To highlight the important work and impressive achievements of women in financial services, the STA Women in Finance Committee is pleased to highlight women from all areas of the industry who aim to inspire the next generation of women in finance.This month, we’re highlighting the career of Martina Rejsjö, Director of Regulatory Affairs at Eventus, where she focuses on best practices and efficiencies in trade surveillance. Prior to joining Eventus, Martina was head of Nasdaq’s MarketWatch surveillance team covering U.S. equity markets. Martina previously served as Nasdaq’s Head of European Trading Surveillance in Stockholm. Martina has more than 20 years of experience within the financial markets with a focus on market structure, rules and regulation from both a European and U.S. perspective.
– Inessa Ruffman, JonesTrading & STA WIF Chair
Director of Regulatory Affairs
Why did you choose a career in the financial services industry? How did you get started?
My inspiration to start a career in the financial industry was my aunt. She worked at a bank when I was growing up and she was the coolest woman I knew. She had an aura of confidence around her that I think came from loving her job, and I wanted to be like her.After finishing my master’s degree in finance, I was drawn to the asset management part of the industry, as I found the dynamics of the stock market fascinating. There’s so much psychology and logic behind the movement of prices in the market. After almost 10 years of working at an asset management firm, I switched career paths after seeing an ad for a trade surveillance analyst position at the Stockholm Stock Exchange. This decision was again driven by my fascination with the movement of the capital markets – where better to explore that than at an exchange? Talk about getting to the core of trading dynamics! I was captivated by the surveillance point of view of trading, as creating trust in the markets by protecting investors from fraud and manipulation is essential to creating a healthy financial ecosystem.Since then, I have remained in the surveillance field, having served as Head of Trading Surveillance for the Nasdaq Nordic Exchange, VP of Nasdaq MarketWatch in the U.S. and now as a Director of Regulatory Affairs at Eventus.
How has the industry changed in the time that you’ve been part of it?
The biggest transformation has been the automation and speed of trading. When I started, you could look at a period of one second and get useful information, whereas now we must analyze data at the nanosecond level.Another obvious change is, of course, the number of women in the space. I have gone from being the only woman in the room to finding peers, mentors and amazing role models across the industry. One “fun” story from my portfolio manager days was when I attended a sales pitch and they made a point of ordering me a salad when they saw that I was attending the lunch, instead of the steaks that the rest of the group had!
What are you most proud of in your career and why?
I am most proud of my leap of faith in moving my family to the U.S. to further my career. We have now lived in the U.S. for almost nine years and do not regret the decision at all, even though I still find it weird when my Swedish kids text me in English. I moved to the U.S. to run the surveillance team for Nasdaq’s U.S. equity markets, one of the largest marketplaces in the world. It was a daunting responsibility, but my years there turned out to be some of the most rewarding of my career. This decision speaks to the importance of not being afraid of changes and daring to take on bigger challenges and responsibilities.
What are your hopes for the future of the industry?
I hope that the industry continues to focus on diversity and inclusion. There is so much benefit to having different points of view in every decision-making process. By building an inclusive culture, employees will feel confident in bringing forward innovations, which, in turn, often leads to improved productivity and higher retention rates.
Do you have any words of wisdom for the next generation of women in finance?
I have found that mentorship is a great way to help formulate a path forward. Working with a mentor who will ask you the right questions can lead to a clear understanding of what you would like to focus on and grow within. Find a person you look up to and connect with and ask to be mentored. And don’t view the mentorship as a one-way street – make sure to have a real conversation and offer insights back to the mentor. Speaking from experience, there is so much to learn from the newer generations, such as digital knowledge and fresh perspectives on the industry.And most importantly, don’t turn down opportunities out of fear that you don’t know enough to take on the job. Nobody else does either! You will learn while going through the journey – just make sure to ask for help and accept feedback, as that will help you grow as a person and make you a better leader.