Meet George Barbar, Senior Managing Director, Institutional Sales and Trading

"Since joining Mesirow, I've had the opportunity to grow and develop both personally and professionally, going from trading a single product to opening and managing an office, all while working alongside many innovative and inspiring people across the firm." 

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Connect with George

In the beginning…

When did you start working at Mesirow?
March of 2010.

What drew you to Mesirow?
I wanted to work at an employee-owned company that gave me an opportunity to build, lead and grow a business. Mesirow had a great reputation and the right entrepreneurial culture but was not currently involved in underwriting Government Agencies. After meeting with Bruce Young and Dominick Mondi (president and CEO of Mesirow; and president of Capital Markets and Investment Banking), we knew Mesirow would be an ideal place to enhance our business. In March of 2010, we brought the Government Agency Underwriting and Trading business to Mesirow, and we have become a premier industry leader. Since then, we have added Supranational Issuers such as The World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC). As the fixed income markets rely more heavily on regional dealers, Mesirow is well-positioned and will continue to gain market share.

What has been the evolution of your career here at Mesirow?
Mesirow is unique in that it remains independent and has a strong entrepreneurial spirit. These qualities provide a platform for employees to succeed, which is something I’ve experienced first-hand. Since joining Mesirow, I’ve had the opportunity to grow and develop both personally and professionally, going from trading a single product to opening and managing an office, all while working alongside many innovative and inspiring people across the firm.

When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in trading?
I started my career as a summer intern at LaSalle Bank’s Broker Dealer Services Division in Boca Raton, Florida. This internship allowed me to see various parts of the industry, and I enjoyed the people and pace of the business. As a college athlete, I was drawn to the competitive nature of trading: it gives you the ability to compete alongside your team every day, to measure your success against a score board, to analyze risk, and to make decisions in high-pressure situations. When my summer internship was finished, I was offered a job post-graduation.

How he spends his time…

Tell us about your role:
I have the privilege of leading the Government Agency and Supranational Trading team within the Fixed Income Sales and Trading group at Mesirow, as well as serving as the Branch Manager for Mesirow’s Boca Raton office. I enjoy building and growing businesses, developing a positive culture, and leading a team.

What inspires you to come to work each day?
The people (both colleagues and clients), along with the opportunity to compete and win every day.

What excites you about the Institutional Sales and Trading space?
The capital markets space is full of opportunities! My passion is the ability to create, lead, develop and grow. Mesirow is a leading regional dealer and continuing to gain market share. Our firm specializes in providing innovative solutions for our clients by customizing fixed income products to meet their investment objectives. I have the privilege of contributing to Mesirow’s continued success and representing a firm that encourages creative problem-solving to help our clients succeed.

Let’s talk Institutional Sales and Trading…

What advice would you give someone who is considering a career in trading?
First, get your foot in the door. Accept an internship and learn all you can from people with experience in the field. Second, work hard and show initiative. Take a positive approach to everything you do and seek out solutions to the problems you face. Finally, find a firm where you can build your career. Having opportunities for growth and working alongside colleagues who share your passion will help you find success in this industry, and the right firm will provide both of those things and more.

What are the necessary set of skills?
The most important skill is problem solving. It is important to have the ability to analyze data and make decisions quickly, and to demonstrate the people skills and work ethic to serve clients at the highest level. You also need to know how to compete, how to win, and how to mitigate losses.

Can you share a success with us? 
One of the most exciting projects I’ve worked on is getting approved as an underwriter for The World Bank. Mesirow was one of the first regional dealers approved with The World Bank. The World Bank works to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. It is an incredible honor to be able help The World Bank achieve its mission while also providing unique, attractive solutions for our clients.

In 2011, I founded the South Florida Bond Traders Association. The SFBTA is a non-profit organization whose membership is comprised of fixed income investment and trading professionals in South Florida. Each year the SFBTA hosts a conference that has included 350-450 fixed income executives, salespersons and traders from around the country. The annual SFBTA Conference has quickly become the premier fixed income event focusing on key topics in the market and industry. Additionally, over the last nine years, the SFBTA has given over $190,000 to 41 different local charities. You can find out more about the SFBTA by visiting www.SouthFloridaBondTraders.org.

What’s uniquely Mesirow…

Tell us about something that is unique to Mesirow?
Mesirow empowers its employees by giving them all the tools they need to build a business, allowing for strategic growth within the firm’s existing, strong framework. Culture is defined as, “the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterize an institution.” A company culture lives in the hearts and souls of its people – it’s our identity. Our culture at Mesirow reflects our foundation and history as well as our present; which will define the legacy we will leave as a company. Mesirow was founded on a commitment to serve clients well, employ smart and passionate professionals and give back to the community. Peter Drucker says, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Mesirow’s culture is our people. It's what makes us distinctive.

What would you share with someone new to the firm?
Mesirow is an employee-owned, well-capitalized financial services firm with a great reputation. For over 80 years, Mesirow has offered its employees the opportunity to build businesses, impact their communities, and grow both personally and professionally.

George after five o’clock…

Tell us a bit about yourself outside of work:
My wife Leah and I have four children - Victoria, Anthony, Drew  and Grace. We have a large extended family and we spend a lot of time together. I enjoy traveling, coaching our children’s sports teams, serving our community and watching the Miami Dolphins.

What's your mantra?
“There are two kinds of pain in the world, the pain of discipline and the pain of regret. One of them is temporary, and one is forever.”

Meet our other colleagues changing the landscape at Mesirow.