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A Week In London

A Week in London

December 27, 2016

Chapter 49 in the exclusive series for Dynamic Commodities- becoming a commodities trader

After a few months of making markets under the close and constant supervision of Sid and Ralph, I was ready to fly solo. Sid’s trader in London, Mark Suter, was going on vacation and someone needed to cover for him. London was an active market for over-the-counter gold and silver options.

Sid never cared much for Mr. Suter. It seemed that the daily ritual in the office was his many complaints about the deals done during London hours. Ralph agreed with Sid and both always blamed laziness and a lack of discipline for trades that either did not make enough money or turned out to be losers.

Up until I arrived on the scene, Sid would dispatch Ralph to the London office for a week to cover for Mark in his absence. Ralph was not a good traveler. He tended to get sick on the plane or in the office and wind up spending more time in his hotel room than on the desk making markets. The last adventure for Ralph to London turned out to be a disaster as he came down with a stomach virus and a doctor had to attend to him during his stay.

Sid told me that I was elected to cover for Mark with only a few days’ notice for my first business trip abroad. He gave me lots of instructions, all political about the traders in the office there and instructed me that I was to be his eyes and ears. He also told me to give out no information about him or our department to anyone. I flew to London on a Saturday red-eye flight so that I could rest and refresh for the start of business on Monday morning. I knew that I would be under the microscope in the London office, by the traders there as well as Sid and Ralph back home.

On Monday morning I made my way over to the Philipp Brothers office in London Wall. The building was old and falling apart and the office was down-market compared to our luxurious digs in the McGraw-Hill building in New York City. The head of the bullion department greeted me on my arrival and immediately all of the traders in the office began saying how they pitied me because I was stuck working for a maniac. I paid them little mind, as Sid had instructed. I made markets for the entire week and did a reasonable job. Even Sid told me that I made only a few small acceptable mistakes. I went out for dinner and drinks with the traders every night. There were many drinks consumed and as the week wore on it became harder to get going in the morning. I flew back to New York on Friday night after work ended and slept for the entire weekend. From my wife’s perspective, I just had a whirlwind trip to London; all expenses paid and passed out only to revive myself on Monday morning to head back to the office for another week of what she called my glamorous life. She did not understand the pressure or toll the lifestyle takes on anyone in the business. Only those who live the life understand that particular brand of exhaustion.

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Post Series: Origin Of A Commodities Trader

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