The trading floor is always intense and bustling especially when the markets are open but in the break room at Chopper Trading, things are quite opposite during closing time. There is a 3,000 square foot space where 150 employees of Chopper Trading lift weights or choose to wind down with poker or table tennis. After work, the employees go out collectively probably to take advantage of the season tickets the company provides to cheer on the Bulls, Cubs, Sox or Blackhawks.
The nature of their business is always intense and hence the CEO Raj Fernando tries to keep the atmosphere at work as pleasant as he possibly can to counter it. He loves his employees getting along well. When Fernando is hiring at his company, he does not get a large number and push them through training and then hire a few and fire the rest like his competition does. His hiring process is usually lengthy and involved in order to hire employees who will retire from the company. Raj has a rule governing his recruitment process and does not care the amount an employee will make for the company rather how pleasant they are going to make life for everyone in the company. He claims that this has to go both ways as he likens it to a marriage and tries to make prospective employees not want the company and hence weeds out the unpleasant ones during the interview stage.
About Raj Fernando
Raj Fernando is Chopper Trading’s founder and also chief executive officer. He used to be a trader at the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange before he founded his firm in 2002. From the year 1996 to 2003, Raj used to work on the CBOT floor and has been part of the exchange as a member since 1997. He used to be a cash bond trader when he founded Chopper Trading in 2002. Fernando is a graduate of the Beloit College and holds a bachelor’s degree in History and Economics.
He supports a number of philanthropic efforts in the United States at large and Chicago in particular. He is a member at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and a governing member of Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He is a creative fundraiser for Democratic causes and candidates. He helped raise money for the William J. Clinton Foundation and President Obama. Back in 2011, there was a story on Washington Post that his company was the third largest fundraiser for the Obama presidential campaign.