ularly significant ones, feels like a highlight,” he says. “As the job changes, being able to innovate as a group with different teams makes every day exciting. Every individual challenge met, be it a small everyday challenge or something like preparing for MiFID II and Issue 56 // // 27