How Tomás is achieving excellence with Algorithmic Trading

6 min read

There are very few people who inspire us to continue achieving in life - be it personally or professionally. A Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA), holds a Master's degree in Financial Markets, and presently a Multi-asset Portfolio Manager - this is the story of Tomás, who has built an ‘arsenal’ of amazing achievements and skills.

For someone having an exhausting list of skills ranging from FX to Quantitative Analysis, Tomás is very passionate about learning and believes in sharing knowledge. Thus, he also teaches at several universities and business schools.

Tomás was kind enough to share his journey with us over a conversation. Here’s his story:

Hi Tomás! Could you tell us about yourself?

Hi! My name is Tomás V. García-Purriños. I am currently living in Andorra, which is a small and beautiful country located between Spain and France, in the middle of the Pyrenees mountain range. I feel lucky to live here.

One of my great passions is my job: Financial markets.

Some of my hobbies are outdoor sports that bring me closer to nature, like running or surfing. I also enjoy reading, not only about financial markets but also about history, science fiction, heroic fantasy and comics.

And of course, I love spending time with my family. Andorra is a very quiet and safe country, ideal for children.

Could you tell us about your present role as a Multi-asset Portfolio Manager?

As a multi-asset manager, I work with all asset classes and investment strategies. I have the support and help of our specialized teams (equity, fixed income, fund selection and ETFs, etc.) that allow me to focus more on the Asset Allocation part and on the development of investment strategies.

Also, I have always had some bias towards currencies and commodities.

To summarize, my job is to manage investment funds, portfolios and investment mandates, and develop the best investment strategies for them. And, of course, helping our commercial team with the communication of these strategies to our clients.

You are a CFA, a CAIA and hold a Master's degree in Financial Markets. But you started with a Bachelor’s in Law. Tell us about that story.

It has certainly been an interesting journey. I started studying law because it was part of a double degree that consisted of a law degree and a Masters in Financial markets.

Despite having learned many interesting things in law, especially a lot of “legal language”, so important in our sector, I have never dedicated myself to laws, and all my jobs have been related to financial markets, which is the field that most interests me.

In this sense, I decided to begin my training with the CFA and the CAIA, but also other courses and certifications as econometric courses, mathematics or algorithmic trading, to complete those parts of the theory that I had least studied in depth during my degree.

Over 12 years of experience in the financial sector and vast teaching experience - that must have been quite an amazing experience!

In the beginning, it was more complicated, since you have to find the equilibrium point between your interests and the available jobs. Luckily, I started working at the trading team of a large international bank branch in Madrid.

First, I started as a derivatives trader. Then, they offered me the opportunity to join the analysis and strategy team, as a macroeconomic analyst and investment portfolio advisor. Despite being very happy there, my great desire was to manage investment portfolios, so I did not hesitate when the opportunity arose.

You are a faculty at several universities and business schools. Could you tell us about that?

My vocation for formation comes from my family. My great-grandmother, my mother, two of my sisters and my wife were or are school teachers or high school professors. My father was director and head of studies at various schools and high schools. One of my brothers is a university professor and in one way or another most of my brothers and sisters are collaborating with universities or training courses.

For me, teaching has been a way of consolidating my knowledge. Finding simple, understandable words to explain complex things helps you to think more about the important concepts.

Currently, I am a professor of behavioural finance, commodities, currencies and alternative strategies in a well-known Spanish company related to financial communication and also a professor of behavioural finance and risk management in a prestigious business school in A Coruña.

Previously, I have given lessons in trading, behavioural finance and economics at different universities and business schools.

And, well, who knows, maybe someday I will have the opportunity to say with pride that I am part of the amazing EPAT faculty line-up!

Could you tell us about your experience in Trading?

In general, the strategies I have used have been mainly medium / long term focused.

I think that if you need a general idea about markets, like the one I need, you must take into account the fundamental part and the technical part, as well as the sentiment of the investors.

That is why I usually combine classic technical indicators with fundamental indicators (usually at the macroeconomic level) also adding the sentiment and flow indicators.

In general, I am quite pragmatic regarding styles and philosophies. I think they all have their time on the market and nothing works for every market situation.

In any case, the most important thing is risk management. Portfolio managers are not fortune tellers, it is impossible to know the future. But luckily it's not our job either. Our job is to manage all risks in the best possible way.

On the other hand, I think that the financial planning of a person is much more important than the concrete management of a particular strategy. So another of my focuses is in this part.

You have built quite an impressive reputation in trading. What motivated you to learn Algorithmic Trading?

I am convinced that quantitative strategies are the future of investments. This is the main reason why I wanted to strengthen my knowledge in this field.

Without any doubt, the Executive Programme in Algorithmic Trading (EPAT) has helped me a lot to reinforce my weaknesses, to consolidate my knowledge and to open up new paths to investigate on my own.

The best thing about EPAT is that it is mainly practical. The teachers give the lessons with Excel, Jupyter Notebook, Spider, RStudio or MATLAB opened, replicating in code everything they are explaining. Even the most theoretical parts, such as the explanation of options, is practical, explaining from the beginning the bases of strategies that once developed, work.

We are currently using quantitative strategies, combining them with a qualitative part, to manage many of our funds and client portfolios. Also, we´re working on the development and testing of investment strategies, using mainly Python. So, all that knowledge is really helpful.

One of my most important criticisms about technical analysis is, at times, its lack of rigour. Without any doubt, the EPAT has helped me a lot in this part. Compared to the studies done on fundamental ratios, etc., in the best-known technical analysis books, indicators are explained without emphasizing their reliability. In EPAT you learn to test them rigorously by yourself.

What are your plans for the future?

I want to continue improving my quantitative skills and deepen in the Machine Learning part. Also, I want to develop more algorithmic strategies, especially related to asset allocation, commodities and currencies.

On the other hand, regarding training, I am considering doing a PhD. And regarding more personal topics, but still related to financial markets, I´m also writing a book on behavioural finance.

My idea is to never stop growing professionally!

What message would you like to convey to the aspiring Algo Traders out there?

I think it is important that they know - that they should not stop training in what they are most passionate about or give up dedicating themselves to what they like the most. Opportunities arise only for those who are in the right place at the right time. For that, you have to be in many places at many times.

It is said that reading a contract before signing gives wisdom and not reading it, experience. Theory and practice, both are essential to achieve the objectives. Therefore, I recommend you to practice and practice what you have learned. Probably the best thing about EPAT, as I said before, is that you are practising the theory since the first lesson.

All the best!

While your proficiency with Technical Analysis just reflects across your journey, your exhaustive list of skills likes - Asset Allocation, Portfolio Management, Mutual Fund Manager, Investment Advisory, Economic Analysis, Quantitative Analysis - is truly a checklist for those who want to enter the financial markets.

Thank you for sharing your story with us Tomas. We’re sure it would motivate, guide and encourage individuals to adapt to Algorithmic Trading.

We agree that imparting knowledge is a boon. We at QuantInsti offer the Executive Programme in Algorithmic Trading (EPAT) which ensures that you are proficient in every skill required to excel in the field of trading with topics such as Statistics & Econometrics, Financial Computing & Technology, Machine Learning to name a few. If you too desire to equip yourself with lifelong skills which will always help you in upgrading your trading strategies, enquire about EPAT here.

Disclaimer: In order to assist individuals who are considering pursuing a career in algorithmic and quantitative trading, this case study has been collated based on the personal experiences of a student or alumni from QuantInsti’s EPAT® programme. Case studies are for illustrative purposes only and are not meant to be used for investment purposes. The results achieved post completion of the EPAT® programme may not be uniform for all individuals.

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