From Open Outcry to Electronic Evolution: Insights from Marcus Goi, CEO of Orient Futures International

John Lothian

John Lothian

Executive Chairman and CEO

In an Open Outcry Traders History Project interview conducted in Singapore during the FIA ASIA week, Marcus Goi, managing director and CEO of Orient Futures International, shared his career journey and insights into the evolution of electronic trading. The interview took place at SGX’s offices, with Robert Lothian from John Lothian News conducting the interview.

Goi’s upbringing as an athlete led him to anticipate a career in sports. However, following his completion of national service in Singapore, he transitioned into financial services at UOB with the assistance of his sister, who worked in HR at the firm.

Goi offered a unique perspective on the industry’s transformation, beginning with his days of manually punch-keying order tickets on the SIMEX trading floor to navigating the transition to electronic trading.
Without a degree from a university, Goi needed to work hard, he said. He worked hard handling many of the manual processes on the trading floor, but soon found himself dealing with customers. He found himself working the night shift for 10 years, supporting SIMEX locals trading Eurodollars in the CME open outcry market.

When UOB entered into a joint venture with Schneider Trading Group from London, Goi witnessed the migration from open outcry trading to electronic trading firsthand, as traders moved to a new trading arcade set up in UOB Plaza. Goi said he saw how electronic trading changed the world, eliminating geographic restrictions.

Open outcry traders began moving into the arcades for the robust connectivity, low latency and larger clients engaged in both algorithmic trading and automated trading, Goi said. The demand for space in the arcade sawit quadruple in size over three or four years, from 6000 square feet to 24,000 square feet, he said. 

However, Goi said that as the markets became more complex, moving from the early simple days of electronic trading to the more complex high-frequency trading firms dominating the markets, demand for the trading arcade shrank back to 6000 square feet over two years as many individual traders lost money and left the markets. 

In 2013, UOB took over the joint venture from Schneider and Goi returned to UOB to head global sales of UOB futures. 

Goi spoke about his most memorable day and provided a firsthand account of the disruptions caused by the 9/11 attacks, revealing the complexities of managing manual transactions during such critical moments. He said clients had to call orders in and the phones rang non-stop. After the U.S. markets shut down on 9/11, Goi said he and colleagues started looking towards the SIMEX opening and looking at their clients’ market risk. 

Goi shared his advice for industry newcomers, stressing the importance of hard work, self-motivation, and a genuine interest in the field. 

(Interview by Robert Lothian. Write-up by Robert Lothian & John Lothian. Edited by Sarah Rudolph.)

 

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