For me, having 15 Years experienced HFT & Quant Based Solutions & Fund management person, which I also enjoyed immensely, the market offered an opportunity to test myself and to prove I could generate economic profits for clients. A harsh meritocracy also has its advantages if you enjoy the daily challenge.
The majority of the managers that I have met have a sarcastic and self-deprecatory sense of humors and a fighting spirit, hardened by many strokes of bad luck, blunders and also successes. We try to laugh at one another a little. I should admit that most of the criticism and ironic comments fall first on us.
Comments of the following type can be heard: “Why are the markets rising?” “Because this morning I made some negative predictions, it always works” or “Why are the markets falling?” “Someone has just come back from a round of golf and is selling” and “Because I bought this morning.” When oil prices fall, someone will ironically comment: “Who was the one that wrote a bullish email?”
We also laugh at ourselves when we are having a bad day on the markets. I remember remarks such as: “Looks like my longs are going to bail out Greece” and “Right, with a capital increase.” Or when announcements are made to bail out countries:
“My portfolio is having a recession in my longs and bailing out my shorts.”
One of the key things we learn is not to talk about “paper portfolios” (online portfolios where we include our best ideas to see how they would perform, but without investing real money) as they always work phenomenally.
When we put them into practice with real money, however, many of these portfolios barely last three months. I have seen dozens of workers laid off who promised spectacular returns from their online portfolios.
It’s easy to handle Monopoly money, because there is no risk.
It’s another ball game altogether when you play with hard cash.
It’s important to remember that we must not take ourselves too seriously and believe we are geniuses. There will always be someone much smarter, more sprightly and better prepared than you in another investment fund. Strong criticism from your own friends when success goes to your head, as well as their support when things are not going well, is essential to survival in this world.
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