Q&A with Chris Brennan, Co-Head of Commodities Trading, Jane Street…
Why do you think you won this award?
Thanks to our dedicated people and our collaboration across offices and desks, we were able to provide meaningful liquidity, quote competitive prices, and meet a wide range of client needs. Our traders cultivate a deep understanding of the products they trade, and the culture of collaboration at Jane Street means that that depth of expertise is broadly shared within the firm. As a result, we are able to facilitate just about any type of trade – be it a NAV trade, risk trade, or switch trade – in nearly all major products. From an organisational perspective, our centralised risk function lends itself to flexibility and efficiency, allowing us to offer consistently competitive pricing.
What is the size and scale of your business at the moment?
Jane Street has a global footprint, with primary offices in New York, London, Amsterdam, and Hong Kong. We are active in commodities markets in all major regions of the world and provide 24-hour liquidity across all major asset classes. Our commodities offering spans most major underlying commodities and commodity ETFs, and we also have well-established business lines in equities, fixed income, options, cryptocurrencies, and ETFs more broadly.
What trends have you seen over the past year?
In the past year, we’ve seen investors turn to ETFs for commodity exposure, which has been evident in inflows to broad-based commodity ETFs. Coming out of the stressed market environment of 2020, we also saw some pandemic trends reverse. For example, crude prices rose closer to their historical average and some precious metals ETFs saw outflows. There has been a considerable amount of product innovation in the space as well, with new and more targeted product launches in areas like shipping futures, renewables, and carbon.
What effect did lockdown have on your business?
Our tech teams did an amazing job of implementing our work-from-home infrastructure at the beginning of lockdown, which made for a seamless transition to remote work. In many ways, this new infrastructure allowed us to find more efficiencies in the way we run our business that will continue even after people return to in-person work. For example, the new communication solutions we built out ended up elevating our cross-office communication. This was incredibly valuable, particularly when facilitating complex trades that require a high level of collaboration. It made it even easier for our global teams to share information and solve problems together.
Where do you see the ETF industry going in terms of products over the coming year?
The commodity ETF space has been growing, and we expect commodity ETFs to see further product innovation in the coming year. ETF investors have come to appreciate the benefits of the ETF structure and are now looking for further innovations and enhancements, be it lower fees, targeted exposures, or simply more product lines to choose from. Given that appetite, we are optimistic that the commodity ETF space – and the ETF industry as a whole – will continue seeing the kind of growth and product innovation that we’ve observed in the last year.
Best Market Maker/Authorised Participant – Commodity ETFs
Best Overall ETF Liquidity Provider/Market Maker
Chris Brennan, Co-Head of Commodities Trading, Jane Street
Chris Brennan is Jane Street’s co-head of commodities trading. In this role, Chris helps manage the commodities group, which is active in trading nearly all major commodities and commodity ETFS. Chris began his career at Jane Street in 2003 on the equity options desk, then helped start the firm’s commodities trading operation in 2004. He holds a B.S. in Finance from the University of Delaware.