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Women in Finance Awards Q&A: Ashley Banfield, Fidelity

Ashley Banfield, Head of Americas Trading, Equities, at Fidelity Investments, won Excellence in Equities Trading at Markets Media Group’s 2022 Women in Finance (U.S.) Awards.

What was your reaction to winning the award?

It was an honor to be nominated alongside such a talented group of people, let alone win. My mom was able to make the trip from Toronto to NYC for the awards ceremony, which was really special given how much she has influenced my life.

What have been the main drivers of your success?

Luck, hard work, great mentors, and being part of an unbelievably talented team are some of the drivers that come to mind. I’ve managed to surround myself with people who I learn from each day, people who make me better, and a team that competes at the highest level to win for our shareholders.

 Ashley Banfield, Fidelity

How did you get into trading?

I had no idea what I wanted to do after college. One of my ice hockey teammates, Mina Pell Mitby, told me about an internship she did in banking during her junior summer and she thought it was something I’d be interested in. I applied to banking, consulting, sales and trading across asset classes, private equity, etc. I couldn’t have told you the basic differences between all the jobs I applied for (side note: I do not recommend that). Miraculously, I received some offers and after visiting the equity trading desk at Morgan Stanley, I knew I wanted to be part of that team.

To be clear, I had absolutely no idea what was happening on their trading floor, but I was so attracted to the energy, pace, competition, and action. At the time, George Van Amson (GVA) was running the intern program, and he took a chance on me. After completing an internship in the Institutional Equity Division at MS , I was hired as an equity trader and spent the first eight years of my career on the 5th floor at 1585 Broadway prior to joining Fidelity in 2013.

Tell us about a passion you have outside the business.

My wife and I got really into golf a few years ago. Similar to markets, it can be very humbling. It’s fun to do something we love together and get outside, although her index recently dipped below mine (translation: she’s now better than me), so we may need to find a new shared passion!

Any advice for young people in the business?

There are some great video clips online of Kara Lawson, head coach of Duke women’s basketball, talking to her team. Jamey Bianchi on our trading team sent me one called “Handle hard better” and the message really resonated with me. Markets, trading, leading teams, and life in general is hard. It’s not about waiting out the hard until it gets easier. It’s not going to get easier. It’s about getting better at handling hard.  “Make yourself a person who handles hard well, not someone who’s waiting for easy.” It’s worth watching.