Chris Churchman is on gardening leave. Bloomberg reported in late March that Churchman was leaving UBS after six years to join Goldman Sachs. Churchman, who only officially exited UBS on July 7 according to his FINRA registration, has just updated his LinkedIn profile to reflect his imminent new role.
Having been head of FX trading for the Americas and global head of FX options trading at UBS, Churchman is taking a different type of role at Goldman Sachs. He's joining the firm as a partner in charge of Marquee, Goldman's flagship 'platform' product. Described by CFO Stephen Scherr as a "digital store front where our institutional and corporate clients consume GS content, risk analytics, pricing data and ultimately engage with us to trade," Marquee has at least 50,000 users a month and is available as an API covering an increasingly broad range of products.
Given that Marquee has a "developer-focused culture" and originated with engineers, the choice of a non-technologist as its leader might be deemed unusual. - The original head of Marquee was James Blackham, a former head of digital structuring who now runs an insurance fintech. A subsequent head of Marquee EMEA was John Lynch, a former managing director of securities strats at Goldman in London, who's now a quant researcher at Susquehanna in Dublin.
However, Churchman fits the mould. Like his predecessors he's a mathematician. Both he and Blackam graduated in STEM subjects from Oxford University, but Churchman - who received a top first in mechanical engineering - went a step further and also studied a PhD in mechanics there. He appears to be in his very late 30s. Not long ago, he was a mere director in derivatives trading at Deutsche Bank.
In the March memo announcing Churchman's appointment, Goldman's co-heads of markets, Ashok Varadhan and Marc Nachmann, said he'll be reporting to them but will partner with George Lee and Marco Argenti, the firm’s co-chief information officers. He'll also work closely with Anne Marie Darling, the head of Marquee sales.
Marquee has been a major area of investment at GS in recent years. Before the pandemic hit last year, Goldman said it wanted to hire 350 people for both Marquee and Atlas, its high speed equities trading platform. Right now, it has around 30 Marquee-focused roles open, located everywhere from Birmingham and Bengaluru to New York, Warsaw and London. Marquee is a "highly visible and prestigious project to be involved in," says Goldman in its job ads, adding that it wants to hire,"engineers across the stack who enjoy working in a client driven and agile environment" on "low latency, scalable and resilient solutions." As at Morgan Stanley, where technology is run by ex-fixed income salesman Rob Rooney, Marquee's engineers will also need to be happy reporting into someone with a front office background.
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