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The trader with a human touch

Daniel Schlaepfer, MBA 08
By Jasmin Legatos

Daniel Schlaepfer, MBA 08 “I wake up excited to do what I love. It doesn’t feel like a job or a career. That’s what I’m most proud of — being happy every day.”

Daniel Schlaepfer, president and CEO of Select Vantage Inc., is transforming the reputation of day trading — the high-stakes world of buying and selling securities the same day. With more than 2,200 employees trading up to $3.9 billion daily, his model is a novelty in an increasingly automated world. He relies on human beings to make trades — not computers.

“People regularly assume that our company is a giant computer,” says Schlaepfer. “In fact, we trade in a lot of stocks that automated systems won’t because our trades require an element of human insight.”

On education and his Concordia degree

“I’m in a field where, previously, there wasn’t a lot of academic credibility. Guys would rely purely on their instincts. Because of my education, the exchanges and banks took our firm more seriously. My MBA and CFA (chartered financial analyst) credentials gave me the skills to present what we do to the industry in a more data-oriented, professional way.”

Biggest challenge as a student

“Trying to grow a business while going to school. Finding the work-life balance was all-consuming. It made me better at time management. Now, life doesn’t seem as hard as it was back then, though the challenges today are probably much greater.”

Biggest challenge today

“The size and scale of our firm and the regulatory challenges that come with it. We’re constantly justifying our existence. We constantly tell regulators around the world: ’Just because we are not what you would expect does not mean what we do is wrong.’ They’re not used to what we have built so we are educating the industry on who we are.”

Proudest accomplishment

“That I wake up excited to do what I love. It doesn’t feel like a job or a career. That’s what I’m most proud of — being happy every day.”



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