At CAPIS, we put relationships first. We think of our team as a family, which is why it is important for us to get to know each member and shine a spotlight on them. We sat down with Bryan Gibbs to discuss his formative experiences and influences. Bryan began his career at CAPIS as an intern in 2002 and is now SVP, manager of transition management.
What was your first exposure to markets?
My first exposure was when my dad bought stock for me in a PaineWebber account when I was a teenager. Other than that, I didn’t pay much attention to the markets until I took more courses in economics when I was in college. Even then, I was on track to do something with my biology degree, so working in financial services was not on the radar.
Tell us more about your biology degree. Do you think your background in science has had an impact on how you approach trading?
I have always viewed myself as a jack-of-all-trades. I had a biology major with minors in economics and math, and was a class or two shy of a minor in chemistry, I believe. Transition management really requires you to wear many hats. There is a sales aspect, while also working with analytics, having the ability to problem-solve, paying attention to detail, and performing administrative tasks. While I do not use my biology degree (other than when I ask doctors too many questions when I am sick or injured), college was helpful in growing critical thinking skills needed for my current job.
Describe what you remember about your first day/week at CAPIS?
When I knew I wasn’t going to pursue a career in medicine, I was looking for alternatives during summer internships that would expose me to other industries. Most were offering experience for no pay and then through a family friend I heard that CAPIS was looking for an intern in the summer of 2002. It paid some money, so I was in.
What has been the most impactful moment of your career or best experience?
When I was 24, my then boss Grant Johnsey left CAPIS to take a position at Northern Trust. That vacated seat then became an opportunity. While some in the company wondered if a 24-year-old could handle it, I put my best foot forward and they decided to promote me rather than pulling in someone from the outside with more experience.
Could you describe the most challenging trading situation you found yourself in?
When transition events have multiple asset types — maybe you are mixing in fixed income with equities and during different market times across the globe — those require much more quarterbacking.
The most challenging situation, though, had nothing to do with trading. It was with coding and infrastructure building to solve a large client’s massive rebalancing problem. That project stretched my programming logic skills, and I had to sleep a couple of times in the office where I pulled two oversized chairs together to create this crib-like structure just to finish it before deadlines. The client ended up encountering an issue and then couldn’t go with our solution anyway.
What is it about current market dynamics that intrigues you most?
This year has been one for the books. Bad news causing markets to go down is understandable, but then worse news causing the equity markets to go up because it might mean stimulus is on the horizon is an interesting phenomenon.
Whether it was the tech bubble, or 9/11, or the financial crisis, or now COVID, or an election that seemed more charged than any in my lifetime, people and markets look for hope. We as a nation have shown to be resilient time and time again, the markets show that, too.
In your opinion, what has been the most drastic change in markets over the last 15-20 years? (Comparing when you started to now.)
Technology, of course. Looking back at when decimalization went away, to order management systems becoming more robust, to program trading tools emerging, I came into the industry at the right time for transition management to be successful. It is fun to look back at some of the analytics I built back in the early day and laugh a bit knowing that the approaches and systems have come so far.
The amazing thing is how consistent and steady we have been at CAPIS through the years in offering a service that is a value add for our clients. Our traders have been doing this for decades, so while all of these technological changes have been happening customers have had veteran help at the ready to guide them.
What are your interests or hobbies outside of work?
I grew up playing baseball, and as an only child who was shy, I found sports were a great outlet. I loved the challenge. If I physically wasn’t able to do something because I was 5’9”, or not as fast as someone or couldn’t jump as high, I wanted to try to figure out a way to win.
In college, you would find me in the gym playing basketball on a nightly basis for 2-3 hours against guys who were 6’6” (who happened to be twins) and we would always try to get the best of each other. I love clear outcomes, too — winning or losing and nothing subjective. I ended up being pretty good at golf and played for Southwestern University and I loved that. I think I have put in 10,000 hours so even though I play 1-2 times a year, the golf swing feels the same (putting is another issue after time away).
I, like many during COVID, have jumped into what I used to think was an odd sport: disc golf. I really enjoy playing that with my girlfriend.
A large part of my life pre-COVID was invested in mission trips to two places. In Boston, there is a Christian church that [my church in North Dallas] partnered with when they were getting off the ground back in the early 2000s and now, 16 years later, I have deep friendships with many there. It started with me going on the first trip that then turned into 26 additional mission trips, doing everything from servant evangelism on the streets, to homeless ministry, to Vacation Bible School with the kids. I am super thankful to those who influenced me to go on the first trip and to all the friendships made and lives changed through those opportunities.
I have also been to the Amazon in Brazil eight times to lead mission trips there from 2014-2019. Being able to share my faith as we bring water wells, medical, dental, and other services to the villagers along the river and getting to share that with the teams of amazing volunteers that go have been some of my favorite memories of my life. COVID claimed both Boston and Brazil trips this year but I can’t wait for 2021 when it looks like we may be returning to a bit of normalcy in travel. I miss those outlets to serve.