Raj Fernando’s Chopper Trading Sponsors PAWS Chicago Fur Ball 2013

Chopper Trading’s sponsorship of the annual PAWS Fur Ball is one of my favorite ways to give back to the Greater Chicago area, by helping to build ‘No Kill’ local communities for cats and dogs.  PAWS has had a tremendous impact in the lives of animals and humans alike, by helping the two find each other, and by setting new standards in the way that homeless animals are treated.  Since our firm is named after a dog I found through PAWS – my dog Chopper – it’s only fitting that the company give back to this organization.

The Fur Ball, held at the famous Drake Hotel, is one of the only black tie events I have been to where canine guests are treated as well as – if not better than –human guests! The dogs in attendance were able to enjoy a gourmet buffet, a complimentary spa treatment, and first class pet-sitting while their owners enjoyed live entertainment and dancing.  There was even a dog communicator in attendance this year, which if nothing else sparked some interesting conversations.

As part of the fundraiser, PAWS held both a silent and live auction with unique prizes to generate some much-needed funds for the organization.  Every year I’m impressed by the items up for bid; the notables this year included two all-inclusive tickets to the 2014 Super Bowl, the chance to rub elbows with celebrities on the red carpet of the premiere of the film “Transcendence”, a tour of some of the best golf greens in the country, and a ski trip.

With more than 700 people in attendance – including guests such as well-known musician Billy Corgan – the gala was a successful fundraiser, and by far one of my favorite events of the year!

 

Chopper Trading’s Annual Golf Outing

Every fall I look forward to Chopper Trading’s annual golf outing, and I was not disappointed this year.  Held at the Oakbrook Hills Marriott Golf Club, we were able to enjoy some of the nicest weather Chicago has had all year: 70 degrees and sunny.  I think my colleagues here at Chopper would agree that there is nothing like 18 holes of golf on a gorgeous day, to unwind after long hours at the office and further reinforce our “work hard, play hard” attitude.

While all of Chopper’s team members are highly talented and experts in their profession, some of us have spent more time on the green than others, so we decided to play a scramble format amongst the 72 participants. In the spirit of good sportsmanship I won’t mention who won – everyone had a great time, which is incentive enough!

And of course, as with any fun sporting event, good food is essential; the “19th hole” included delicious Illinois barbecue to refuel and cap off a great day!

Raj Fernando Participates in Panel Discussion at Annual Rosenblatt Global Exchange Leader Conference

The recently held 6th Annual Rosenblatt Global Exchange Leader Conference was an opportunity for portfolio managers, analysts, traders, asset managers, and proprietary trading firms like Chopper Trading to meet, network and discuss some of the most important trends in the industry.  As to be expected with Rosenblatt initiatives, the conference was professional, focused and productive for me and our firm.

Rosenblatt asked me to contribute to the panel discussion on proprietary trading.  While our discussion was mostly mired in industry talk about core cash-equities markets, and the potential impact of mergers, acquisitions, and IPOs coming down the pipeline, the panel also aimed to put the debate surrounding automated trading into perspective for investors and reporters.

In addition to speaking on the panel before the audience, I was able to hear updates about the next biggest trends set to impact our industry.  For Chopper to maintain a competitive edge, it’s important that our employees and our leadership continually challenge the status quo and drive ongoing improvement and learning.  This conference was just another way to seek out the information that helps Chopper to stay ahead of the game.

For more information on Rosenblatt Securities events, please visit their events page.
Follow Raj Fernando on Twitter for industry news and Chopper Trading event info.

Raj Fernando Hosts Fundraiser For Louis’ Groceries

This October, I hosted an event to help a first-of-its-kind local non-profit, Louis’ Groceries. Louis’ Groceries is striving to eradicate food deserts, which are communities where residents don’t have access to affordable healthy food.  Its mission is to make sure that the residents of Grand Crossing, Ill., a lower-income and hardworking area, are getting enough of the foods that are both good tasting and good for them. Louis’ Groceries also aims to develop a business model that will enable neighborhood corner stores to successfully retail fresh, healthy foods in food deserts throughout Illinois, or even the country.

Since opening in 2012, Louis’ Groceries has been selling fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and dairy products at low prices. It has also been teaching local residents how to prepare wholesome, easy and affordable meals, to help them develop essential cooking skills that work for busy schedules. By making healthy foods more accessible, the hope is that low-income residents will be able to eat more food that is nutrient dense, and less fattening, thus lowering obesity and diabetes rates.

To support the importance of healthy food, Louis’ Groceries invited six top Chefs from around Chicago to prepare locally sourced and appetizing food samples for the recent fundraiser at my home.  Among the chefs were:

  • Richie Farina, Sous Chef at Moto Restaurant, and a “Top Chef” contestant during the show’s ninth season.
  • Matt Eversman, Chef/Partner at OON, who opened his own restaurant at the age of 28 and has since developed a reputation as one of  the city’s best.
  • Tom Van Lente and Kevin Cuddihee, Head Chefs at TWO Restaurant and Bar, who have a unique culinary style inspired by their commitment to local ingredients, which they showcase in their work.
  • Mark Sparacino, Chef from Prosecco, who is well-known and experienced, and brought his Italian recipes to the table at the fundraiser.
  • Last but not least, Courtney Lance, Louis’ Groceries own Chef, prepared healthy and delicious sandwiches that her customers can learn how to make in the store.

With the help of our incredible chef participants, we were able to raise $100,000.00 for Louis’ Groceries. Thank you to everyone who attended, and contributed to the effort!.

Chopper Trading Sponsors Chukkers for Charity

Once again, Chopper Trading was proud to sponsor the 11th annual Chukkers for Charity on September 7, hosted by the Rotary Club of Oswego.  The Rotary Club of Oswego uses this Charity polo match to raise money to support local and international health, humanitarian and educational needs.  Proceeds from the event will help to fund well-known projects such as Polio Eradication Worldwide, Water Wells in Haiti, Owens Family YMCA Strong Kids Campaign, and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Kendall County.  The Rotary Club of Oswego also supports a number of children’s sports teams and other organizations in the area such as Kendall County homeless shelters and scholarship programs for the local community college.

With approximately 400 attendees from regions all over northern Illinois, the polo match was an opportunity for Chopper Trading to contribute and connect with the local community and carry on a sport with an extensive heritage in the greater Chicago area.  Steeped in traditions that date back hundreds of years, polo is an exciting sport that attracts people from all walks of life to enjoy good food and great company.  We are glad to know that our sponsorship helped the Rotary Club of Oswego carry on these traditions, and will enable them to help make a difference in people’s lives throughout the community and around the world.

Chopper Trading at the Brookfield Zoo

A company is only as good as its employees, which is why here at Chopper, we work to build the strongest, most cohesive team possible. At Chopper we believe that every member of our team must find a way to balance work with personal life, which for many team members, means spending time with their families.  In an effort to encourage this, we recently organized an outing that included Chopper Trading team members, as well as their spouses and children.

For the nearly 200 employees, spouses, and children who expressed interest, Chopper provided free parking, admission, special exhibit passes, an interactive session with program animals, and a catered BBQ lunch so that our employees and their families could enjoy the Brookfield Zoo, in Brookfield, Ill., near Chicago.

With all sorts of animals from aardvarks to stingrays, it seemed impossible for the children not to find at least one favorite animal. While baby animals – like the recently born giraffe – were certainly a hit, the dolphins were by far the most popular.  The Seven Seas exhibit featured both a dolphin show and an underwater viewing area where the children were able to see the dolphins up close. This particular exhibit at Brookfield Zoo is a part of the world’s longest running and best-documented study of the dolphin population.

Overall, our trip to the zoo served the dual purpose of showing support and gratitude to the families of Chopper employees, and contributing to conservation efforts. The Chicago Zoological Society is a world leader in conservation; their programs help animals both inside and outside of the zoo grounds.

After seeing how much families appreciated this outing, and how successfully a trip like this can reinforce positive relationships that transfer over to the workplace, this trip to Brookfield may just become a company tradition!

Chopper Trading at Golf for the Bear

When we – as a company – choose to sponsor an event or charity, we try to find a cause or organization that benefits the local Chicago community and has meaning to our team here at Chopper.  Since Chopper Trading shares the city of Chicago with one of the best pediatric cancer hospitals in the country, sponsoring the 2013 Golf for the Bear tournament was a perfect fit!

The golf outing benefited the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, which supports pediatric cancer research and pediatric care facilities through grants.  The organization also strives to brighten the lives of child cancer patients by giving them “bear hugs”; these are customized support experiences that fulfill a wish of the child, and provide the family with immediate financial support, in addition to any other essential needs.

On June 13, three Chopper Trading employees volunteered to represent our firm, by presenting Bear Necessities with, what we hope will be, a helpful contribution. The trio also enjoyed a spectacular round of golf and a celebratory dinner at the Ruffled Feathers Golf Club in Lemont, Ill., just outside of Chicago.  We could not have asked for better weather, or for a better reason to spend a day outdoors.

Chopper Trading and Intramural Volleyball:

The most popular sport that we participate in, as a company, is volleyball.  At any given match, there are almost two dozen Chopper team members taking to the beach. Interest is so high, in fact, that we have created three teams this season, however each team shares the same name – the Chopper Rough Sets. Of course, part of the appeal is that Chicago summers are so beautiful and they provide the perfect weather for being outside and active, especially after working a full day inside an office.

Intramural sports, such as volleyball, provide all of us with an opportunity to get up from the computer and have some fun – along with a little competition – with our fellow teammates, while enjoying being active and exercising in the beautiful city of Chicago.

The video below gives a brief look into what summer at Chopper and in Chicago is like, including some of the various activities available to residents and tourists alike. Check it out!

Chopper Trading and Intramural Softball

We are always striving to improve ourselves and excel in all that we do at Chopper Trading, both in the office and out. Corporate activities and outings, such as intramural sports, are an integral part of how we do this and our firm participates in a multitude of sports, including softball.

The Chopper softball team consists of 14 employees who are passionate about the game. Like our soccer team, our softball team also participates in the Chicago Sport and Social league and we play many of our games against other firms and friends in downtown Chicago.

The team’s secret to success is no practice! In all seriousness, the Chopper Warrior Poets never practice. The players often expend tremendous energy at work, and so the game is a way for them to relax, have fun and socialize.

The Warrior Poets’ season has concluded for the year, although they are very much looking forward to getting back out onto the field, to kick off the 2014 season. Hopefully we’ll see you out there next spring!

Chopper Trading and Intramural Soccer

At Chopper Trading, we create an environment for our teams to work well together inside and outside of the office.  To that point, we have designated an Intramural Captain to organize all of our intramural sports. Our team is registered through a local event organizer, Chicago Sport and Social. The league is primarily men and women looking for a fun and competitive outlet to participate in, outside of work.

Most of our games are held in Lincoln Park or other downtown Chicago locations. Our longest running and favorite team sport at Chopper is soccer. We recently closed out our fourth spring soccer season with a strong team of 16 employees who led the firm to a successful season with a winning 6-3 record! If you are looking for a way to stay active and be social after work, I encourage you to look into some of the sports and activities that our wonderful city has to offer. And if you’re feeling especially confident, form a soccer team and challenge Chopper out on the soccer field!