Michael Webb

Michael Webb

Australian National University
Trader

Walk us through a typical day in your life.          

I ride into work, shower and have breakfast in the office and start to prepare myself for the day’s trading. I trade the Australian market which opens at 10.00 a.m. Before the open I’ll review my positions and will be briefed on overnight news by our in house research team. Between 10.00 and 4.30 I’m trading. Trades are executed in a number of ways, manually on the screens, automatically through pre-written automated strategies, and negotiations over the phone with outside brokers. These require different skill sets but luckily I work with three Senior Traders in my team, so I have no shortage of people to discuss ideas and share opinions.

I’m usually done for the day soon after the market closes and will either go to the gym or play some poker in the office.

Were you involved with anything in the past that sparked your interest in joining a company like SIG?

While at university, I spent a lot of time playing poker online and at the casino. Hearing that SIG teaches poker as a part of the training process excited me. What’s even better is these poker lessons are from some globally respected players who work here at SIG. These are guys I’ve watched play on TV.

What made you decide to join our team?           

I was intrigued when I heard the interview process involved riddles and brain teasers. Given these were the sorts of skills the hiring team were looking for, I knew it would be a career I’d enjoy.

What do you like best about working here?      

I appreciate the challenge work provides. I am constantly learning and improving my decision making. I have learned a lot about quantitative decision making techniques, and how to apply poker and game theory to the decisions I make during the trading day. Decision making skills apply to everything in life – I’ve learnt it’s invaluable to trust the process and not necessarily the individual results.

What projects and experiences have been most rewarding for you so far?         

I was fortunate enough to spend a full year training with some of the best traders in the industry at SIG’s Head Office in Philadelphia. It was a fantastic experience. The office is filled with over 1,000 talented people, all willing to take the time to teach you and share their knowledge. In particular the ability to go through the Assistant Trader education program with other new traders was incredible. Because of the experience in Philadelphia, I have developed close relationships with colleagues across the globe and we keep in touch and discuss strategies.

What is unique about your current role?             

I have autonomy on the trades I make. SIG’s education program is second to none and they invest an enormous amount of resources in training new traders. Because of this, once you have completed the Assistant Trader education program you are fully entrusted to run your own trading portfolio. You are supported every step of the way but you are empowered to make your own decisions. Knowing the company you work for trusts you so much is a nice feeling.

We talk a lot about teamwork and collaboration at SIG. Where do you see this demonstrated in your current role?    

Every morning we have a group phone call with the traders and research analysts in Sydney, and often traders in Hong Kong. We discuss changes overnight in global markets, patterns we have seen recently, and things we can expect to see going forward. This helps us get positioned and to reduce surprises during the trading day.

In your opinion, what is the best perk we offer?             

It’s hard to choose a favourite between the casual clothes and the breakfast & lunch provided. I’m going to go with the casual clothes.

What is your favourite thing about living in Sydney?     

Sydney always has something to do, and has great beaches.

What do you like most about your team (e.g. trading/technology)?       

We have fun during the trading day, playing games and joking around, but also we go out on team dinners and are friends outside of work.

What activities and organisations were you involved with at university?            

I played card games and board games in between (and during) lectures and was also involved in a few University sport teams - touch football, indoor soccer, mixed netball, ten pin bowling – the real physical sports.

If you were speaking with a graduate who was considering starting their career at SIG, what advice would you give them?

If you want to be a trader, it helps to really love games, and be able to tolerate risk. Trading is like a game where you need to out think your opponent. You will also find yourself taking on a lot of risk and it’s important to keep a level head on both big wins and big losses.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.             

Often on weekends I work at weddings and other functions as a magician. This side hustle has allowed me to travel the world and to meet some interesting celebrities and some of the world’s best magicians. Performing has also been a useful tool to help break the ice when our team meets with brokers and investment banks.