I trade on a variety of different structures. That strategy has proven to keep me at a higher percentage of more right than wrong.
Swapnil Rege has spent more than 15 years of his career navigating the financial industry. He started out in a career with the comfort and security that the technology sector offers. But, he found his passion in finance. For Swapnil, following his passion was worth the risk of leaving the security of one industry to make way for the new. He followed that path to the financial industry with zeal and ambition.
Swapnil Rege earned his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering in India in 1996. His first job was with a software company in India, but shortly after, he came to the United States as a software consultant for AT&T, Lucent Technologies/Bell Labs. He started working as a programmer for Citibank in 2002. While at Citibank, he interacted with traders in the stock market. He decided that trading would be his new direction. He made the decision to attend night school and earned his MBA in finance from New York University in 2003.
His life in the financial industry started with Citigroup as a trading desk programmer. Promotions proceeded steadily from a junior risk management/mid office to a junior trader, to senior trader. Beyond these positions, he served in many other functions. In 2011, Swapnil Rege moved to the securitized products market. By 2015, he went to hedge funds as a trader and portfolio manager.
Swapnil Rege has garnered a wealth of experience. He anticipates his future as sharing information, possibly in an advisory capacity with a focus on dual-centric products in the US equity market, stock market, and fixed income management.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
As I was working on the technology side of the business with Citigroup, I was required to make many trips to the trading floor. I spoke with the traders during the day, and learned and understood what they needed. I provided solutions for them to generate better revenue and facilitate new business. Then I decided that I wanted to do trading as well. I used that time to learn how they make money and became passionate about making the move from technology into business/finance.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Early morning before the US Market opens, I start reading about relevant finance and economics information from the US and abroad. I identify trading opportunities both for the short-run and the long-run and structure my thinking around those themes. I diversify my risks and bet equally on five or six distinct and un-correlated themes. The idea is to have greater than 60 or 70% of your choices to be right and cut the losses on your losing trades. If you focus on one or two trades, it will not be a sustainable approach. It has worked for me through a variety of business cycles and through the ups and downs of the US markets.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Many people have what they perceive as a good idea. But when I have an idea, I have to look at the market to see if it agrees with my idea. I use many of my contacts within the industry as sounding boards. If I like an idea, I research multi-layers to decide if it is a good one to bring forth.
What’s one trend that excites you?
There has been an elevated level of volatility in the US markets recently, as well as too many up and down trends right now. But it is a great market to trade in right now. This is as much of a traders market as it is an investors market.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
My passion for the market. I love what I do and I think of it excessively. I think that is what sets me apart from others. I have family and friends and we share a great relationship. Outside of work, they approach me and I freely share information. It is just my passion.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I started out in a different industry in my life. Many people start their careers and may not like what they are doing. They however live life on auto-pilot. I would tell my younger self to find what you love when you are young. Also, if you have a choice of working for the right company or the right individual, I would choose the right individual any day.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
My decision to make this change from IT to the financial industry was thought to have been the wrong decision. When I went into IT, it was during the internet bubble. When I wanted to change, there was a lot of resistance from friends and family because of the security the industry provides compared to the “short shelf-life” of the financial industry. In the long-run, it all turned out for the best. If you want to do something like this, start early in life. If it is wrong for you, it is much easier to go back.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I subscribe to a lot of social media trends. There are a lot of knowledgeable individuals out there. Once I identify those people or organizations that provide information relevant to what I am doing, I keep a close eye on them. I harvest that information. The key is to filter the “noise” from the substance.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Looking at strategies, many people go for one or two sectors or industries. I do not have tunnel vision. I have my hand in many cookie jars, so to speak. I believe in multi-tasking. I do not stay in one line of business. I trade on a variety of different structures. That strategy has proven to keep me at a higher percentage of more right than wrong.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
In this business, when you are managing another person’s or institutions finances, the expectation is to have a consistently positive trend. In a perfect world, I would deliver that. But realistically, the law of averages always catches up. When that happens, you may face client redemptions. When I cannot accomplish maintaining the client’s confidence, it feels like a failure. Now when I bring new clients onboard, I explain the nature of the market thoroughly and that you have to have staying power. I let them know that they should not stress on short term results – but rather look at the longer term trend.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Under Capital markets, look for more structured and niche markets. There are not as many eyes on those markets so trading opportunities are plentiful.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I just recently took a two-week cruise with my family and a few friends. I think that was the best way I could spend any money. It was a good thing to break out of the mold and get away for a while. It was a great outing for me. I loved the time that I spent with my son, it is great to hear the perspective of a middle-school child. The dynamics shared with my family and friends are something that I will treasure for a very long time.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I use Bloomberg Terminal Software. 95% of capital markets rely on this software for charts, graphs, and news. It allows you to manage a portfolio and has a live data feed of the industry.
What is your favorite quote?
Something that I firmly believe in is “No Risk – No Reward.”
• Strong track-record when it comes to relationships with a variety of clients in the market.
• I live and breathe this business.
• I have a solid understanding and passion for the market.
• I leverage all of my experience having worked for large corporations.
• I can hit the ground running as a powerful entrepreneur in my own business.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.