THINKING: Profiles

Kristi Blake – Vice President, Institutional Trader

Kristi Blake, an Institutional Trader on Penserra’s Equity Exchange desk, thrives working in the high-energy environment she shares with her colleagues on the firm’s bustling trading floor in Chicago. A serious workout enthusiast, as well as the mother of a toddler, Kristi recently won Penserra’s inaugural Wellness Program. She’s recently taken up curling and says the broom-brushing sport is really fun and much more difficult than it looks.

Q:  You joined Cheevers and Company in 2008 in trade support before being promoted to institutional broker. Can you describe your present role at Penserra’s Cheevers Division, and how does your previous experience of clearing and settling trades enhance your present position?

As an institutional broker, I cross and facilitate QCT’s, stock specifically tied to options.  Having started my career at Cheevers as a clerk, progressing to become a member of our clearing and settlement team has helped me tremendously.  I understand the entire lifecycle of a trade, from start to finish.   This knowledge allows me to provide value to our clients on all facets, from pre-execution inquires, to different clearing methods, as well as settlement instructions.

Q:  You earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Illinois at Chicago. What factors influenced you to pursue a career on Wall Street?

I’ve always had an interest in the stock market, specifically options. I knew I wanted to be a part of it.  I enjoy the fast-paced environment of the stock market.  Every day is different and comes with unique challenges.  I love the interactions with clients and coworkers that I know can’t be replicated outside of this environment.

Q:  Given your experience, how does Penserra compare versus the competition when it comes to servicing institutional clients?

I believe that Penserra is the best.  Having worked in multiple departments within the firm, I can attest that what sets Penserra apart from the competition are the employees.  Our years of experience, customer service orientation, and dedication to our customers cannot be matched.  Everyone is willing to share their experiences and knowledge openly; this leads to a culture that promotes learning and development. It’s a truly unique environment that I’m proud to be a part of.

Q:  You recently won Penserra’s inaugural Wellness Program. In fact, you left the competition in the dust. You also are the mother of a one-year old toddler. What activities do you do to stay in shape? And how do you find the time?

I’ve always enjoyed being active, and I’m a competitive person. I love HIIT (high intensity interval training), lifting weights, and I’m constantly trying new activities and routines.  When Penserra decided to have a wellness competition, I knew that I had to win. It’s a bit more of a challenge finding the time for these types of things with a toddler, so I try to incorporate workouts we can do together as a family.  We enjoy going for walks and riding our bikes.  Fun fact: I’ve recently taken up curling, which is a lot of fun and much more difficult than it looks!