Assistant Traders at SIG learn the quantitative and game theoretical approach that SIG uses to make decisions in the financial markets. The program for Assistant Traders develops autonomous decision-makers who are capable of creating profitable trading strategies, assessing risk, and appropriately allocating firm capital.

This post was written by Joey, a SIG employee.

Morning: I arrive at 7:45 a.m. to update a dividends database, and then I grab breakfast from the kitchen. I also run macros on an Excel sheet and set up our daily conference call with everyone on the Index desk. We have this call every morning, which includes our Index desk traders in Bala, Index desk traders in Chicago, and people on the floor of the Exchanges. During this call, we discuss market trends and what our strategies for the day will be. As an Assistant Trader (AT), you can listen in and pick up on what we expect to happen that day and ask questions.

During the open: The open is a really busy time on the trade floor where multitasking is key! Our desk receives information for a potential trade, and we have to decide how we want to execute it and what to do after the trade happens. This is where the gaming aspect of trading comes in. How proactive are you in planning your next move? In those cases, it’s very cool to see the traders near me stand up and talk about what to do. How do we want to manage this risk, what price do we want to show, how can we maximize? I am part of the conversation about the game plan and it gives me a unique opportunity to learn and ask questions. The fast-paced environment is really thrilling, and being able to see all of these pieces in motion in real time is invaluable.

Mathematical thinking is essential at SIG, but the way we use it is different from traditional mathematics. For example, traders aren’t necessarily using Group Theory every day, but how one goes about proving statements in Group Theory is relied upon heavily. The way I see it, math is a medium to display analytical thinking, much like oil on canvas is a medium to display art. Trading is just an alternative vehicle for analytical thinking. The language and concepts may seem different, but the underlying “art” in solving problems is just as prevalent.

Lunch: Lunch is served every day at SIG around noon, so traders step off the desk to grab lunch and we all cover for each other. I’m a big fan of the salad bar. Additionally, there are certain special caterers who cater monthly, such as Qdoba or Famous Dave’s Barbeque.

End of day: After the close, we have another meeting as a desk to discuss interesting trades that occurred that day, and recap other things that went on. Three days a week, after the close, all of the Assistant Traders head to education. On Mondays and Tuesdays, we do mock trading, and on Thursdays, we play poker. In mock trading, we practice trading against one another in a simulated trading environment. Here, we get to take everything we’ve learned on the trade floor and put it to practice. There’s a huge sprawl of information and you need to try to find what you want to execute, or the combination of trades that give you the most edge. It’s challenging because it requires your complete attention, tests your ability to multi-task, and interpret a lot of different information at once. I enjoy the challenge of mock trading, and think it’s a game that can be even more fun than poker. When we play poker on Thursdays we play a variety of different games, but usually Seven-Card Stud. We’ll play a couple hands and discuss the good and bad decisions that were made with the teachers. Both mock trading and poker teach us how to make better decisions with imperfect information in a fun, challenging way. After education on those three days, I head home and gear up for another day!

Visit SIG’s website to learn more about the SIG Assistant Trader program or see what a day in the life is like for some of their other roles in the headquarters near Philadelphia. To find more posts written by our traders, check out SIG’s gaming blog, Raise Your Game.