Positive Equity was featured recently in poslovni.hr and moj-posao.net internet portals in Croatia. Read on to see what it’s like being a part of our trading floor in Split.
Dublin based financial futures trading firm, Positive Equity, opened a small office 3 years ago, and now they have 17 employees and want to hire another 10-15 this year and another 15 next year. You’d never guess that million dollar contracts are changing hands right here in our very own Split. They don’t seem to be anything like what all the movies say they should be like. There are no Gordon Gecko types, no Wolf of Wall Street, no private elevators or gold plated anything. Their offices are modern, well designed, but spartan. Everybody wears normal clothing, smart casual, but no ties, and you can’t figure out who the boss is—he’s just dressed just as normal as everybody else. And it’s quiet, weirdly quiet, except the occasional burst of news from their news service based in the City in London.
But the one thing that does ring true to the stereotype and the movies is that they work hard. The markets open in Europe at 8am and Europe closes in line with the US at 10pm. But everybody is at pains to explain how the hours fly by and that they can’t wait to get to work on Monday. Have you ever heard such rubbish before? 😉 But it’s true. This is a career unlike any career out there except that of a professional athlete, and that makes it a very appealing career for many people, both in terms of the competitive nature, their love of “the game” and of course if you are talented, there are very big pay checks. So the hours don’t seem to matter because everybody is in love with the career. It’s not all great great great, there is at times stress, a few gray hairs sprouting here and there from tough trades.
Their longest serving employees are some of the most well paid employees in Croatia. Some end of year bonuses are more than what some people make in a year. For every high flyer there are many more journeymen, and hopeful trainees. Most of them are athletes of some description or another, basketballers, footballers, a few hand-ballers and a lonely waterpolo-ist! They are a competitive bunch, but they aren’t selfish. They are collectively responsible for innovations, but individually responsible for results.
They painstakingly explain their job to me, dispelling myths and stereotypes. We aren’t brokers. We are traders. It’s a small but important difference that is lost to most people who aren’t in finance. Brokers execute orders and make trades on behalf of clients. They don’t make any decisions themselves. Traders are actually the clients, top of the food chain. When these guys want to make a trade they either click their mouse or the pick up the phone and call their broker. Brokers work for traders, a tool of the trade.
When they aren’t glued to their desks trading the financial markets, they are relaxing and taking a breather playing video games in the office (even in front of the boss), in the kitchen playing darts, or upstairs playing ping-pong, but most of the time talking around tables at the café next to their office. But don’t think you can lean in and learn the secrets of modern finance, they are very confidential and private about the details of what they do, as any leak can lead to an erosion in their ability to trade the markets. Once a month they get together for some outside of the office hang time. They have travelled to Hvar by speed boat, skied in Kupres, had a few drinks in Central night club, but usually it’s a few quiet drinks or dinner together.
So what is it like to be a trader? Well they get up early. They sit in front of 4, 5, 6, 8 monitors. They listen to the news, instantly analyse its meaning and put on educated guesses or bets to which way the markets will go. It’s hard stuff putting your ideas on the line. There are many good trades and bad trades. It’s all computerized these days. Gone are the days of screaming and yelling on the trading floors. So if you don’t like sitting in front of screens, this career probably isn’t for you.
So Wolf of Wall Street it isn’t, there are no dwarf throwing contests, but they assure me the career is never dull, every day is a different challenge, and if you are good at it, you could be Croatia’s next Gordon Gecko.
This article is an approximate translation.