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Women and Equality on Wall Street

Diving into women's experience in the finance industry for Women’s History Month

Managing Editor
Mar 18, 2022 at 11:26 AM
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    This week we have a special edition of Chart of the Week, to celebrate Women’s History Month here at Schaeffer’s Investment Research. This past week, Managing Editor and host of Schaeffer’s Market Mashup podcast, Patrick Martin, had both Schaeffer’s COO Katie Schaeffer and his co-Managing Editor Emma Duncan on, to speak about what it’s like developing a career in as a woman in the finance industry, what’s inspired them, and some challenges they have faced. Below is a transcription of the first 30 minutes of the episode, titled: Women and Equality on Wall Street. At the bottom of the transcript you can find a link to the full 50-minute podcast on Spotify. Thanks for listening and happy Women’s History Month!



    Patrick Martin: All right, welcome back to Schaeffer's Market Mashup, an episode that some would say is years in the making. I'm thrilled to be joined in person by Emma Duncan, co-managing editor here at Schaffer's and legend herself. Katie Schaeffer, COO of Schaeffer's Investment Research, how is everybody?

    Katie Schaeffer: I'm very excited that Miss Emma is in the office came all the way from California.

    Patrick Martin: Yeah, she told me that over the weekend is like you realize why I'm here. It was a pressure on so no,

    Emma Duncan: Anything for the podcast! Yeah.

    Patrick Martin: No, I'm glad you guys are here. This is a conversation I've been excited to have for a long time, now. You've heard of talking this space, a lot about investing, options trading, strategy as it pertains to retail traders, this is going to be a little bit different. It's a very much needed dialogue, I think about gender in the investing world in the dynamics of stock market stigmas. Having gotten to know both of you, for nearly going on five years here in April, I think both of you bring, you know, incredibly fresh perspectives. That's very necessary in today's world. So before we dive all into it, let's get some background on both of you. Just you know how you got to here and in some important steps along the way and Emma you go first.

    Emma Duncan: So I started working here about a month after Patrick in May of 2017, right out of college, I was fresh. And I started off as an assistant editor, and slowly just made my way up the ladder and have learned a lot along the way. And Schaeffer's has changed a lot. And we've all changed a lot. But I think we're in a really great place now and I'm excited to be here.

    Katie Schaeffer: All right. This is Katie. I started at Schaeffer's. Also as an assistant, just assistant to the CEO, my dad, Bernie Schaeffer. When I got started, I had a lot of just like ideas from my college like I wanted to like apply everything that I learned in college like that's how I thought everything worked. Like you learn in college and you find a business and you make the money. Like that's how things work. And after I got started and I saw like the processes required to implement new ideas and kind of like, learn how everything had come to be, it really adjusted the way that I understood how business worked. And so I went from, I was an intern here for all college. I basically interned in every department that we have. And that was not true work because I would feel I would only do it if I could get Friday's off. And that was not that was very much not my career. But when I graduated from college, this is where I wanted to be. My dad has always been an inspiration to me and with what he's built and how hard he worked to build it. Options trading really wasn't that popular when he started, he kind of like went all in on options trading. And that's not just like professionally, I'm talking our family was like, all in on options trading when I was about three years old. That's kind of always just been ingrained in me. And, you know, but from his assistant to, I ran our business development team, which was just like kind of our business to business, like partnerships and stuff like that. Then I moved into managing our internal sales team and Customer Experience team. And now here I am running all of it, all the different departments. So that's kind of how I got here. And it was really just like a progression of where I was learning and where I could apply what I learned and, you know, push myself out of my comfort zone repeatedly.

    Patrick Martin: Yeah, I think that's the case for both of you guys have risen quickly through these ranks. I mean, Emma, and I started at the same level, and then due to, you know, a shake up above us, in what three years, we found ourselves, you know, try having to hire our own people. And then basically reshape the department how we see it, Emma you can go first here again, along this kind of climb up the corporate ladder. I hate that jargon. But it is true. I mean, it is it's a ladder, you know, what are some of the challenges you both have faced?

    Emma Duncan: I think definitely, in being a female, and then also being in a niche like finance, and options trading, there was one, a huge learning curve when I started, because I did not know anything about the finance industry, or stocks, or Wall Street or anything like that, when I started, I just knew how to write. And so I had a big learning curve, it took me about a year to be confident enough to keep getting better, and just improve myself in my work. And then I think after that, once I became more of like, a manager and more in charge of other people that comes with its own set of challenges and cross department working, working with other women and men in the workplace, and just kind of figuring out how to balance everything well, so covering the needs of like your employees, so that we can all work together and stay as happy as possible.

    Katie Schaeffer: Yeah, I think like, especially for you guys, for Patrick and Emma, you guys were pushed into a position that was outside of your comfort zone, like you had just been kind of writing and editing, doing your own thing, had somebody who kind of oversaw everything. And then we put you guys in charge of the entire team, and you guys really, like took the ball and ran with it. And it wasn't about like having one female and one male around the department, that had nothing to do with it. It had everything to do with like, the way you guys work together and the way together, you could find a team that you could really build and keep happy, not just happy, but like, motivated and like involved in you know, growing their interest in the stock market, which we're in Cincinnati, like, this is not stock market central, all like it is everybody's into the stock market now. But five years ago, you know, there was the workout Fidelity or you weren't here. And there were like a few other small, like investing boutique type places. But if you were interested in investing, like you went to New York, you went to Chicago, you didn't stay here. So we've been really lucky that we've been able to train people here in all areas, but we're talking about content right now on learning, investing and finding compelling ways to, you know, share our analysis and kind of share what our analysts are saying in a way that real traders can understand it.

    Patrick Martin: Yeah, it's been a it's been a exciting you know, kind of I think transition in the past three years because we are essentially operating I think with a blank slate once you would say the pandemic hit, and everybody just dove headfirst into the stock market. I remember talking to Katie and being like, "we could literally do anything" like we could like we could go into video we can do you know, confessionals I mean everything in we have started to implement a lot of that stuff. But I think the first step there was to have a team in place, at least on the digital side, that was equally as ambitious, equally as organized. And, you know, Emma deserves a lot of credit, I think for kind of, you know, having the same vision and you know, there was zero like pushback at all. And I think that's so important in a workplace environment. That there is you know, this kind of give and take that's not personal that's not you know, kind of ego-driven. Yeah, I mean, it's exciting, I think to be in that kind of situation. So Katie, you can take this one first, you know, having been around in options trading in the stock market much, much longer than us.

    Katie Schaeffer: I am not that much older than you.

    Patrick Martin: True. So for the listeners, yes, she is roughly my age. But more,

    Emma Duncan: But your whole family was into it. Yeah.

    Patrick Martin: That's, that's hilarious. That's, it's great. how that worked out. Anyway, how are some ways that you you have seen the stigma of thought that, you know, the stock market is dominated by men and, you know, testosterone driven environment? What have you seen change in the last 10 years?

    Katie Schaeffer: You know, when I first started and went through, like, all that training that we do here at Schaeffer's, about like, what our options what the stock market, like what happened all of our like internal education programs, we used to have a book that was literally called "Women in Investing." And it compared investing to shopping. And I thought, and this was like, before anybody wanted to say anything about women and investing, and there really weren't that many women who invested. And I was like, that is so offensive. Because there's more things that women understand than shopping. But um, so I remember that like, as part like, one of the first things I learned, I was just like, wow, that is there's investing and then there's investing for women and it is different. But I think that just in general, like, you know, Wall Street, just completely dominated by men. And when I did the partnership stuff, earlier in my career, I would go to New York, and I would just be in rooms full of just like seasoned men, like they have been in the industry for a really long time. They'd seen it all. And I was just like this, like 20-something like with the right last name, to get their attention, but not like, you know, I still like show up. And they're like, "Wow, she's like a teenager. And she's like, asking us, she's like, coming with these ideas." And it was, like, very difficult to be taken seriously. Then, I mean, like, there were a few great people that I met that didn't make it make me feel like I wasn't being taken seriously. But I would say like the majority of people were like, just kind of, you know, brush it off, like, oh, it was nice to meet with her. Like, can you bring Bernie back in at some point, you know, like, let's bring this conversation around or ask for my Dad to be part of the meetings and stuff. And it didn't really like, at the time rubbed me the wrong way. Because I was just like, I'm, I don't know, I'm still new. So I kind of just associated it with being now and it could have been totally, like, that could have been why they were like, right, I know. Right? Emma rolls her eyes. You know, I think that essentially, like, you know, for real Wall Street, like going down on Wall Street, like, there are still like, the restaurants that they go to are all men and like, you have to get like a special exception for women to go with you used to basically be with a man who was like a member there and like, women can't be members. So I still remember that kind of stuff at the beginning. But like here, our traders have like, trying to remember we have had like one or two of our traders who are women. So it's just like a kind of build on that stereotype that like men are the people who manage money men are the people who invest men are the analytical ones, you know, all those stereotypes, kind of just kind of get reinforced there. Wow. And like, my dad is like the best trader that I know. And man, analytic well, like, you know, it's the stereotypes are very cyclical. It's not It's like there are men there who are doing the analysis and are doing the trading and are doing well. And then you're like, there's not any women there. And there's, you know, you don't even know that you have a stereotype that men are in finance. Over the years, not just with like, COVID, I definitely have seen like a big increase in our customer base of women are looking to take control of their finances. And it's not just like, single women who like are like, you know, either widows or divorced and trying to like recoup whatever's going on with their finances. Like, it's women who are just like, actively, like, married or not. They want to take control of their investments. They want to understand what options trading can do for their portfolio, and it's very refreshing. It's still not the percentage you'd like to see. But like there are a lot of sites like all best and there's a lot there's a bunch of news or magazine's two that are just dedicated to highlighting people and find women in finance who have moved the needle, because they need that highlight because everything is about the men that move the needle. And so like those highlights of women in finance are so important.

    Emma Duncan: Yeah, I completely echo and agree with that. I think even I've struggled sometimes to learn when to push back. And you know, we're really, I feel lucky here to have like a female in charge. But most women probably don't have that. And so I can't imagine not having like another woman who's above all the other men to like, have my back. Because otherwise, I probably wouldn't take as many risks or push as much. But I've definitely learned to kind of stand my ground and hold my own. Because yeah, most of the traders here I will, all of them that we have now our men. And you know, a lot of them are great, though. And so that's, that's what matters is it also matters how it's honestly, it's the men who have to kind of step up a lot and be like, hey, like, that's great. Like, sure, of course, like, and be really aware of how you're treating your co-workers, especially the women, and make sure that everything's equal, because it's just generally not. And you, I think they can get really used to that. And, you know, it's just how it's been for a long time. So it's a lot of work to break that.

    Katie Schaeffer: Yeah, I'm breaking stereotypes that you didn't even create. It's very, yeah, because it's not just like, one is like, is sexist in right, everyone is sexist in general. On average, but you know, there's, it's just built in to society. So it's not just like she or like, our little bubble at Schaeffer's, we're really lucky because there are a lot of strong women that work here. And there's a lot of men who are comfortable working with strong women and are comfortable with a woman voicing the same kind of feedback or pushback or ideas as men, like there's no difference. And like Patrick's a great example of that. Because there's definitely people not at Schaeffer's, but there's definitely people out there who hear something from a woman and hear the same thing from a man and are much more on-board with a man, the man saying that just because stereotypes. So I feel like that's something that it's just like a, it's a road that you have to keep stepping up. It's not something that you can just change here, even though I feel like we've done a really good job. We have strong female managers, and we have strong male managers, and everyone knows how to coexist and not treat each other differently. Or if you push back on something, just call somebody who's we'll just call somebody like a "bitch" or call somebody like "rude" or "I can't believe she feels like she could talk to me like that." That I'm glad that we can like if that if there was ever anybody who said something like that or felt like that, like I feel like our team, you know, the majority of our team knows that that's not okay. And it gets addressed right away. It's not like a lingering issue where you just feel like every time you bring up a concern, someone's gonna be like, What a bitch. Yeah.

    Emma Duncan: Yeah, I think it's a climb we have to make together and so takes equal effort from men and women to kind of coexist.

    Patrick Martin: from a personal perspective. I can attribute a lot of my background and you know, comfortable or comfort level with this. My mom, my mom, would his is been in politics for 24 She's won 17 Straight elections she has had to deal with that on the on the public level. That is in a sense why I grew up seeing this, however, not everybody has that background like me. So for anyone that doesn't, you there are so many walls to break down and I think both of you touched on something of one accountability, and two, just kind of visibility overflows, non stop. Ellevest, right that Ellevest and then as far as, like, the more of that becomes prevalent and mainstream. It's a it's going to help the narrative change quicker than just kind of like a natural progression. It will it'll push it forward. And I want to go back to you here because I appreciate this. I did not come from a finance background at all. The the classic story is I got a i i feel it. Yeah, I didn't know I didn't. I broke I failed that. Economics my sophomore year, I retook it and got a B minus. And I know you, you're an English major at U.C. Correct?

    Emma Duncan: I did Communications and Professional Writing. So, basically.

    Patrick Martin: So what challenges did you have? Am you adjusting to that? Completely new ecosystem?

    Emma Duncan: Yeah, it was a huge, huge adjustment. I think when I started, I was just so eager to get a job, honestly, anywhere out of college as a writer, I thought that would just be the coolest thing. And Schaeffer's was one of the places I got an interview at. And I remember in my interview, talking to our former boss, and being like, oh, like, I don't know anything about finance, like, why am I here? And she was like, Don't worry, don't worry. So the learning curve for that was just so immense, I couldn't even you can't even explain it to anyone that hasn't done it. Like it literally takes the full year minimum. And then you're I mean, we're still learning. We're going into year five, like, we're still learning stuff. And I have no finance, like education, formal education, but now it's my old boss used to joke that it was like, we have like a finance degree, by the time that first year is over, because you've learned in a completely new language almost and jargon and and then coming from my communications and professional writing background, I had to kind of retrain myself of like how to write more concise, and cut things short, and really just lose all of that stuff that you teach yourself in college to return cows and do all this other random crap, it doesn't really matter. And so it was just a lot of scaling back, getting more simple and helping other people be able to read and digest what we were trying to relay from the traders and our analysts. And so it was definitely a lot of work. But now it's just like, second nature. So just takes a lot of repetition.

    Katie Schaeffer: And now honestly feel like after the first year, not only do you guys will learn about the market and learn about like how stocks work, and how we analyze things, but you also like, get to the level where you can teach other people about it. And like that is an entirely different level of education and understanding. Like, it's not just like, can you tell me what to call it put is like, you define this indicator? It's like, explain it. Why does this indicator matter? Like why would someone trade call? Or why would someone buy calls in this situation? Like, it is, it is an immense training that happens over? You know, it sounds like, Oh, you have a year to do it? That's fine. You were also like working during the day, right? Like, you're just like taking courses and learning how to do Yeah, yeah.

    Emma Duncan: that's how we learned it was through working. And that's honestly how I learned is by doing it, like physically doing whatever is being taught.

    Patrick Martin: Right now, if you get a comm [commentary] from a trader, it probably takes you, what 30 seconds to two minutes to see it and identify what it is understand it clean anything up that might be wrong. Look at a chart and say like, okay, this, this, this is what, you know, I identify support resistance, done. Does it think that like 2022 us is doing that, as opposed to 2017, you know, shows how far we've come. And I think that's because of the environment we're given here where, you know, at the same time, it's high pressure, there are deadlines and stuff, but there is an open learning curve. And I think that comes from I think Katie's background, you know, with your Dad and everything. So if you wanted to expand on that a little bit, you know, how you joined an industry that he essentially founded.

    Katie Schaeffer: So when I joined it, the funny thing is, is I didn't even understand it was like an industry like you I just was like stock market, that was it, I didn't understand how niche our company was until I really started working here. We would go to like money shows and other like speaking engagements. And these people would just like follow my dad around and like begging him to talk to him and I was just so thrown off because like, I had that like father daughter like I idolized him I thought he was smartest man in the world. And you know, he's amazing. He created this entire like company he like runs every single aspect of it. Like that's my mindset and then we get to these three shows and he's doing like the keynote speech in front of like 1000's of people. People are -- like the following part was like the craziest thing in the world, like I felt like he needed security and all he had was me and I'm just like so blown away by like the how much people valued his just like market outlook like it wasn't even specific options trading so like wrapping my head around the power of our brand was probably one of the like most important parts of growing and developing and being able to can environment where people can collaborate and like build even greater ideas. And like you said that I created the environment, I didn't you guys also contribute that on my right -- each manager that I have adds to the environment with their ideas and ways of pushing the market forward. The market has changed so much in just the last year, I mean, two years, like COVID, everything has just like shifted significantly. And that impacts everybody differently, like traders, obviously, they have to readjust how they're looking at the market. There's like a million new indicators and funds and stuff like that for people to use to measure what's going on in the market. You know, from a writing perspective and from our content, like the free content that we post on the website and our newsletters, like your do we start in when did we start incorporating stuff about Bitcoin? Like, at first it was like, okay, everyone's obsessed with it, but no one knows anything about it. And then I'm like, Okay, I'm like investors are actually taking money that they used to invest in software. But in cryptocurrency, we need to figure that out and make sure our audience is informed because like, we need to, like stay on top of that concept that the best traders are educated traders. And no one should be trading without education. And we kind of stepped out of just options trading we like included information on cryptocurrency, we talked about the rise of bitcoin and how that impacts and correlates with the market, like the market of constantly evolving and hat and being able to constantly evolve with it. You know, I learned that from my dad. He was always kind of like, you know, making moves constantly, always seemed like he was making me as a force anything happen? And I'd be like, Why is he making that move, and then the thing would happen. But, you know, it's still like, it's still like that now, like, when, when Robinhood traders started. I still remember we like had a meeting, like maybe like, mid-Summer of COVID, the first year of COVID, back in 2020. And he was telling me how, you know, Tesla, weekly options, traders were like tracking where they were always buying the cheapest option. They weren't buying, like, they were they were going Tesla weeklies buying the cheapest option on the options chain. And it was like creating this opportunity for him to basically trade against it, and kind of know what he's talking about. I was like, you know, I got the, like, gist of what he was saying, but I was like, why is that so important? Like sounds like a very specific opportunity. Like it was essentially like, this is how meme stocks are going to start evolving. And you know, he has he still has that, you know, feel for the market and I still learn a lot from him every day. It's all like I just like was gifted the running the company and I don't need him at all. And I you know, I like looked at him and I look to my managers for a lot of my ideas and a lot of like the direction that the company's gone.

    Patrick Martin: I mean, look at the beta platforms, but from January. Yeah, on really unreliable numbers tanked they're just like holy shit. Yeah, like we nailed it. I wanted that like plastered over everything. That's crazy. And there was a united effort of like, you'll get this out everywhere. Yeah, and I think that's a very unique environment where you know, like, Bernie, you'll get that done but then everything else was just moving like a fine-tuned machine.

    Katie Schaeffer: Like major customers under said like, how he did that isn't like he like predicted that that the market that Meta (FB) was going to crash or can only predict what was going to happen with earnings like whether it was going to be good or bad. He predicted that it was not going to be a good reaction regardless. And like trading earnings is an art form. I don't even know if you call it like science anymore, like earnings is dealing with along with like, you know, the technicals and all that stuff that is swinging for the fences.

    Patrick Martin: You have to be willing to take some serious hits. You're looking at something like DraftKings (DKNG). Now recently, I just got torched. So a more specific question, I think and Emma can go first here: Who have you looked up to as a role model, whether personal or just kind of you know, in life in general, as you're you acclimated to this role and going forward.

    Emma Duncan: I definitely was super lucky. I grew up with two moms who are very pro higher education, very pro-career, and also very pro, being able to have it all you could be a mom, you can have a marriage or a relationship or partnership and then you can also be educated and keep up with your career and work really hard. And obviously there were always sacrifices that they had to make but, I mean, I remember being 12. And watching my mom go back to school to get a double master's degree. And she became a professor. And for a long time, she was in school with my older brothers, and was a single mom. So she's just always had a hustle about her. And then she also always pushed me, once I realized I wanted to do writing, I mean, even in middle school, she would always help me improve. And of course, at the time, I like hated her for it. And I was like, I don't want to keep redoing this. But I'm so grateful. Because then by the time I got to college, I was so much better at even just doing my papers and things like that. And then the drive of that, and being able to just be a woman and be a director or be these large roles. Because I got to see that firsthand. I was always expected to go to college and get a higher education and work my ass off and go, because that's what we do. There's no other option for that. So yeah, definitely my moms I was very, very lucky with that.


    Subscribers to Chart of the Week received this commentary on Sunday, March 13.


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