The Profit & Loss Hall of Fame 2017

Rita Saverino-Romeo
1964-2014
The Original “Fearless Girl”

Rita Saverino’s three decades in the FX industry began with an application for a secretarial job at Citibank in New York in 1982, but her native Italian landed her a job on the foreign exchange desk instead.

In an industry with few women traders, Rita worked her way up the ladder, becoming the chief FX trader at the biggest FX bank on the Street. The team at Citi was large and close knit – many of whom have spent their careers together.

In 1994, eight of the top traders from that Citi team – led by Michael deSa, then global head of FX at Citi – made one of the biggest en masse moves ever seen in the FX industry with an early morning move to Deutsche Bank, then a relative unknown. The number of dealers that ultimately made the move reached close to 20.

Saverino ran the spot desk at Deutsche as the bank built its
reputation and technology to quickly emerge as a contender for
the biggest name in the market – moving from number 22 in the
industry, to number two in just a few short years.

As the move to electronic trading began to grow, Saverino
shifted her focus – moving to the e-commerce team – where she
worked as a key member of the global liquidity solutions group
and helped build the bank’s electronic trading capabilities.

Speaking at a Profit & Loss conference in 2003, she told the
audience that, “A good way for a bank to differentiate itself is
through innovation”, explaining that Deutsche had a group
dedicated to developing new tools for clients. “The market is very
dynamic,” she said, “and this is a good time to be in this business.”

Five years later, as global markets head of FX4Cash, Saverino
helped the bank launch a global cross-currency payment service
for corporates and financial institutions that brought together two
disparate parts of Deutsche Bank, the Global Markets and
Transaction Banking divisions. A feat many credit to her unique
ability to “connect with her co-workers to collaborate on projects”.

It was several years after the launch that Saverino was
diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, but she faced it head on
with persistence and courage. After seeking multiple surgeons’
opinions about surgery, she found a doctor that would operate,
but who told her, “It is difficult, but possible.”

As remembered on the Sarcoma Foundation of America’s (SFA)
website, she thought: “After seven surgeons said that I was
inoperable, this was music to my ears. I remember thinking, ‘If he
can do possible, I will do difficult’.”

Difficult she did. After recovering from an intensive surgery,
Rita became active as a Board member of the SFA, and later
received the foundation’s SFA Courage Award in 2011. But the
cancer would return and she died in late 2014.

Rita is uniquely qualified to be an honouree of this year’s Profit
& Loss
Hall of Fame, as the many, many attestations from her
peers over the decades shows. The industry she held so dear
respects her as much as she did the industry.
Those in the industry today would do well to
hold itself to the same standards that Rita held
of herself: “determination, intelligence, integrity
and fairness”, as one former colleague notes.

Pioneer

“Rita was an integral part of the fabric of
success at DB since 1994. She was a pioneer
as the first female MD in spot trading, then
reinventing herself as a leader in the ecommerce
and prime brokerage businesses.
Always willing to challenge her professional
boundaries, her last role involved building a
highly successful joint venture with the
transaction bank, which could only have been achieved because
both sides trusted her. Far more than that, she was simply the
most wonderful human being that I worked with at DB. Her quiet
determination, intelligence, integrity and fairness were admired
by all. I once asked her after her operation about how she felt
about her illness and remember how she said that she was just
thankful for every day. I feel inspired and awestruck by her grace
and determination and so privileged that I had the chance to
work with her.” – Zar Amrolia

“Rita Saverino was a pioneer on Wall Street in the ‘90s at a
time when women leaders in global market trading roles was a
rarity. While at Citi in the early ‘90s, her accomplishments as a
senior trading manager not only recognised her markets’
competence, but more importantly, that she was an individual
with impeccable values and ethics that many traders came to
admire. Later, Rita assumed a senior executive role at Deutsche
Bank and transformed DB into the foreign exchange powerhouse
that it is today on Wall Street. Rita married her soulmate Joe and
together they had two wonderful sons, once again a reflection of
her judgment and values. Compliments to her family, may her
blessings shower down upon us all.” – Dr Michael E. deSa

Leader

“Rita was one of the most special people I have ever met. She
was a good friend and role model in many ways. Rita had an
exceptional way about her, which was clear through her
leadership, vision, drive and unique touch with people. She was
respected by clients and peers in this tough industry. Rita was
not only an expert in Foreign Exchange, but her accomplishments
brought FX into the 21st century. I was so fortunate to have her
as my mentor. But most of all, Rita was a dear friend and her
words and memories will stay with me always.” – Maria Prata

“My friend Rita: When I think of Rita, I fondly remember her soft
spoken voice, the twinkle in her eyes, those big, beautiful brown
eyes and, best of all, her little laugh. She was a private person who cared deeply about her friends and especially her family. When you
were in her company, she had a way of making you feel comfortable
and special. She loved her boys, and spoke so proudly of them, and
loved her mother so. She had so many funny stories about coming
from a traditional family and being a modern woman.

“My colleague Rita: She was a leader, a woman who got things
done with unique grace and class. She knew her stuff – bright
and sharp – and yet was totally unassuming. She had vision and
wasn’t afraid of risk. Managing it was in her blood. I have so
many fond memories of our time together both at Citi and at
Deutsche Bank.” – Angela Campo-Romano

“Rita was always the tallest person in the room – when she
spoke, you would listen intently as you always knew you were
going to walk away with tokens of wisdom. Rita had a way of
taking the most complex topics and initiatives and breaking them
down in a way that everyone could understand. No matter how
challenging the task, she could get others to rally behind her
projects. I remember like it was yesterday being in a year-end
offsite where we would agree what projects we would take on for
the following year, Rita waited to the end and took the items that
no one chose (which were usually the most difficult ones), and
when I asked her why she did that, she said, ‘In order for me to
be in my comfort zone, sometimes I have to take on challenges
that put me outside of my comfort zone.’ Rita, thanks for the
wisdom, your caring ways, and all the wonderful stories of Joe,
Luca and Matt, who she loved very much. God bless you and your
family, you will never be forgotten.” – Rafael Quezada

“Rita Saverino was a very special person and colleague. She
was an admired woman on Wall Street and role model to many of
us.” – Denise Bandl

“Rita was one of the first people I met when I arrived at
Deutsche Bank and I had the pleasure of working with her for
over a decade. She demonstrated a quiet but visible strength and
was a presence on the Deutsche Bank trading floor who helped
shape our business into a world-class platform. She was a
confident, intelligent leader who believed that hard work and
being present made good teams great, and good businesses into
world-class franchises. She put team ahead of personal
achievements and never shied away from a challenge. Her work
on our e-trading businesses provided the foundation for where
we are today. Her ability to relate to people and to make the
complicated simple, elevated all those who worked with her and
made us all accomplish things that had eluded us in the past.
Her presence is still firmly rooted in many of us who were
fortunate to work and spend time with her.” –Hans Ephraimson

Innovator

“Rita was at the forefront of the technology age in FX. I’ve
always admired Rita for her professionalism through the years and
became friends when I joined EBS ( for 19 years). Highly regarded
by her co-workers, colleagues and friends with her forwardthinking
leadership, Rita has always remained positive throughout
her work career and personal life. I miss her.” – Fulinda Rouse
“From the day that we first sat next to each other on the
trading floor at Deutsche Bank in New York and began our
journey into the uncharted waters of FX e-commerce at a time
when few were even familiar with the term API, we embarked on
a great adventure. Not sure I could have ever asked for a better
person with whom to share this experience. Rita was a genuine
soul in and out of the office. I will always remember the laughs
we shared chatting about our Italian upbringings, respective
families and most of all our children. Her dedication and
commitment to her family and her work will always serve as an
inspiration to me.” – Joseph Ziccarelli

“Rita was a highlight of my 30-year career in FX. As many of you
know, in a trading room environment, the trader who makes the
most money gets promoted to management. Therefore, you rarely
have good managers on a trading desk. Rita broke that mould.
She was the successful trader who also made a great manager.
Rita hired me at DB and with her insight, together we were
successful with several projects from the launch of AutobahnFX in
the early 2000s, to the development and launch of FX4Cash in
the mid-2000s. Rita taught us to always look at the process; if you
detect a problem, go back to the process and see how it worked
or didn’t work. Once you have a good process you can repeat and
repeat it, no matter the issue. Still to this day, I think about Rita
whenever I face a problem and need to look at the process. For
new problems, she taught me to create a process. On a personal
note, Rita recommended me for a role in London, which led to a
two-year assignment in London, which was a life changing
experience for my entire family.” – Betsy Waters

“Having worked closely with Rita for a number of years and
then subsequently to have been her peer, I regard it as a privilege
to have known this wonderful, talented lady. Not only did she
understand the Foreign Exchange business, she had a
tremendous passion for it, which shone through. She was one of
the very first spot traders to make the successful transition to ecommerce
and of course as part of the formative team of
Autobahn as we grew the pre-eminent electronic franchise.

“When we worked together, we exchanged ideas and discussed
concepts that are today part of the standard of how eFX operates.
Rita, as part of the team, was instrumental in that development.
“In addition to her professional expertise, Rita showed her
warm sense of humour that embodied her enjoyment of life and
the business. After I left Deutsche Bank, I returned to New York
with Morgan Stanley and in one visit stayed for the weekend. I
arranged to meet Rita for drinks downtown in TriBeCa and suffice
to say, the evening was a long one. We spent much of the evening
reminiscing and also talking about both of our young families and
our futures. I could see the anticipation and excitement in her as
she looked at her life ahead. Rita’s husband Joe was kind enough
to pour me into a taxi back to my hotel that evening.

“It was the last time that Rita and I really met away from
industry events and the last time we met before I found out about
her illness. I know that she fought it as bravely as only she could.
I repeat – it was a privilege and an honour to know this wonderful
lady and knowing her proves to me the truth that ‘only the good
die young’.” – Jeremy Smart

Inspiration

“I was fortunate enough to work with Rita for many years and
at many different stages in my career and life. Rita was always
there as a mentor to me at work and personally. Her story and
her values were an inspiration to me from a professional
perspective, but more importantly from a personal perspective.
By just being who she was, she taught us all how to be the right
person at work, in the community and at home. Her recognition
and induction into the Profit & Loss Hall of Fame is a reflection
on the impact she had to the market and more importantly, to the
many people in the FX Community.” – Joe Norena

“Rita and I started at Citibank a week apart in the summer of
1982, both recent graduates, she from high school, me with a
graduate degree. Despite the difference in age and educational
experience, she immediately began teaching me about life. I was
intrigued by this unflappable dynamo who was not only unafraid
of Wall Street, but welcomed it with open arms. Of course, 17-
year-olds don’t know everything and our relationship in many ways
became one of big brother, little sister. It drove me to distraction
crossing the main avenues in New York with Rita. As soon as the
sign said walk, she’d walk, without looking to her left or right. I’d
scold her but her answer was always the same: the light is red,
they have to stop. That’s how she lived her life, straight ahead. She had things to do and nothing was going to stop her. Yes, Rita
was a remarkable success in a tough business. But that’s not
what I think of when I think of Rita. I remember that 17-year-old
girl who was not only willing to face any challenge, she would face
it head on without fear, without complaint. We were all
heartbroken when Rita was diagnosed with the worst of diseases.
Not Rita. To her it was a challenge she would face bravely,
intelligently and as a woman of great faith. Even then she
continued to teach me, to teach us all. I think of Rita most days
and yes, I miss her dearly. But always the memory makes me
smile. Rita fought the good fight, she finished the race, she kept
the faith. I will see you again Rita, but not yet. I have yet to finish
my race. Thank you for showing me the way.” – Guy Piserchia

“I first met Rita when she was running the FX trading desk at
Deutsche Bank. This seems like a simple statement, but even in
2017 this is an achievement, let alone in the late ‘90s. I have known
only a handful of women who have been on the trading side of our
business over the last 25 years and none of them have run a desk.
To succeed in that environment, you have to be very tough and very
smart. Rita was both of these things, yet she was also extremely
wise and caring. As I got to know her as a friend, I realised she also
possessed a great sense of humour. All of these attributes
contributed to her success in her career, and her popularity amongst
her colleagues. Rita was the original ‘Fearless Girl’ standing in front
of the bull. She was an inspiration to all of us in this profession, and
especially to the women who worked with her and for those she has
paved a way for in the future.” – Liza Duke

Integrity

“Rita was an amazing woman. She was smart, humble, fun and
most importantly, ethical and kind. She embraced the opportunity
to learn, which was a major factor to her success in her career.
Rita was a role model for so many of us and we are so lucky to
have had the opportunity to work with her.” – Elaine Lloyd

“Anyone who had the pleasure to know or work alongside of Rita
would undoubtedly share that she made significant contributions
to the FX industry, influenced the growth and direction of the
business and garnered tremendous respect from her peers. As her
friend and colleague, what inspired me most was that she
accomplished all of this yet still had the strength, courage and
forethought to always put her family first.” – Maura Craven

“Rita and I worked as regional heads of Spot Trading together
at Deutsche Bank. In what was then a very male oriented
business, Rita showed unbelievable mental toughness and
strong leadership to steer the NY trading team through what were
difficult times. Not only was she a skilled trader and a fantastic
people manager, she was also a friend, a confidante and a
wonderful human being. We all miss her laugh and her smile and
her warm heart. She will never be forgotten.” – Ian O’Flaherty

“Rita was unique in her ability to adapt to an ever-changing
environment in a hyper competitive market place, while
maintaining the highest level of professionalism and integrity. As
a manager, trader and colleague she was always approachable
and made herself available to work out business issues. She was
a star. Whether trading, managing people or developing new
businesses, she did it intelligently, methodically and ethically.” –
Dan Almeida

Determination

“Rita was a true industry pioneer, and played a central role in
the development of DB’s market-leading global FX franchise. She
joined from Citi back in 1994 (when we were not even a top 10
house in FX) to run spot trading in New York, one of the first
women to run a major FX trading desk, which she did extremely
successfully. Rita was one of the first FX traders to understand
how important electronic trading would become to our business,
and in the 1990s, she was a key driver behind the development of
Autobahn FX, and our subsequent success in e-trading. She then
turned her talents to developing our cash management services
offering, setting up and then co-running our FX4Cash business.

“Rita was an outstanding trader, a great manager and one of
the few people to be truly popular with clients and peers in what
we all know to be a tough industry. Her courage in the face of the
cancer she was diagnosed with in 2010 was exceptional. She
was an inspirational and remarkable woman who touched the
hearts of all those lucky enough to know her well. In the words of
Joe Randazzo, who worked closely with her, she was one of a
kind.” – Russell LaScala

“I met Rita, my friend and co-worker, when I expanded my role
from running Global Liquidity Management (GLM) North America
to also running FX North America at Deutsche Bank (DB). Upon
my introduction to Rita, I was struck by a few things. Her
complete commitment to making DB the number one FX house
regionally and globally and her unique ability to connect with her
co-workers to collaborate on projects that ultimately led to DB
achieving those goals and objectives, and her ability never to give
up no matter what hurdle stood in front of her. I have always
admired her persistence, determination and professionalism that
she put into her work and in her life overall. Like many of us, Rita
started her career at the bottom of the FX ladder. Unlike many,
she rose to become a Managing Director, and Global Head of
FX4Cash at Deutsche Bank’s prestigious FX product class. Rita
was a person who had a passion to compete at the highest levels
of our business and did so without losing her kindness,
compassion and concern for her fellow workers. Her
accomplishments were far and vast – from Spot trading,
Electronic trading platforms, Foreign Exchange Prime Brokerage
and her biggest success, Global FX4Cash, which is still a very
profitable and growing product in the FX space today. Rita was
widely respected not only within Deutsche Bank, but also broadly
in the small, close knit, global FX community. It was no accident
that Rita became a success. Her contribution to Deutsche Bank’s
success was significant and meaningful.

“On a personal level, my day had a hectic and full schedule of
business, however, I always made time whenever Rita needed
feedback or just wanted to recap the day-to-day of being in the
competitive FX arena. She was warm, engaging, funny and had a
sincere concern for people she considered co-workers, but more
importantly, friends. I always felt after those talks that Rita was a
person of intellect, but more importantly was a person who had a
generosity of spirit and desire to make things better. Most
importantly and one of the reasons why I call Rita my friend was
that although Rita loved her work and co-workers, she loved her
husband Joe and her two children, Luca and Matthew, even
more. Her family was a motivating force behind her success and
she sacrificed when needed to, in order to see that her success
would directly benefit those in her family she dearly loved.

“It is with fondness, yet profound sadness, that I have to write
these kind words about my friend Rita Saverino when she is no
longer here to hear them. Though she was dedicated to her work,
she was more dedicated to her family, friends and loved ones.
Often it is only after one is gone that their true difference is felt.
That was not so with Rita. I was a champion of her work, but
more so a champion of her life. She touched my heart, and my
life will be forever blessed for it. Rita’s life mattered and truly
made a difference! Life and the world was greatly better when
she was here and a hole was left when she passed too soon. It
was my honour and pleasure to have had Rita touch my life in
such a special way. I will always remember her and miss her
deeply. She was a shining light that will always stay lit in our lives.
“With deepest Respect for Rita, Joe, Luca, Matthew and friends
and all who her loved her.” – Joe Randazzo

Galen Stops

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