by David Costello

This morning I read an interesting quote from one of Ireland’s top hedge fund managers, Colm O’ Shea. In 2012 O’Shea was listed as the 21st highest paid hedge fund manager in the world, taking home $100m dollars that year alone, pretty sweet! A man who rarely gives interviews, he did recently produce this gem:

“Those who like trading because they like gambling are going to be terrible at it.”

This is an interesting point. To make our living in trading we have to take chances, we have to put our hard-earned money on the line in order to earn more money. This is similar to gambling right? WRONG!

The analogy I use is this: if you are at a roulette table for a couple of hours and find yourself with a nice mountain of chips as a result, you should probably walk away. You simply got lucky. However, if you are sitting at a poker table for a few hours and find yourself with a tall stack of multicoloured chips, you should probably keep playing. Because like the latter, trading is a game of strategy, skill and discipline. And if you are making money it is because you are better than the competition, not because of luck.

We have a phrase in Positive: “the harder you work the luckier you get”. I think this motto really captures the mindset in the company. We work hard in order to gain an edge in the most competitive, complex and strategic game in the world. Of course we seek out people who are comfortable with taking risk; shrewd, cold-hearted, calculated risk! But you cannot gamble with your livelihood as a trader, otherwise expect to have a pretty short career!