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A finance role unlike others

Thomas van Luik

Meet the Optiver Europe Finance team

Working with a diverse group of professionals representing eight different nationalities in a high-performance trading environment, leading Optiver Europe’s Finance Team is not your average day in finance.

I first crossed paths with Optiver in 2011 as a recent University of Amsterdam grad and a newbie at a Big Four audit firm here in town. I was assigned to Optiver’s engagement team—a great insight into the way the company worked, which set itself apart for me in contrast to my other clients from that time. Our mutual appreciation grew in the years that followed, to the point that six years ago when I decided it was time for my next career move, Optiver offered me the opportunity to join their Finance Team as a Business Controller. That role put me in the driver’s seat to connect a dynamic trading environment to the world of finance and reporting. After one and a half years, I was promoted to Head of Finance Europe, and then to my current role of Finance Director, with additional responsibility for our Mid Office Product Control Team.

As a leading proprietary trading firm, Optiver works to make markets more efficient, transparent and stable across the globe. While our commitment to provide liquidity is continuous and our aim is to be a stabilising force, financial markets and our operations are dynamic. For the Finance Team, this requires continuous improvements in finance processes to stay aligned with evolving market conditions and business strategies.

At Optiver Europe, this means a team adept not just in financial management but also in global collaboration and technological innovation, a combination that’s become essential for our operational success as we navigate the continuous business changes.

The Finance Team is structured along three key areas: Accounts Payable, Accounting, and Controlling & Reporting. Although each team member may focus on specific topics, we work together to achieve our goals, supporting each other on a daily basis. In a growing team with currently eight different nationalities represented, we combine a diverse set of knowledge and experience to maximise each individual’s contribution.

The close integration of the team enables us to stay on top of developments required to fulfil our core responsibilities. We provide reliable and timely management information that lays the foundation to drive business decisions at Optiver. The team is entrusted with a broad and vital mandate: compliance with external financial reporting requirements—essential to retaining our license to operate; all finance processes for Optiver Europe, including financial planning and analysis, accounting, (management) reporting and cash management; and accurate accounting for the myriad of financial instruments traded by Optiver—a mission-critical part of our operations.

One of the features that make us unique in the world of finance is the dynamism of our product range, business ventures and revenue-generating ideas. This continuous forward development creates an ever-challenging environment for the Finance Team—there is always financial input and expertise needed on expanding product portfolios and trading strategies, as well as on the globalisation of existing trading strategies. For professionals in our field, that creates a path of seemingly unlimited personal growth potential.

Optiver’s ultra-high-performance trading environment relies on optimised tech. In line with our business pace, we are likewise always looking for new ways to optimise the accuracy and timeliness of management information. The Finance Team works with daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly reporting cycles which rely on highly automated information flows to communicate to key stakeholders such as trading teams and management. To provide insights and perform analysis, or when designing calculations that form the foundation for key accounting processes, the team uses various technological solutions, applies ChatGPT insights directly, and collaborates with other departments such as the product controllers to streamline handling of large data sets.

One of our core values at Optiver is to aim for excellence, and that means we push ourselves to continuously improve—collaboratively. Our Finance Team aspires to an ever-higher level of technological prowess than where we are. This means there’s an immediate opportunity for any new members joining the team to build those tools and make an impact on the business by providing meaningful insights and analysis. Keeping our tech stack state-of-the-art means Optiver continuously invests in all kinds of technology. Management relies on the Finance Team to not only keep track of these investments but also to interact with the Tech Team to be able to analyse and report on the expenditure. Particularly relevant are the financial planning around tech expenses and profitability calculations for trading strategies, both of which rely on accurate tech-cost allocations.

Optiver’s entrepreneurial spirit inspired the development of core capabilities within the company’s various regions, tailored to the specifics of local financial markets. However, as the business aims to capitalise on key strengths across the globe, Optiver’s regional finance teams in Europe, the US and APAC have joined forces to streamline operations and implement global solutions. Three recent examples of our international collaboration that we’re particularly proud of are a global source-to-pay solution, a global transfer pricing model and an automated variable pay solution, projects which empower team members across the world in the process design and solution.

As an example of what the team is working on for the variable pay calculator, the Finance Team leverages a data automation platform to automate the integration process: mapping out data flows, automating calculations, and standardising accounting and validation processes. With respect to the newly developed source-to-pay workflow and solution, the team collaborates with the Procurement Team for implementing tooling to centralise data collection, and automate validation and reconciliation processes around global procurement and expenditure. While collaborating with Finance and Procurement teams across regions, the team needs to overcome cultural and operational differences to achieve a seamless, automated financial reporting system that operates in real time, enhancing decision-making and compliance across the globe.

Our Finance Team offers motivated candidates a unique career in a dynamic and challenging environment. If expertise in advanced financial analysis and understanding of trading infrastructure are among your talents and interests, we’d love to hear from you.

Visit our Senior Business Controller job post to explore our open opportunity:

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