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Jimmy DiPiazza

Jimmy DiPiazza

January 17, 2017

Chapter 63 in the exclusive series for Dynamic Commodities- becoming a commodities trader

Jimmy DiPiazza was the senior silver trader at Philipp Brothers who was handed the reins of the wild commodity on the day that John Mihale announced he was going fishing and never coming back.

Jimmy came to the firm from Moody’s where he was an analyst. Everyone had a hook to get into Philipp Brothers in the pre-Salomon days and Jimmy’s was his sister. She was an executive secretary at the company who convinced her brother to come in for an interview with Ray Nessim who hired Jimmy on the spot.

Jimmy was probably the most talented trader in the department. It takes nerves of steel to trade silver so it was ironic that he was also one of the most negative and nervous guys I had ever encountered. When the layoffs were going on at the company, he always believed he would be next. He worried about the mortgage on his home in Marlboro, New Jersey. He worried about losing money, he worried about his health and he worried about everything. At the same time his brain was wired for markets. He was an expert at identifying discrepancies in the silver market between nearby and deferred prices. Over the years he grew to do the same in the gold market. Jimmy used Eurodollar futures to hedge the interest rate risks to lock in profits on his forward trades.

Fear and greed drive most people, traders tend to magnify them. Jimmy was as fearful as it gets and he was also greedy. He was able to milk the markets for every last dime. He always thought management took advantage of him when it came to compensation but would never say anything because the fear of losing his job got in the way. Jimmy liked the finer things in life, he was a wine connoisseur. It was easy for us traders to learn a lot about fine wines, at the customer and counterpart dinners they flowed like water. Jimmy was always highly approachable. He was just another Brooklyn boy like me who was lucky enough to find himself at Philipp Brothers. Jimmy’s favorite topic was always what he called his ‘number’. While he was excellent at his job, he hated it with a passion. The ‘number’ was the amount of money he needed in the bank to walk away and never have to worry about cash again in his life. When I first met him, Jimmy’s number was to pay off his mortgage and have $5 million in the bank. Of course, the number went up each year as he made more money and bought more toys. My friend Peter Neumann was Jimmy’s assistant trader and they were close. While I was working for Sid, my relationship with Jimmy was arm’s length. A paranoid Sidney never wanted Ralph or me talking too much to the other traders in the department. Ralph ignored Sid but I complied until Chris Linen came along.

Nothing on this site should ever be considered to be advice, research or an invitation to buy or sell any securities

Post Series: Origin Of A Commodities Trader

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