In the height of the 2008-09 financial crisis, many in the financial industry wondered where the next generation of traders would come from. Amid the meltdown of Lehman Brothers, the Libor scandal and other high-profile enforcement actions, and a massive downsizing of bank trading desks, there has been real concern that the existing pool of trading talent was being tossed out and the stream of new traders was drying up.
Some proprietary trading firms have taken it upon themselves to attract students, teach them what they know and set them on course to trade these markets successfully. Firms like London-based prop firm Divento Financial, which launched Divento Academy last July, have taken a different approach to the more traditional prop shop methods of simply training them for their own use and discarding the weakest candidates.
The firm has designed a five week course, equal to 270 guided learning hours, and accepts about 10 students each term. Students who complete the program earn a “Level 5 Advanced Diploma in Financial Trading,” a higher education diploma accredited by the UK Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation.
Divento is not the only London-based trader education program. Others such as Futex, OSTC and London Academy of Trading have been around for years. But Divento says its diploma is the highest level among all such training programs in the UK. It also has partnered with universities in London, with plans to expand in the coming months.
Current students learn to trade by simulated trading on the Trading Technologies‘ software, with a focus on portfolio-based strategies.
Divento’s head of business development, Rob Russell, said this is more than just about finding talent for its own trading room. For him and Divento’s founder and CEO James Sullivan, it’s about trying to expand the futures industry one trading class at a time.
“We’re trying to do the right thing,” Russell said. “We’re trying to answer the question, how do we find traders out there? And how do we grow this industry?”
As banks continue to shut down their trading desks, there has been a dispersion and loss of trading talent in the industry. Divento and other firms believe there is still a strong demand. It just has to find the right candidates, teach them well, and bring the next generation into this industry.