Running the Bank and the Marathon with Jason Keighery

Jason Keighery works in the financial markets, heading up the Equity Derivatives Desk for British bank Collins Stewart. Having arrived to the US in 1993 on a rowing scholarship for the University of Charleston, he eventually transferred to UNC and in 2000, Keighery packed up and moved to New York. Billabout catches up with Keighery to talk on working NY finance and running more marathons than most.

So we hear you like to run?
I ran my first NY marathon in 2002 in 3 hours and 18 minutes, which won me a bet with my mate Matty Napoli, who had previously run a 3:20.

How many marathons have you actually been a part of? And what’s your best time?
I have run 13 now in total. 3 hours and 7 minutes (in NY); I ran 3 hrs 10 in Boston as well.

Where else have you run marathons?
A bunch of Aussie mates and I flew to Stockholm to run the marathon there, and it was an incredible weekend. I’ve run Paris, Rome, Chicago, Boston, and one in North Carolina.

What do you love about running the New York marathon?
2 million people on the course from start to finish. It’s a rush, and there are always friends and visitors (mostly Aussies) that have come over to run it. The atmosphere is just incredible…and then the party after; I’m not sure what takes more out of you!

You must have a strict training regime?
I don’t really take it too seriously. Usually just a long run on the weekend and about two or three smaller runs during the week.

Any tips to someone who wants to run one?
Anyone can do it…you see all shapes and sizes!

What’s a typical workday like?
I’m in the office before 8am; we don’t leave ’til after the market closes, around 5pm. The trading desk is a wide open democracy…we all sit in such close proximity to one another, and if something major is happening in someone’s personal life, you know about it. It’s a great job– no 2 days are ever alike, it’s social and I do a solid amount of entertaining…

Is there anything different about the American work culture that stands out to you?
The thing that I love about NY is that very rarely do you meet a person that literally grew up here in the city, and if you do, nothing fazes them! You could concoct the biggest story and hit them with the punch line, and their most animated response would be “ahh, ok.” So everyone is here for a purpose, and the work culture is extremely competitive…I think this is where us Australians have an advantage. We have the discipline to work hard, not take it too seriously, and have fun outside of the office. It’s so often that you meet an American, and they will say “I’ve never met an Australian that I don’t like” or “do you know this Aussie? That guy is a pisser,” and 9 times out of 10, you do know that person, and he is a real character!

What 3 Americans would you have to your ideal dinner party?
Jackie Robinson, Lance Armstrong, Muhammad Ali, and I would get Donald Trump to serve the dinner. It would only be appropriate…

What advice would you give to Australians interested in working in finance in the US?
Completely understand how the work Visas work. The E3 makes it a lot easier than it used to be, and unless you are transferred here with your company, you are most probably going to have to start at an entry level position (for example, clerks on the sales desks). If you’re good, it won’t take long to move up quickly.

What do you miss most about home?
Family obviously– it’s tough being away from my parents. And when the cold hits here, you cannot stop thinking about the Sydney beaches.

Three “must-do” trips within the US?
I love the Kentucky Derby and I have been there plenty of times…a great trip with a group of mates. Check out Charleston, South Carolina, and the Appalachian Mountains too– stunning parts of the US that aren’t too expensive. I also love the Rockies; I was married in Telluride!

Any travel advice when flying?
Don’t overpay for the privilege of sitting on an airplane. Just get there, and then spend your money.

Information regarding the NYC marathon here

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