A Great Team, Great Traders, Great Tech: Geneva Trading CEO Robert Creamer Breaks Down the Equation Powering the Company’s Success

Creamer sat down with Built In to reflect on the company’s humble beginnings, present initiatives and future ambitions.

Written by Jenny Lyons-Cunha
Published on Oct. 03, 2023
A Great Team, Great Traders, Great Tech: Geneva Trading CEO Robert Creamer Breaks Down the Equation Powering the Company’s Success
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 When CEO Rob Creamer meditates on the early days of Geneva Trading, one quality comes into sharp focus: hunger. 

“When Geneva started, it was hardly more than a group of competitive, clever and hungry graduates, mentored by seasoned veterans of Chicago and London’s trading floors. As the company has evolved in size and sophistication over the last 20 years, it has never lost touch with its scrappy trading roots.

“I’m proud that we have never lost our emphasis on traders,” Creamer told Built In. “I’m perpetually amazed by the raw and exceptional trading talent that we have developed and attracted to Geneva over the years.”

It’s an achievement Creamer attributes to the company’s collective of engineering and trading experts, who thrive working alongside great traders. The enthusiastic feedback loop has been a powerful force for the company and an anchor for its future endeavors, the CEO said. 

“It’s an exciting dynamic, and there's no doubt that you must be strong in all aspects of the business to thrive today and in the years to come.” 

 

WHAT GENEVA TRADING DOES 

Geneva Trading is a proprietary trading firm with a history of consistent success in the listed derivatives markets. Over the past 20 years, the firm has grown significant capital, developed proven technology and maintained an appetite for diversified trading strategies.

 

‘Great Team, Great Culture, Great Traders, Great Tech’ 

As Geneva Trading has matured over the years, Creamer’s vision of growth has remained stalwart.

“My understanding of growth hasn’t changed — the facets I focus on have evolved,” he said. 

During Geneva’s incipience, financial growth was paramount. These days, the company’s focus has expanded to include company culture. Parallel to the blossoming of the firm’s financial success has been the commitment to a fulfilling employee experience. 

 

My understanding of growth hasn’t changed — the facets I focus on have evolved.”

 

“I pay particular attention to the excellence of culture that we strive for our traders and contributors to feel every day at Geneva: great team, great culture, great traders, great tech,” Creamer said. 

In the breakneck pace of the contemporary tech landscape, it’s easy to lose sight of one of the central tenets of great business: creating value. 

“Companies often talk about growth in terms of headcount or top-line revenue,” said Creamer. “While these are certainly important measures of growth, they don’t always convey the health or attractiveness of an organization. 

“I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I prefer working in an environment where each contributor can make a meaningful impact,” he added.

To cultivate an environment in which employee impact flourishes, Creamer keeps his finger on the pulse of employee retention and satisfaction across the organization — noting that retention and positive feedback are overwhelmingly positive. 

“Geneva maintains an entrepreneurial and collaborative culture that embraces innovation and exploration, but our successes are made possible by the individual and collective achievements of our talented team members,” Creamer said. “The entire organization is focused on enhancing the subject matter expertise, effectiveness and overall fulfillment of every contributor.” 

 

 A Geneva Trading team member stands in front of a whiteboard filled with colorful writing.
Industry leading technology (not pictured) combined with sophisticated trading strategies keeps Geneva Trading at the forefront of innovation. (Geneva Trading)

 

‘Expanding Our Footprint’ 

There’s a symbiotic relationship that has powered Geneva’s growth.

“The tight alignment between our traders and team concentrates our efforts on investments that most benefit performance and achieve scale,” he said. 

The result is a brisk pace of innovation in Geneva’s trading platform and emerging technologies — a cornerstone for future growth.

“We are eagerly anticipating leveraging these strengths as we continue to expand our trading footprint,” he added. 

In anticipation of these impending advancements, Geneva Trading has poured ample resources into its research and development initiatives. The fruits of these efforts are an advanced trading platform and increasingly diverse trading opportunities.

“We’ve put an emphasis on hiring sophisticated engineering talent who could effectively position us for trading growth,” he said. 

Poised for expansion, Creamer has been intent on cultivating the right trader relationships and nurturing the capabilities of the team. 

“Scaling trading talent in specialized strategies prior to having the requisite technical components in place creates the potential for enormous tension between traders who have immediate needs and the engineering talent who perform better with a well-designed technical roadmap,” he explained. “Our development will never stop, but we are now at the stage where we can really leverage the phenomenal capabilities we have developed.” 

To bolster these efforts from within, Geneva has prioritized learning and development.

“We have a L&D department in the organization whose sole purpose is to support and elevate our employees as they face new challenges and opportunities,” he said. “Ensuring that our people are aligned, valued and supported is critical to every effort.” 

 

Two teammates stand on a boat in front of a sunset
Soaking in the stunning Chicago skyline during our office dinner cruise, a perfect blend of leadership and inspiration. (Geneva Trading)

 

A Permanent Boom 

Asked to meditate on the future of Geneva Trading, Creamer has his sights set on several trading niches on the horizon. 

“We have a best-in-class trading platform with exciting new edge-generating capabilities — which will allow our traders to have superior technical capabilities, particularly within the niches that we are targeting,” Creamer said. 

While Geneva has enjoyed the success of the principal trading industry over the last several years, the team is averse to resting on its proverbial laurels, said Creamer. 

“Following past boom periods, trading companies that grew haphazardly found themselves in a difficult position as their fixed costs were only sustainable in the best of times,” he said. “Stable growth requires the discipline to be mindful of the fact that the opportunities that you are enjoying are episodic rather than permanent.”

That’s why Geneva has its sights set on niche markets and focused growth.

“We recognized the need to specialize and set ourselves apart.”

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by Geneva Trading

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