Head & Managing Director, Institutional Derivatives Flow Sales, National Bank Financial, Toronto, ON. Born: Grenada.
Ray Williams is a financial services executive with more than 25 years of experience in Global Capital Markets. Drawing on his achievements within major financial institutions in the London, New York and Toronto markets and in various trading, sales & management capacities, Ray is currently Head & Managing Director of Institutional Derivatives Flow Sales for National Bank Financial, one of the top six investment dealers in Canada. In this role, he is responsible for marketing derivative solutions to a wide range of clients across Canada (with the exception of Quebec). Noteworthy clients include large corporations, the federal and provincial governments and asset managers.
From 2000 to 2006, Ray was an advisor to the federal government as part of an external advisory group on Embracing Change, a program designed to reconcile the evident disparities of visible minorities within the federal public service and federally-regulated industries. He advised specifically though not exclusively, the President of the Public Service Commission (PSC), the President of the Publics Service Human Resource Management Canada (PSHRMAC), and the Clerk of the Privy Council (at the time Alex Himmelfarb).
Ray is an outspoken champion of workplace diversity and is a past President of the local chapter of the Urban Financial Services Coalition (UFSC), the pre-eminent professional trade organization for minorities in the financial services industry. He has been actively involved in the local chapter of UFSC since its inception in 1997 at all levels, and in that capacity acts as a mentor to a number of individuals.
He is the National Bank’s representative and contact with The Toronto City Summit initiative of which the Bank is a partner. Between 2005 and 2008, Ray was instrumental in supporting the National Bank’s participation in the Bankseta International Development Program, which each year brought to Canada up to 16 South African senior banking executives from previously disadvantaged groups. The six-week development program (part of the South African Financial Services Charter) combined academic learning with on-site workplace days at leading Canadian financial institutions including National Bank Financial. He also oversaw industry-relevant business projects, and networking and socio-cultural opportunities.
A firm believer in inspiring change within his community, Ray volunteers in various capacities as a mentor and sits on the Board of numerous organisations, including the Canadian Foundation for Aids Research (CANFAR).
Ray is an avid cook, has a deep love of music, and enjoys travel and reading. He’s an enthusiast of most sports, particularly golfing, and is a popular blogger on the markets.
Education: BA (Honours), Economics and Master, Regional Planning, North Staffs University & Coventry University (UK).
Affiliations: Chair, CANFAR Investment Committee; member, Investment Committee of the United Way of Greater Toronto; Advisory Board Member, UFSC; Advisory Board Member, Who’s Who in Black Canada.com.
Favourite book? Not sure if I have a true a favourite based on the different types of topic matter that are of interest to me, however, Flyingfish and Sky Juice by Jessica B. Harris (cook and food historian) stands out to me. It encompasses a couple of areas of interest for me: Traditional recipes from the Caribbean that also compares how they differ from Island to Island, with stories of how they arrived primarily from Africa. Essentially it provides a historical perspective about who I am, what I eat, and where I come from. Being an avid cook and a cookbook collector, this one feeds my being mentally, and allows me to try our recipes to feed myself physically.
Favourite quotes? 1) “It’s about the journey.” (What I live by.) 2) “Everything happening everywhere, all at the same time.” (The wonder of the world we live in.) 3) “Volunteerism is its own reward.” – Mary Anne Chambers 4) “Excellence is mandatory, in all that we do.” (A credo I adopted for my term as the 3rd President of the UFSC, Toronto Chapter in 2000, and one that I am constantly struggling to achieve.)
Given the chance, what would you love to do that you haven’t done yet? Become fluent in at least three languages, other than English, and achieve the status of Michelin star restauranteur/chef.
Who inspires you? The women in my life, starting with my great-grandmother who initially brought me up with my great-grandfather. Then my Mum who brought me and my four siblings up without a father to provide guidance or support, and then my wife and daughter. The women in my life are extremely important to me. They represent an amazing degree of strength and resilience, which when taken on a comparative basis with men, is truly staggering.
Why do you do what you do? I have a love of life. I have a love of discovery. I have a thirst for knowledge. So much is available and there is so much to do, and yet our presence represents such a tiny part of the continuum that we call time.