Abby Buchanan is a Senior Vice President corporate trading analyst in Fixed Income at Stephens. In her 30-plus years in financial services, Abby worked in operations, in asset management, as an equity research analyst and now in Fixed Income Sales & Trading on the corporate desk at Stephens. We were able to speak with Abby about her experiences at the firm.
Q: You’ve had a wide range of roles. How did you end up in fixed income?
A: I joined Stephens as a Corporate Bond Analyst for Fixed Income. Working on the trading floor, I leveraged my knowledge base while expanding into new sectors. I enjoy the faster pace and transactional nature of the trading floor while truly appreciating one-to-one relationships where I find solutions and create opportunities.
Q: What keeps you motivated at Stephens after all these years?
A: Corporate bonds is my area in fixed income, and I enjoy the research process which ties into my time as an equity analyst. There are nuances in bond trading - every bond is different, every transaction is different, and every account is different. That keeps the job from getting routine.
Additionally, there are always new projects beyond the scope of daily trading. Working on the trading floor allows for interaction with other departments, Investment Banking, Public Finance or Stephens Capital Management so there’s opportunities to get involved in different aspects of the firm.
Q: With a career spanning more than 30 years, how has the financial services industry changed from your perspective?
A: When I started in financial services, there was an emphasis on long hours and 7 day work weeks. That said, I joined Stephens more than 18 years ago and relocated with my family from Florida to Arkansas. Stephens leadership was extremely accommodating of my family situation. I could work from home as needed and leverage human resources for information about doctors, childcare, etc. Today, this has become a more standard practice for any company but back then it marked a difference in how Stephens operated. Stephens, then and now, is a family owned business that is committed to supporting their employees fully.
Q: And what about financial services overall and Stephens in general?
A: I honestly think financial services in an incredible industry for a woman, even though we remain under-represented. The financial industry wants people who are smart, creative, intelligent, and can get results.
This is especially true at Stephens and what I truly appreciate is that the firm is not so big that you don't know Warren Stephens. At larger firms, you might never see, let alone speak with, the CEO.
In addition, because it’s privately owned Stephens is not being managed quarter to quarter. At one point in my career before Stephens, within a two year window I experienced two corporate buyouts and mergers. That can be terribly distracting and exhausting. Here, I trust the decisions that management makes are focused on the long-term. That lets me focus on my trading desk responsibilities for the long-term.