Women in Finance: Changing the Face of Financial Services – Robin Henrich

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 Robin Henrich, Head of Equity Trading at Hotchkis & Wiley, where she is responsible for H&W’s trading and trade operations which include equities, derivatives, and international securities. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Henrich was a junior equity trader at Engemann Asset Management and an institutional sales and trading assistant at SoundView Technology Group. Ms. Henrich received her BA in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

– Inessa Ruffman, STA WIF Chair

Robin Henrich

Head of Equity Trading

Hotchkis & Wiley

Why did you choose a career in the financial services industry? How did you get started?

I went to UC Berkeley and played on the women’s soccer team – as a collegiate athlete with an Economics degree, trading resonated with my interest in finance, desire to be in a competitive environment, and ability to work under pressure. My first job out of college was a research sales assistant at Wit SoundView, a small tech-focused investment bank in San Francisco. I sat across from the traders and was drawn to the fast pace and energy of the desk. I believe this experience helped me develop a unique skill set suited for trading, and I felt equipped to navigate the financial services industry. In 2004, I joined Hotchkis & Wiley as a Junior Equity Trader and I have spent the last 18 years here, growing in my role to where I am now.

How has the industry changed in the time that you’ve been part of it?

Since I joined the industry in 2001, we’ve gone from clocking trade tickets in a time stamp machine to slicing time down to nanoseconds. Executing a trade has evolved from traders on the floor of the stock exchange with paper tickets to electronic markets and algorithms driven by artificial intelligence. Not only has the industry come a long way, but the speed of innovation is accelerating at a staggering pace. As a buy-side trader, I spend a great deal of time evaluating new technology, participating in industry conferences, and engaging with market structure experts in an effort to stay current.

Not only is each day different from a liquidity perspective, but the progression in regulation, market structure, technology, and product offerings is relentless. I feel lucky to have a career that challenges me to keep pace and offers the opportunity to learn every day.

In addition to the industry changing, my role at Hotchkis & Wiley has evolved as well. The scope of work has expanded beyond executing trades to include opportunities like managing our trade operations group, engaging in more in-depth interactions with potential and existing clients, managing commissions and counterparty relationships, and joining our DEI committee. The central role of trading in the investment process, combined with working for a fairly small company, allows for growth beyond the traditional job description.

I enjoy collaborating with other departments and learning about other areas of our business. As a member of the DEI committee, we help shape policy, provide companywide opportunities for education, and engage in community volunteerism. As we strive for greater diversity and inclusion, I feel fortunate to work for a company that prioritizes these initiatives and provides an avenue for me to contribute.

What are you most proud of in your career and why?

What I am most proud of in my career and what I see as my biggest challenges are one and the same: persistence and balance. I began trading in 2001 and have worked hard to build a career and progress in my role while at the same time bringing four children into this world. It has taken persistence to not only continue in my career but to grow and take on new and more challenging opportunities. My children are 14, 13, 11, and 10 – to say my days are full would not do justice to the current state of my calendar! The competitive side of me wants to be able to do it all, but I’m learning to prioritize and ask for help.COVID-19 challenged this more than any other time in my career – as I am sure it did with so many. I remained at the office every day to ensure continuity of the trading process and risk management. This was hard on my family, but I think it was a vital moment to help the firm during this time. Our family is back together in our normal routine thankfully with sports, school, and other activities.I still have a lot to manage, but delegating more and prioritizing projects and initiatives where I can make the most impact has helped me achieve some semblance of balance at both work and at home. Balance is a constant challenge, as most professional women can attest. There is certainly a lot I miss, and I feel spread thin at times, but I really love what I do – I think that’s the key!

What are your hopes for the future of the industry?

While the trend towards more diverse leadership in finance is on the rise, underrepresentation of certain groups is still an ongoing issue. Progress begins from the ground up. I hope that our industry’s initiatives to inspire students to pursue a career on Wall Street and reach diverse candidates in the early stages of their career will attract a broader range of talent and create a more diverse base that will grow into leadership roles. I also think internships and skills-based training in subjects like finance and computer science will help better prepare future candidates on both the buy side and sell side. As I look to hire, I can see the composition of candidates improving, but there is still room to close the gender gap and improve diversity in financial services.

Do you have any words of wisdom for the next generation of women in finance?

I have three pieces of advice for the next generation of women in finance: always show up prepared, don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know, but I will find out,” and raise your hand for opportunities, even if it means stepping outside of your comfort zone!