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Ralph Quits

Ralph Quits

January 24, 2017

Chapter 68 in the exclusive series for Dynamic Commodities- becoming a commodities trader

Sid’s lack of support or thanks for the silver profits in April 1987 when he was at a conference in Hawaii soured his relationship with Ralph. It was not a question of money, as Sid’s number two he was handsomely paid for the profits made on the options positions.

Ralph wanted acknowledgement from Sid, he wanted respect and he did not get what he required. Therefore, when Shearson approached Ralph with an offer to become their chief precious metals options traders he was ready to leave. An excellent trader with a sharp eye for spreads and arbitrage opportunities, Philipp Brothers did not want to lose Ralph. When he told Sid he had a job offer, rather than asking him to stay and stroking Ralph’s ego, Sid got angry and viewed his even talking to anyone else as an act of total disloyalty. When word got out that Ralph was considering leaving Chris Linen tried to convince him to stay. When that went nowhere, Chris enlisted Henry Schachar, the President and number two manager at Philipp Brothers.

In his heart, I knew Ralph did not want to leave because he was such a loyal company guy. Even at that time, with all the Salomon Brothers nonsense going on around us, Philipp Brothers was still a family and members of the precious metals department were like blood relatives. However, it was a fateful meeting with Henry that pushed Ralph over the edge.

Henry called Ralph in to discuss the offer from the competing firm. He immediately offered to meet the financial package. Ralph said it was not good enough and explained how he felt ignored and disrespected for his efforts and the profits he earned for the firm over the past months. Henry heard Ralph loud and clear and said, “Why don’t you tell me it is Sid or me and I will make a decision.” Henry was offering Ralph Sid’s job. Many others in his shoes would have grabbed the opportunity, trading and Wall Street is a cut-throat, dog-eat-dog world. However, Ralph stood up and offered Henry his hand to shake. He told him that he helped him to decide and he would be leaving the firm immediately. Ralph later told me that if Henry was willing to do that to Sid, he would do it to him someday. Ralph was gone in a matter of hours. I had grown very close to him and missed him. However, I respected him for the decision and learned an important lesson that day about loyalty. It turned out Ralph was more loyal to Sid than the boss could ever have imagined. The very next week, David Schoenthal, Ralph’s boss at Shearson called to offer me a job. Ralph wanted me by his side and tried to convince me to join him.

Post Series: Origin Of A Commodities Trader

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