Life in the Heart of Capitalism
Glenn Carell’s office is the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. He is the director of floor operations for GTS (Global Trading Systems), and he’s the guy who sets the price for a company when it decides to go public.
He’s also a WVU graduate, having earned his finance degree from the College of Business and Economics in 1992. He has seen some stuff, but there’s no doubt he knows his stuff. You see, he is associated with the largest global initial public offering ever.
Carell knows his way around a world that is made up of equities, commodities, futures, foreign exchanges and interest rate products. In order to truly understand what he does, let’s go into that world.
“I’m a designated market maker (DMM), currently the director of floor operations at GTS and the risk manager of the firm’s capital on a daily basis,” explained Carell, a native of Livingston, New Jersey. “A DMM is in charge of making a fair and orderly market in the securities they trade. We are responsible for the day-to-day operation in the securities we manage.”
He works for one of only five DMM firms on the floor of the NYSE. In short, when a company goes public, Carell’s company wants to handle that company’s initial public offering (IPO). And GTS is one of the largest DMMs on the New York Stock Exchange, responsible for more than $11 trillion of market capitalization.
“It’s an honor to be the director of floor operations for GTS, and I’ve worked so hard to get into this role. It’s a huge role that I never take for granted,” he said. “I love my job, and every day is like my first day. I try to learn something new every day.”
Glenn has worked as a DMM for multiple companies in his career, and his body of work is — how should we say it — incredible. He was in the driver’s seat when Twitter decided to go public in 2013. And he was the quarterback in 2014 when Alibaba, described by the Wall Street Journal as “by some measures, the world’s biggest online commerce company,” decided to go public.
Carell started his career in 1993, working as a specialist clerk for Mercator Partners. In 1998, he became a partner for Wagner Stott Mercator and started trading his own group of stocks. In 2001, he joined Bear Sterns as a managing director and helped run the trading floor. Carell became a senior director for J.P. Morgan, running its DMM floor operations in 2008. In 2009, J.P. Morgan sold its DMM unit to Barclays, where Carell became a director. GTS agreed to acquire the unit from Barclays in 2016, and he was appointed to his current position for GTS.
He currently trades 42 stocks, 38 of which he won by an interview process where he makes a presentation to a company that wants to go public. He is typically one of multiple presenters, and then the company decides who will represent them on the big day when they go public — and when Carell will ultimately set the price for the stock’s IPO.
“When a company goes public, the underwriters of the company price the pre-determined number of shares being issued to the public by the company,” he said. “My job deals with supply and demand, and I have to set the stock at a price that satisfies both the buy and sell side interests.”
Carell admits his job is not for the timid, and he remembers details of deals like Twitter and Alibaba. He and his team met with Twitter to pitch the company on being in charge of the 2013 IPO on the floor of the NYSE. He was selected, and on the big day he handled order flows, technology and all details for Twitter. And he proudly said that the process went flawlessly. The next day, CNN Tech’s article headline read “#WOW! Twitter soars 73% in IPO.”
“Everything went off without a hitch,” he said. “That was a huge deal. All eyes were on us because this was on the heels of the Facebook IPO [which he didn’t manage] and, as everybody knows, did not go smoothly at all.”
When it comes right down to it, Carell was a major part of financial history. He orchestrated the largest global initial public offering of all time in 2014 with the Alibaba Group. The company’s IPO of $25 billion shattered all records, and the diversified, online e-commerce company rewrote the NYSE book.
Not bad for a kid who is the product of an atypical childhood. His parents divorced when he was a baby, and his mother died suddenly when Carell was only eight years old. Raised by an aunt, uncle and cousins, his love for athletics — particularly basketball — grew and grew. He made close friends growing up, and it was that group of friends who eventually led him to West Virginia University.
“I had good friends apply to WVU, so I decided to apply there. I got into WVU and other schools I had applied to for college. I visited campus and I absolutely loved it,” said Carell. “It helped that I had friends going there, and there were five or six of us from my hometown. And so, off to WVU I went.”
His B&E professors encouraged him, and tapped into his appetite for competition.
“My professors in finance were very good. There was an enthusiasm at WVU, and the professors seemed excited to instill knowledge in me. I love to compete, to be driven to excel,” he said. “I continue to have the passion I experienced at WVU.”
The more serene side of his life is in Marlboro, New Jersey, where Carell lives with his wife, Lisa, and their two children. He is involved in and supportive of his children’s activities, including coaching and, of course, being their own personal cheerleader.
Carell is grateful for his time at WVU and said his success started in Morgantown.
“The B&E curriculum was both challenging and instrumental in my successes throughout my career. It paved the way for my success in business and taught me the necessary tools to succeed in life as well. The professors taught me that hard work and perseverance are two of the most important characteristics that one can have to succeed in business,” he said. “What did I learn? Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Work hard and good things happen.”
In the meantime, Carell excels at his trade. He was voted to serve as a floor governor for the New York Stock Exchange, a position he has held for the past six years.
“Working in New York City is probably one of the most challenging and exciting times of my life. You really have to be on top of your game every day. I still believe to this day that I have the best job in the world! It’s exciting and fun, and I meet CEOs, CFOs and C-suite executives of the biggest companies in the world,” Carell said.
And if you think being in the middle of the biggest capitalism exercise in the world on a daily basis isn’t in his blood, you’d be wrong. “There is a saying on the floor of the NYSE that you are only as good as your last trade,” he said with a smile, “and that saying couldn’t be truer.”