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Scott Christensen (CIO, Hanpa Trading) – What is Market Making anyway?

27 July 2018

"High Frequency Trading" /  "Market Making" - we've heard that term quite a lot in the Electronic Trading Systems space but what does it exactly mean and what does it take to be a good HFT trader or a market maker?


We've got Scott Christensen, the CIO Hanpa Trading to help answer those questions. Scott used to work as a trader for RBS in the past before he started his own HFT firm.


So, let me extend a warm welcome to Scott for taking the time to talk with us today.


We're going to split the podcast into three broad sections. In the first section, we'll ask Scott about his background and what lead him into finance (he's got a great story to tell there!) In the second part of the podcast, we'll go into the nitty gritty of HFT trading and we'll conclude by talking to Scott about what he perceives as the future of technology in the HFT space.



  1. Let's go back to the time when Scott the 20-something year old was an avid traveler. Tell us about that story and what made you leave comfortable USA and get into Asia

  2. You won a competition that paved the way for a career in finance. Tell us about that competition involving Mexican stocks

  3. What did you know about Finance when you first got into it?

  4. What was it like working for a big corporation? (RBS)

  5. What was it like working in Japan?

  6. When did the realization come to start your own company and why did you want to start one?

  7. Why the name "Hanpa" in Hanpa Trading?


"High Frequency Trading"

  1. What is Market Making? Please give us a 101

  2. What is High Frequency Trading? Please give us a 101

  3. Can there be a "low frequency" market making?

  4. nano seconds, milli seconds are some of the terms thrown it to determine how good market making systems are. Is speed everything in market making?

  5. Talk to us about the infrastructure that ones needs to be a "market maker". Can anyone become a market marker?

  6. How has market making changed since the time you started the company?

  7. Does technology make all the difference between a good market maker and a bad one?

  8. How important are strategies and can a HFT firm with good strategies and relatively inferior tech still make it big?

  9. Would you describe yourself as a tech guy or a business guy?

  10. What would it take, in your opinion, for an IT developer to stand out when building these market making systems?

  11. Is there a particular language like C++ or Java or C# that lends itself better to building these systems?


"Quick sneak peak into the future of Market Making systems"

  1. It sees like it's so easy to trade these days. Anyone can do it and there are so many 1-man bands out there. Do you think this space is now saturated?

  2. How do you see this industry changing in the future?

  3. Are there any particular countries or places that have an advantage when it comes to having these trading firms established there?

  4. Everyone is talking about Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and Big Data. What do these mean in the world of market Making? How much of it is hype?

  5. What are you doing at Hanpa to embrace the future of Market Making?


Winding up:


  1. What career advice would you give to young ambitious IT professionals climbing up their career ladders now and wanting to do something in the world of Market Making?

  2. Do you have a special routine that you follow that has enabled you to achieve success in your career?

  3. What books do you read? Is there a pattern and what are some of the top books you'd recommend?

  4. Has there been a key mentor or a significant person in your life that has enabled you to achieve the success you have had in your career?

  5. Knowing what you know now, if you could travel back to when you were 25 years old, what advice would you give yourself?

  6. Is there anything else you would like to say that we haven't asked you?


Scott Christensen (CIO, Hanpa Trading) – What is Market Making anyway?
00:00 / 1:13:54
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