Melissa Hinmon looks within to do better
Melissa Hinmon, senior equity trader, is known widely in the industry, as attested by her receiving the Rising Star Award from Traders Magazine, her speaking appearances at trading conferences, and her involvement in the Investment Traders Association of Philadelphia and the National Organization of Investment Professionals.
Early in her first job as a runner at the Midwest Stock Exchange, Melissa Hinmon picked a Standard & Poor's 500 ticker guide out of a trash can on the trading floor.
"I memorized ticker symbols, what post they traded at, what the value of the stock was, and it just took off from there," says Melissa, who's now a senior equity trader at Turner Investments.
This attention to detail would soon pay off for her.
One day on the trading floor, the head of a large independent brokerage firm on the exchange shouted to no one in particular, "What's Harley-Davidson? And where does it trade?"
Sensing an opportunity, Melissa shouted back, "The ticker symbol is HDI, and it trades at $9 at Post One."
The incredulous manager asked Melissa who she was, and within days, Melissa was working for one of his competitors, J. F. O'Brien & Company.
"Once you set foot on the exchange floor, you felt the energy of what was going on," Melissa recalls. "There was excitement; there was passion about what people did on the floor. And that's a magnet. You walk in a room with all those people loving to do one thing, and it's hard not to fall in love with it, too."
From Chicago to Philadelphia
Word spread quickly about Melissa's drive and passion. Soon she received a call from McNamara Trading, a broker on the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, and accepted a job there as an independent broker. In 1988, she packed her belongings into a moving truck and left Chicago bound for Philadelphia. It would be her first time living on the East Coast.
After she worked for four years as a broker covering several accounts, Melissa's skills caught the attention of a senior trader at Merrill Lynch. He helped her get an interview with the head of Merrill Lynch's trading desk, who hired her as a clerk on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Melissa spent most of the next nine years working in various capacities for Merrill Lynch: junior trader, quant trader, and senior NASDAQ trader.
In 2001, with one daughter and another on the way, Melissa wanted to be closer to home, to the Philadelphia area, rather than on the road entertaining clients as she had been recently. So she joined Turner Investments.
Trades for six portfolios
"Turner values family, and Turner knew that was a factor in my decision to come here," Melissa says. "I'm able to do what I love, with the flexibility to be close to my family."
In her role at Turner, Melissa is responsible for trades for the firm's Midcap Core and Small Cap Value Equity portfolios and these long/short equity portfolios: Turner Market Neutral, Turner Global Resources & Infrastructure, Turner Navigator, and Turner TMT.
Melissa executes trades ordered by the portfolio managers on our Investments Team. But her position involves more than that. She, like the entire trading team, monitors the market, watching for catalysts that could affect the return potential of stocks in our portfolios -- acting as "a second set of eyes" for our portfolio managers, as she puts it.
"I think what makes me happiest is that I'm learning every day and that each day is different," Melissa says. "At Turner we're all in the same room in the Investment Center. It's a shared process -- if you want to talk to anyone here, you can, and I think the sense of collaboration and teamwork here is special."
Melissa Hinmon: “The market is a living, breathing creature and everything is changing. But that’s what makes it great; you come in every day with new challenges.”
Competing with herself
Just as when she was an eager young runner on the Midwest Stock Exchange, Melissa's work ethic continues to attract attention. In November, she received the Rising Star Award by Traders Magazine at a ceremony, Wall Street Women: A Celebration of Excellence, in New York City. The ceremony honored "high-impact professionals who will continue to lead the industry in the next generation," according to the magazine. Melissa was chosen for the award by an independent advisory council of women in the industry.
"When I went to the award ceremony and saw people I met when I started trading 26 years ago -- to realize that I was sharing a night with people whom I consider giants in the business was overwhelming to me," Melissa says.
Now, as the mother of three daughters, Melissa devotes much of her free time to her children, encouraging them in their academic and athletic pursuits and coaching lacrosse. She strives to be a role model for them and encourages them to believe they can achieve whatever professional goals they aspire to.
"I'm very competitive -- mostly with myself," Melissa says. "At the end of the day, I can see how I did on everything and how I can do better. I can see if I have had any impact on our portfolios and our clients. I try to challenge myself to beat my past performance every day."