10 Years Later: Tourmaline Partners CEO Reflects on a Decade in Outsourced Trading


No matter what business you are in, the beginning of a new year is a natural time to reflect – a chance to take stock of one’s accomplishments, challenges and lessons learned. For our team, there is double the reason to celebrate, as this week marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of Tourmaline Partners. To reach this milestone is certainly gratifying. It also serves as a clear validation of what we do and how we do it.

When we launched in 2011, none of us were envisioning what our business would look like in 2021. We were focused on meeting the challenges of each day and delivering innovative outsourced and supplemental trading solutions to the buy side, a mindset that continues for us to this day. But the days and weeks add up quickly, and now, with a full decade under our belts, we can look back and gain a full appreciation for just how far our approach has taken us.

One of the reasons we founded Tourmaline Partners was that we saw a gap in the marketplace. Historically, outsourced trading firms served emerging fund managers at launch, saving them from the financial and logistical burdens of building their own trading desks. But as electronic trading grew, liquidity became more fragmented with a variety of new trading venues, and new regulations proliferated in the wake of the financial crisis, so we also saw an opportunity to help established buy-side firms of all sizes. We wanted to help newcomers, but we also knew we could help those who already had their own trading desks extend their broker reach, navigate liquidity sources, achieve scale and increase operational efficiency, all of which require significant time and resources to accomplish in house. This “supplemental trading” – a term we coined as we pioneered the model – has taken off and remains a crucial aspect of our business, along with our fully outsourced offering.

In the years since, we have built out our offerings and expanded to multiple regions around the world, with fully staffed trading desks in Stamford, London and Sydney. We are now the largest independent provider of outsourced trading solutions in the world. This has led to widespread interest and recognition within the financial services industry, culminating in a majority investment from Copley Equity Partners in May 2020.

Fundamentally, ours is still a relationships business, and this is reflected in everything we do. We are covered by more than 400 brokers across more than 50 countries around the globe, including many small or regional firms, a scale that we could never have achieved without our vast experience interfacing with the sell side. Our relationships with clients are another part of what defines our business. We work closely with each of our 350-plus clients to create personalized playbooks that addresses their specific needs, regardless of their size or structure, creating a level of trust that pays dividends time and time again. During the decade’s most volatile periods – Hurricane Sandy, the last months of 2018, the COVID-19 pandemic – our clients have leaned on us more heavily than before, and in each case we’ve come through.   

Many individuals and firms have played a role in the success of Tourmaline Partners – too many to list, in fact. For the purposes of this message, on behalf of our partners, I would like to simply extend my sincere and heartfelt thanks to all of our clients, brokers, counterparties, partners and employees, without whom none of this would have been possible.

Finally, a parting thought: they say that the more things change, the more they stay the same, and that certainly holds true for our business. The pressures around regulation and technology facing the buy side have only intensified in the past decade, and leaning on experts remains a reliable way of reducing costs while unlocking a host of other benefits. We at Tourmaline Partners look forward to serving as a valued partner for the next 10 years and many more to come, no matter what the future may hold.