JPMorgan’s Trading Chief Seeing a ‘Normal Busy Day,’ Not Chaos

The head of the world’s biggest trading operation walked into his office earlier than usual Wednesday, prepared for a roller-coaster session in the wake of Tuesday’s nail-biter election night. Instead there was calm.

“New York, depending on how information plays out, could end up looking like a normal busy day,” Troy Rohrbaugh, head of global markets at JPMorgan Chase & Co., said in an interview. “There don’t appear to be any issues on the Street either operationally or from a risk perspective.”

A close or contested outcome to the vote -- exactly what the country faced Wednesday -- was supposed to be Wall Street’s worst-case scenario. But markets have been orderly, Rohrbaugh said, speculating that uncertainty about the outcome may be keeping some clients on the sidelines.

“As a trader, these types of events -- days that are busy and unexpected -- are what you live for,” he said. “You look back on your career, you talk about the day you were in on Brexit, or when Russia defaulted.”

Some of the highest volume came out of Asia, where investors rushed to trade the offshore yuan, a key barometer of U.S.-China relations. Foreign-exchange trading volume in Asia was as much as four times higher than normal, but made for only the fourth-busiest day on record, according to Rohrbaugh. Single days in the wake of Brexit, the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the spread of the pandemic in March were busier, he said.

“We’re prepared for it to get very busy, but at this point it’s sort of wait and see,” Rohrbaugh said. “As an American, I just hope there’s clarity” on the election’s outcome.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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