I was sitting in a restaurant facing the sea on a beautiful sunny day. Hong Kong was an ideal location to celebrate my 40th birthday with my wife, Vivien. On that day in February, when the UK is usually covered in snow, we basked in the sun and watched sailing boats meander across the Pearl Delta. In all but name, it was paradise. However, I wasn’t happy.
Twenty two years previously I had left school with nothing. I’d failed all my exams and watched as all my friends went to university without me. I managed to get myself a job as a filing clerk in London and happened to land myself on an Oil Trading floor. A part time mathematics degree and a lot of jobs later, I found myself a well established item in the Commodities Trading world. I was now the Asian Head of Commodities Trading for a large French investment bank and I was living the dream in Hong Kong. Well, when I say “Head”, there was only me, but I was trading swaps, futures, and options on Crude Oil, Refined Products, Precious and Base Metals, Agriculturals and Softs; as well as any FX or Interest Rates that were needed. I felt the word “Head” was justified. The problem was it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t actually enjoy it that much. It was stressful and time consuming. In order to be a good trader in anything, let alone Commodities, you have to live and breathe it; 24/7. My problem was that I enjoyed too many other things in life to dedicate more than 8 hours a day in the Commodities markets. Later when I was asked why I stopped, I would simply say this:
I know enough to be a bad trader, but I don’t care enough to be a good trader.
Great. I have just spent the best years of my life crawling up from nothing to the top of my game only to realise that I didn’t actually like it. What an idiot. That’s why I wasn’t happy as I sipped my mojito in the Hong Kong sun. I had to make a decision. I had to do something.
So, I resigned from the bank, gave up the serviced apartment that was costing me an arm and a leg, and flew back to the cold wet London that I grew up in. I had over 20 years of experience but didn’t want to trade, so I decided to help others that did.
I will be posting articles on all things Commodities Trading and Risk. I hope it helps.
Pete Davies, Director and Founder of Raven Trading Limited