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Spotlight with Stephen Casey, Regional Director, Risk Management Solutions, New York

Natassia Vaz April 4, 2018

Tell me about your role and how your position supports Cambridge?
I have worked as Branch Manager and Senior Trader at Cambridge. My role is focused primarily on business development and growing our book of existing business and clients.  I recently started a new role within the Risk Management Solutions team, working to grow that successful business across the USA.

How long have you been at Cambridge and how did you hear about Cambridge?
I joined Cambridge in June 2013 almost 5 years ago. A friend of mine in the industry introduced me to someone who worked at Cambridge.

What was your experience prior to working in foreign exchange?
Prior to Cambridge, I worked at State Street Bank and Commerzbank. I worked on the Spot Trading desk for both banks, focusing on G-10 and deliverable emerging markets currencies. I spent a few years working at State Street’s London branch, as well as a brief stint at their Sydney office, so I feel as if I have a good understanding of the global foreign exchange marketplace.

How long have you worked in this industry?
I started my career in foreign exchange in 2007, so almost eleven years. I worked for banks previously, I was fortunate enough to work in London, Sydney and Paris.

What does your typical day look like?
Each day is very different – a mix of servicing existing clients, prospecting for new business and helping salespeople pitch new customers. As a dealer, we’re also very focused on the market so during more volatile times, it can become quite hectic.

What do you enjoy the most about your job and what is most challenging?
The most enjoyable thing is when you find the perfect solution for a client. Not so much making the sale but finding the perfect solution that helps the client is the best. As for most challenging, probably time management because in a sales role you want to make sure you are putting your time into important aspects.

What are 3 career lessons you have learned?

This is a tough industry, you have to persevere. There are peaks and valleys in sales so it is very important to remember that when things are quieter than you would like. Another great career lesson is you have to be coachable. Everyone can improve and it’s important to be open to hearing that from your managers. And lastly, you have to be open to change. Our business is changing rapidly, and you have to be open to those changes!

How do you define success and what does leadership mean to you?
I look at it in two ways, one is how my clients perceive me and the other is how my colleagues perceive me. As long as those two groups of people want to work with you every day, you’ll find success. Because if both want to work with you then you are doing alright! Leadership is being able to understand the needs of your team. I think a good leader knows what’s most important to the individuals on their team, and how those individuals can maximize their talent.

What advice would you give to someone looking to work in foreign exchange?
Be ready to work hard, and for long. The FX market is a 24-hour market, which can be impacted by many different geopolitical and market events. The market is open for almost six days around the world, 24-hours around the clock. Anyone interested in FX should be prepared for that. But it’s also a lot of fun. If you want to get into FX, you need to work very hard. The market changes constantly but stops on Fridays in New York.

How has Cambridge helped you in your career development?
Cambridge has introduced me to a lot of different people and products. A lot of those people have helped me in my development as an FX professional and a lot of those products have opened my eyes to different ways to use FX as a tool.

What is your philosophy?
I just try to be the best I can be. I want to be as reliable and dependable as I can be for everyone I speak to in a day. That includes all my clients and colleagues.

What is one thing you have always wanted to try?
I’ve been bungee jumping, skydiving and have been fortunate to travel everywhere I’ve ever wanted to. I’ve always wanted to go scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef. I’d love to do it but I don’t know if I would have the guts to.

Before working at Cambridge, what was the most unusual job you had?
I actually worked with the maintenance guys in the school my mom taught at. When I was in college on summer vacation I did a lot of weird and odd summer tasks that no one else wanted to do- for example, one summer I had to put together a science lab which I found pretty ironic because although I was good in school, I never did all that well in a science class. I remember having to put together a Bunsen burner. It was a great job, I had a blast!

Do you have a favorite newspaper, blog, podcast?
Cambridge Market Wires. I follow a lot of market-related stuff on Twitter also. One of the best sources right now is our Cambridge FX Market Analysis on the blog or The Wall Street Journal. Definitely a great snapshot of what’s going on.

Do you have a favorite quote and what does it mean to you?
I’m a Patriots fan, so my favourite quote “do your job” from the head coach of the Patriots.

What was the best vacation you’ve been on and why?
The best vacation I have ever been on was to Japan for two weeks with my wife. We went to Toyko, Kyoto, Hakone and took trains everywhere. We ate everything and anything, stayed at Ryokan which is a traditional Japanese Inn. Japan has a completely different culture. Yes, it’s a very long trip and it takes you a few days to get adjusted, but the food is awesome and the people are great. I would love to go back. We focused generally on the Southern side of Japan staying in resorts mostly and hotels. It was a great trip!

What is the best book you have ever read?
One of my favourite books is probably Moneyball by Michael Lewis. It’s about how the general manager from the Oakland Athletics runs a baseball team. Its main focus is the team’s analytical, statistic approach to assembling a competitive baseball team.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Right now honestly, I just moved out of the city and my wife and I love to tinker with the place and we’re pretty obsessed with my daughter too. If I’m not doing casual things, like dinner with friends then I’m with my daughter. I have 3 very close friends in Manhattan, once a month we pick a restaurant, leave our partners behind and we get together every single month. We’ve been doing this for the last 6 years now.

What do you know now that you wish you knew at 25?
To invest in Apple, Amazon and Facebook.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In life in general, hopefully not too far from where I am now. I hope my career continues to progress, working at Cambridge. Another kid would be beautiful. I grew up with two brothers, so I’m not picky about whether it’s a boy or girl, I was ecstatic when my wife said she was pregnant.

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