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Optiver graduate stories: pathways to a career in trading

Jason Ruan
Delta 1 Trader

What first attracted you to Optiver?
The first time I heard about Optiver is from my University’s Careers fair. I was attracted by the “Ready Trader Go” competition, where you write autotrader logic with the given market data to trade ETFs. The problem was very interesting to solve and the winning prize was $50,000, so it did not take a lot of convincing for me to join the competition.

What does your role entail?
As a Delta 1 (D1) trader, I would mainly be piloting the autotraders and pricing research. Although trading in D1 is highly automated, traders need to understand the potential risks and deal with the emergencies. For researching, we analyse historical market data to improve the trading logic and base pricing of the instruments we trade.

What key skills are required?
The key skills required for a D1 trader include: (1) Data analysis: ability to use market data to improve the trading models. (2) Communication: ability to communicate with the other stakeholders and present ideas. (3) Reflection: ability to find the problems in trading and propose potential solutions for them. (4). Decision-making: ability to make decisions during emergencies.

What are some of the projects you are working on (non-confidential)?
One of the biggest projects we are working on is to align the base trading desks of all markets. This allows us to move towards consolidation, automation and scaling up to trading more spots. At the same time, it reduces potential autotrader misbehaviours. Another project I am working on is researching some longer-term position taking strategies.

How do you start your day at Optiver?
I always start my day with a cup of flat white from barista and a bowl of chicken congee as breakfast from level 7. I would normally have this on my desk while reading emails and replying to Slack chats. Before Japan markets start at 9:45 AM, I would check some back test results and make sure the autotraders are working properly.

What do you love about your work?
The best part about working at Optiver is the teamwork and the collaboration between the different teams in the company. You are working with highly talented colleagues and everyone is working towards the same goal, which is to improve the business. Junior could challenge with seniors and propose their ideas, while seniors are happy to help and share their experience with juniors.

What keeps you motivated?
Everyday is different day in Optiver. The market condition is changing and competitive everyday. This always motivates me to react fast so that we can identify the problems, resolve the issue, and keep ourselves in the leading position.

Do you have interests outside of work that help you in your role?
Outside of work, I play basketball and video games. I think having some hobbies can help relieve the stress you may have from work. In addition, it might also help with developing teamwork skills.

What’s your advice to potential applicants?
Before the interview, you should think about why you want to work at Optiver and show your enthusiasm. Also, you should think about why you suit Optiver and impress the interviewers with that.



Will Green
Index Options Trader

What first attracted you to Optiver?
I was doing internships in my final years of university and finding that the exclusively lengthy project work and low interaction wasn’t working for me. As I searched for other options, I found that the proprietary trading industry was known for being fast-paced and challenging. It was a short step to discover that within the industry Optiver was the best.

What does your role entail?
As a Trader I am trying to find edge in the market and capture it. During the market session this means synthesizing a multitude of signals to come up with the right trade at that moment and then guiding our systems towards executing it. Outside of these times I do market research or work on various projects to improve our results during market hours.

What key skills are required?
Logical reasoning, drive, communication, performing under pressure.

What are some of the projects you are working on?
One continuous responsibility of mine is monitoring the performance of our autotraders. This ranges from determining if they are executing on the right signals, to analysing aggregate trade data and improving our automated strategies.

How do you start your day at Optiver?
I start the day by looking at what happened in various products overnight and reading the news. We then have a team chat about the bigger picture trades and risks we are thinking about.

What do you love about your work?
Challenging, engaging, fast feedback, working with smart people, meritocracy.

What keeps you motivated?
Every day is a fresh day with new problems.


Andrew Dai
Market Risk Analyst

What first attracted you to the role?
If you want to be directly involved in financial markets, Market Risk at Optiver offers an exciting opportunity as you will get to oversee the fast-paced and dynamic trading environment at a leading market maker. I was interested in the role because I wanted to apply my quantitative background and analytical skills in my day-to-day role, and in this case on challenging problems in the risk arena.

What does your role entail?
Daily monitoring of trading positions to ensure they are within risk limits, and scenario analysis of adverse market events for existing and new strategies which introduce emerging risks. It also includes updating risk frameworks to cover any new market, credit and/or liquidity related risks that we are exposed to.

What are some of the projects you are working on?
One major project is the upcoming Investment Firms Regulation, which is a prudential regime that applies for all EU investment firms. This requires judiciously analysing which positions fall within scope of the regulation, and applying relevant risk factors to calculate a requirement for capital to hold against risks we face as an investment firm. The project was challenging as it involved understanding traders’ positions and strategies, communicating monitoring requirements to developers to build advanced tools whilst collaborating with my Optiver peers globally on the implementation and repercussions of the regulation.

How do you start your day at Optiver?
Check the overnight macro news and send out morning reports to stakeholders, highlighting any positions of concern across the business.

What do you love about your work?
It’s a truly dynamic role and you get to interact with all parts of the business! Your day-to-day is driven by market conditions and analysing market impacts, but you also deep dive into a diverse range of products and strategies to help develop improved risk management tools.

What key skills are required?
Having a critical mindset, being able to think analytically with attention to detail and being able to communicate effectively. These are 3 keys skills to have in the role to ensure that we are appropriately challenging the opinions of traders whilst managing the risk-reward and risk appetite across the company.

What keeps you motivated?
Being supported by a collaborative team to solve problems that have an impact on the business and more broadly in the financial markets. I also learn something new every day and this fuels my motivation to continue being curious to develop entrepreneurial ideas and innovative solutions.

Do you have interests outside of work that help you in your role?
I like learning languages. I am currently learning Mandarin, Korean and French – of which the first two are helpful to understand the news in Asian regions. It’s also beneficial for cultural and political understanding, which has helped me better evaluate the risk scenarios which can affect our positions.

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