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The pilots of the derivatives markets

08 Nov 2019

The pilots of the derivatives markets

They are in charge of the trading systems – and their team spirit is invincible: the Trading Operations section, Eurex's functional heart. 
Ready for take-off? No, not the airplane, but Eurex's derivatives markets. “Just as airplanes cannot fly without pilots, the market has to be supervised in order to be working,” says Eurex executive board member Randolf Roth. The section Trading Operations has been part of his department Market Design & Delivery for over a year now. Headed by Frank Hoba, the team is responsible for market supervision – that's why Randolf Roth also likes to call them pilots of the markets.

Every morning they open the market and supervise it in shifts for 23 hours until market close. The team monitors the trading systems, is the first contact for trading-specific questions and provides settlement prices for the approximately 2,650 products of Eurex.

Close to the market

Located on the 15th floor of The Cube, the colleagues closely monitor all trading and pricing systems on six or seven screens. Simultaneously, they take calls from clients when they face difficulties or have problems.

The proximity to the market shows, for example when recent developments and events have direct impact on the team's daily work. Christina Richard, who has been part of the team for nearly 30 years, says: “I witnessed some bad days: 9/11, Lehman Brothers, Brexit and Trump.” She remembers how the phones didn't stop ringing after the unexpected outcome of the Brexit referendum: “The traders were extremely nervous. Many of them asked if we were really going to open because they feared the market developments. On days like these, you are especially aware of your responsibility.”

Market supervision: building bridges

Are there technical issues the phones are also ringing off the hook, says Emanuel Worst, who joined Eurex three years ago after his PhD in physics: “Even if the IT department is responsible for solving the issue, we pool information, contact cooperation partners and are the voice to the market.”

The team is also involved in various projects as interface. “Although we have to be all-rounders to be able to work in any shift, we can specialise in subjects when working on these project,” says Emanuel Worst. That's also what his colleague Henna-Riikka Isometsä likes: “You can put focus on the topics you're interested in.” Henna-Riikka Isometsä joined Eurex from Helsinki Stock Exchange six years ago and now takes care of collaborations with fellow exchanges.

Crew love is true love

The Market Design & Delivery department likes to face new challenges apart from their work too – and despite their responsibilities, they make sure that they don't come up short on fun. “We go running together during summer time, it's become a tradition that we get to our team workshop by bike, and we always take part in the Deutsche Börse Group Cup,” Christina Richard explains. End of October, one women's and two men's team participated in the Frankfurt Marathon. Emanuel Worst was also planned to run the marathon but had to cancel due to injury. But it's already a given that they all want to take part again next year.

If a baby is born or if there is a birthday or a promotion to celebrate, the team organises a joint breakfast. Otherwise you'll be nothing but skin and bones for all the sports.

This team spirit is always there – also when workloads are heavy or difficulties arise. “We have many tasks that we tackle together, and above all we always solve problems as a team,” says Henna-Riikka Isometsä. Christina Richard emphasises that it is important to let the team know about issues in time: “But you'll always get help. I like to call that pack forming.”

Flying is just easier with the right crew.

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