My Career Journey: Thomas Bamford-Murphy

I joined Maven in May 2014 with previous experience running market making desks on Fixed Income in Europe and the US. I was looking for an opportunity to build a desk, a business, and to have ownership. It was important to me that I did this at a place where I felt aligned with the vision and ambition of the company and where I could see myself having a long career. I spent time speaking with the founding Directors and very much felt that Maven represented that place.

My initial mandate was to set up, build-out and trade on the Long End desk. Most of the infrastructure that I needed was already in place before I joined, and amazingly we were booking our first trades within two weeks. A real testimony to the planning and setup that had already been done.

The technology and certain aspects of the style of trading were different from that which I had previously experienced. I was given a lot of support from trading management and technology and given the opportunity to work with Cagdas for six months to help learn and transition.

The first couple of months were not easy on the trading side with work still needing to be done on the setup and the ECB meeting on 5th June causing a large move in the vol surface. Everyone put in a lot of hard work, and within the next few months, we started to see the results.

Recruiting started straight away, with me being encouraged to lead the process. Within the next six months, another experienced trader joined me on the desk.

Maven was looking to set up a graduate program, something that I had experience and interest in and was fortunate to be part of. We put together all the parts and went out to market. I found this to be a fun and interesting aspect of the job. It presented the opportunity to develop new skills, engage with people outside my market, help others and build a wider business.

After our first year, we had built a highly competitive and successful setup and a strong team. I had enjoyed the time and wanted to grow the business and push to see what we could achieve. I wrote a business plan to open up the CME markets and to lead the trading with ten-year options trading. Maven were very supportive as we started to plan and build out from Q3 2015. The business was growing, and I was fortunate that Maven had invested in a Business Development team, who were instrumental in delivering this project.

There was a huge amount of work that needed to be done and in areas that we didn’t have much experience. Once again everyone focussed on the job, planned well and worked hard. Less than 12 months after submitting the initial business plan we were operating as a market maker on US FI options.

In 2018 I was given the opportunity to run the options market-making operation in Europe. This was an exciting time, allowing me to have contact with and learn about other aspects of the market-making business, and to have more influence on how market making and Maven developed. We expanded and developed all aspects of the market-making business including new trading strategies, new people, growth in our tech and helping to stay at the forefront of trading. This role was very diverse, requiring me to hone my skills in many areas but in particular management and leadership.

In 2020 Maven created the Systematic Alpha division. As members of our market-making team moved over, this created a need for me to return to trading, tasked with running and rebuilding the Long End team. Heading a trading desk is something that I enjoy and although it was a return to a previous role, I knew it was important to support Maven’s growth. The move happened during WFH (and homeschooling!) and I continued to WFH until April 21. This presented challenges for the whole team and required a lot of work and effort from everyone to improve our communication and processes. Everyone pulled together to make the best out of the situation.

On June 21 Maven started its institutional trading. This is where we provide our pricing directly to eligible counterparties. This is a very different role from the ones that I have done so far and presents me with further opportunities to learn and develop as well as applying existing skills. I will be working alongside Sander in setting up this business for Maven. With Sander, I will be able to work with an expert in the field to learn, build and implement a new business and create value for Maven. We have big ambitions for what this can become and are committed to the work and time that will be required to achieve this.

Maven has consistently given me opportunities and supported me in my learning, development and ventures. There is a lot I still want to achieve in my career and I believe that Maven is the best place for me to do so. I am excited about my new role in Institutional trading and my future at Maven.

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