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Cutbacks Hit Home

January 19, 2017

Chapter 65 in the exclusive series for Dynamic Commodities- becoming a commodities trader

Each time I returned to the New York office from a trip, news greeted me about the latest firings in the company. However, up to this point the layoffs did not affect our area.

Chris Linen seemed particularly unsettled and I asked him what was going on. He said, “Let’s go over to the St. Regis for lunch and I will fill you in.” Over a couple of martinis for me and more than that for him, Chris told me that management had asked him to cut headcount in the department in New York by two. Chris asked me who I thought should be cut and I did not have an answer. It was a very difficult question as everyone in the department was my friend and all were good at their jobs. The cuts had to come from the front office, meaning traders, as the company needed to cut significant expenses. I dodged the question by telling him that I was on the road so much that I could not make an informed recommendation. He accepted that but told me the two that he was considering. His tone told me that he had already made his decision, and it would be hard to talk him out of it. I asked him how he arrived at the two names, Sandy Gellis and Peter Neumann.

Sandy ran the money desk before the Salomon marriage. He had been trading forwards in gold and doing some coin refining deals which had not been particularly profitable since the end of the Hunt days which seemed like eons ago by that point. When it came to Peter, a friend of mine for years, I objected. However, Chris told me that he thought Jimmy DiPiazza was unhappy with his assistant as Peter was too slow on the trading desk. I knew I could not convince Chris otherwise so I kept my mouth shut. There were others who would have been better candidates to be fired at that point, but they were institutions in the international precious metals market and it would not have looked good for the firm.

That week, Sandy and Peter got the news. The firm was generous to them giving them half of the prior year’s bonus and one month salary for each year at the firm. Peter’s departure bothered me; it was the first time where someone I was very close to was kicked to the curb. It would not be the last and sooner than I’d imagine it would be me making those types of decisions and delivering the heart breaking news. Jimmy did not stand up for Peter and that said something about him to me.

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Post Series: Origin Of A Commodities Trader

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