The Real Titans of Finance: Demystifying the World of Prop Traders and Market Makers

To people outside of the asset management world, the most successful hedge funds and their strategies seem like the pinnacle of public market investing with high teens returns or slightly better being the target that many aspire to. Noel Smith, CIO of Convex Asset Management, looks at an entirely separate group as the real titans of finance—proprietary traders and market makers. In this interview with Mike Green, Smith argues that most investors would be stunned at the returns that are generated by these firms and how, having been a market maker and prop trader himself, he has seen firsthand what he believes are superior strategies that put most hedge funds to shame. They also discuss the evolution of market making and how that has affected market structure, why the intellectual capital and reinvestment in that world is what really sets these proprietary trading firms apart, and how he is blending the two worlds and bringing these prop trading strategies to outside investors at his fund. Filmed on June 8, 2021.

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