On 29 November, I had a chance to have an interview with Natalie Kreuk, a trader at All Options. All Options is a trading company that focuses on trading options of financial instruments. In this interview, Natalie talks about her work experience at the company.
Nice to meet you, Natalie! Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I have been working as a trader at All Options for two years. I started with studying physics at TU Delft. During my studies, I did an internship at a finance-oriented firm and became interested in trading. After my graduation, I started working for the company right away.
Which team of traders are you in? Is there a lot of difference in working in each team?
There are three teams within All Options: they are each in charge of options for indices, liquid stocks, and illiquid stocks. I am in the team that trades liquid stock options, in which we mainly focus on stocks of pharmaceutical companies, banks, and car producers.
For all the teams, the strategies we use in trading are similar. However, trading options for indices always happens way faster, because for them investors have more interest in trading at a higher volume. As for illiquid stocks, there are usually not that much flow of trade.
Could you explain briefly how a transaction of options is executed?
We are a market maker for options, and we trade with all investors in the market, including individuals. Traders have screens that show current stock prices on the exchange, as well as our positions in the stocks. When the contract date of an option is due, we let the exchange know whether we want to execute it.
What do you personally like about working at All Options?
I like that the working environment has a very positive vibe, and that all the colleagues are passionate for their work. My work is about analyzing and solving puzzles, so it is itself very interesting to me.
In the previous interview with Aenorm, Sjoerd mentioned that All Options is one big team instead of several teams. What do you work on as a team, and are there tasks you carry out individually?
When we are trading, the whole team always works together to figure out what the best portfolio would be. However, we also work on innovation projects, and that is when we work in pairs or individually. For those projects, we analyze data aiming to improve our current strategies, and then we discuss the results with the whole team.
What kinds of challenges do you face at work?
We try to find every minor thing that we are able to improve regarding our everyday trading strategies. Furthermore, because I studied physics, I learned the option theory from scratch before starting the job. Working on the innovation projects was easier for me because of my analytical background and programming skills.
Are there things you did not learn at university but learned at work?
When I was studying physics, I am used to having precise answers and straightforward solutions. At All Options, we learn to come up with solutions through discussion. In the discussions we take everyone’s opinion into account and figure out the best combination of positions of assets.
Could you give some advice to students that are interested in trading?
First of all, you have to like trading a lot. Also, it is important to be well acquainted with probability theory and statistics, and to read more about the financial market. If you respond to things fast and love solving puzzles, then you may be suitable for trading.