Following on from post 179 in this thread I thought I'd start a thread about me being a 'prop trader'
Firstly it still doesn't feel right typing that because as far as I'm concerned I'm still a novice and I could be out the door in 3 months time.
THAT BEING SAID:
I put myself through Uni playing online poker and had some pretty good success over a 5 year period from when I was about 19-24. Without going into detail, there was plenty of opportunity to make money for a about a 6-7 year period and I probably caught the last 3-4 years and did pretty well from it. From about 2011 onwards though the games started getting a lot harder and whilst I was still making money from the game my capacity to earn $$ was actually decreasing each year. This combined with the face that I started really finding an interest in financial markets led me to move on. I worked at a Superannuation firm for a year or so and then got taken on by a prop firm in March last year.
One of the biggest regrets in my life I think will be not locking myself in a room playing poker 100 hours a week from the ages of 19 to 22. I reckon I could have put myself in a really healthy spot financially if I hadn't taken it for granted. That being said I was young and naive and as Phil Collins says 'you don't know what you've lost til you lose it'. Instead I've just got a very healthy 'kick start' in life when compared to the average guy financially.
The reason I harp on about my history is that I think it gave me a huge edge in landing a job trading prop. Trader's eyes light up when the see that I've had success managing my own money and there's a lot of similarities between poker and trading. I was effectively the perfect fit for what my 'mentor' was looking for in that I had no preconceived ideas about trading so he could teach me his way from scratch, yet I naturally had a number of skills that prop traders need.
I'm hesitant to go into great detail about what I do but in the main I traded the Australian futures interest rate market, specifically the 3 and 10 year bonds however i do venture into the shorter end of the yield curve at times and also keep a pretty close eye on the US treasuries. There's a number of ways to trade these markets by most of the time I'm looking to scalp the market (either through the outright market or spreads) to $$ out of the market.
I initially started on a Sim account and went to my own account in June. My trading size/limits started small and has steadily increased over the past 8 months since being on my own account.
It has been a long road and I am no where near the pot of gold. In fact I have never been paid. I don't have my charts with me on this computer but this MS paint picture gives a pretty good idea of my P+L.
I can go into more detail about my P+L and the breakdown if required although I feel the picture paints itself pretty well. The one thing I will say is don;t under estimate desk fees + brokerage cost as a drag (especially initially). If I had to guess I'd hazard to say I've paid 35-40k in brokerage in the last 8 months.
What gets me up in the morning is the upside potential. I'm happy to work for free for as long as it takes so long as the upside is there. In all honesty if you are trading any kind of size in this market and can average like 1 tick a day then you are living a good life.
A usual day for me is wake up at 6am, watch/trade the last 1.5 hours of the night session and attempt to frame the day/build a bias/build a plan and then head into work for the 830 open of the cash session. Trade til 4.30pm, come home and do exercise/errands and then trade the FTSE from 7pm for a couple of hours. Occasionally if there is data out in the state's ill set my alarm and get up or stay up for that. The hours can vary a little bit and truth be told as I type this now I wonder if 9.5-10 hours of bond trading a day is enough. It's probably not. That being said we go pretty quiet until the states wake up so there is a lull period from 5.10pm til say 10pm so it's hard to do any more hours, I just try to follow the volatility in the main.
Not sure what else there is to cover. If you have any q's fire away and I'll do my best to answer them or kindly ignore them!