At DRW, we describe our trading as diverse – we trade asset classes and instruments using various strategies and we execute on an array of exchanges. This means we’re taking risk where we see opportunity, provide liquidity, and participate in latency sensitive trading – all at the same time, in markets around the world.
From an economic standpoint, it goes without saying that diversification is a good idea. If one market or strategy dips, the overall business can remain healthy. This mindset of continued diversification also shapes the experiences of our employees. In their own words, here’s how:
We hire for curiosity, and the diversification of DRW makes way for that curiosity to grow. With teams trading varied products in many markets and developing in multiple languages, there’s a lot to be learned across the firm. This started in the first years of DRW, when Don Wilson would have spirited debates with employees following trades. Was it the right trade? How can we do better next time? Our employees still do this today in both structured and informal ways - Geek Lunches, Meetups, in-house training or just hallway conversations.
We’re not afraid to try something new, and with no outside investors or third party funds, we can quickly start up when opportunity is spotted. Our “product” lifecycles are sometimes less than a day, with close-knit teams of traders, technologists and researchers working together on a new model or strategy to get immediate feedback from the markets. In 2009, we saw an opportunity to enter the real estate market – not an obvious match for a principal trading firm. But since then, we’ve successfully invested in a large portfolio of value add properties across the U.S.
As the markets have changed over the years, so has DRW. When the latest, most promising new idea or technology emerges in the industry – or outside of it – we look for ways to apply it to our business. Because we embrace a diversified approach, these things fit at DRW like they might not at other firms. For example, as cryptocurrencies like bitcoin got started, DRW got involved and adapted our trading operations to build one of the largest bitcoin desks in the world. We’ve also developed intellectual property that has led to new products in the markets, products that address problems created by regulatory and market structure changes.
And perhaps the most important argument for diversification when it comes to our employees? The relationships it creates.