Ask Me Anything: I'm a Physical Energy Trader

I am currently a physical energy trader at a major firm. I studied business and economics and did various internships through college one was with my current firm in a fundamentals research role, upon graduation in the height of the crisis they had an opening for a new trading analyst role and shortly after graduation I was hired. I have been with the firm for over 3 years now and currently help manage our assets and customer book.

My firm trades both physically and financially but our strength/specialization is the physical market and being able to best manage to get the physical molecule there and taking fundamental views based on our expertise. When I was an intern, energy commodities were booming and in record highs while now we have been in a sustained bear markets with lower volatility also dodd-frank is making the physical energy trading space a lot more difficult these days.

Feel free to ask me anything about trading, energy, internships.

Comments (78)

May 1, 2013

No immediate question here. Thanks for this. You're one of the best posters on site.

May 1, 2013

What location are you in?

May 1, 2013

This is very nice thank you.
What advice would you give to someone who would love to break into the industry but hasn't any relevant experience yet ?
I have sent 20+ applications and I didn't even get a ITW.
Do you think that if you start let's say in soft commodies you will have to stay in soft commo "for ever" ? Same with any other product.
Would you rather start in a big commo house in ops and hope to make the move to trader or start in a smaller commo house ?
Do you have any information about what "origination" people really do ? Are they negociating big deals for several years or just looking for business opportunities around the world ?

I am based in Europe.

May 1, 2013
TheSquale:

This is very nice thank you.
What advice would you give to someone who would love to break into the industry but hasn't any relevant experience yet ?
I have sent 20+ applications and I didn't even get a ITW.
Do you think that if you start let's say in soft commodies you will have to stay in soft commo "for ever" ? Same with any other product.
Would you rather start in a big commo house in ops and hope to make the move to trader or start in a smaller commo house ?
Do you have any information about what "origination" people really do ? Are they negociating big deals for several years or just looking for business opportunities around the world ?

I am based in Europe.

To begin I am North America based, that said I know people who have worked in both North America and Europe the business overall is not that much different just the details.

What Advice? The main main advice I can give you is to figure out where your strengths lie, there is two main skill groups I would say that do well in this business if you can mix both great. One is soft skills, and truly knowing enuff at the surface and the other is to have a very very good understanding of basic economics and stay true to them at all times. Once you figure out which of those you are, I would say then read read read and train those skills. If you have read "King of Oil" I would say Marc Rich is category A, while Category B would be Paul Tudor Jones, Jim Rogers. Seriously the main thing my firm and any of these firms interview for is the "way you think" get from A to B the rest we can teach you. Again anything beyond Econ 101 is overkill.

Soft Commodity? Not sure what is a soft commodity, usually if you start in something you will be forced to specialize in it early on and it is up to YOU to make sure you look at things outside your scope.

Big shop or Small? Tough one, I would go where I can learn the most and I trust the people in charge

Origination? My shop has two forms of origination/sales one is the type who deals with the day-to-day and make sure the customer is taken care of and the traders are not "pancaking" or running them over as they should. The other is the longer-term working on those large deals, they are more focused on trying to see where a client's business is going and how best help them get there. So summarize a sales guy helps execute a clien'ts strategy (hedging, etc...) while the origination people are there to help customers/regulations/etc form that forward strategy.

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May 2, 2013
marcellus_wallace:

To begin I am North America based, that said I know people who have worked in both North America and Europe the business overall is not that much different just the details.

What Advice? The main main advice I can give you is to figure out where your strengths lie, there is two main skill groups I would say that do well in this business if you can mix both great. One is soft skills, and truly knowing enuff at the surface and the other is to have a very very good understanding of basic economics and stay true to them at all times. Once you figure out which of those you are, I would say then read read read and train those skills. If you have read "King of Oil" I would say Marc Rich is category A, while Category B would be Paul Tudor Jones, Jim Rogers. Seriously the main thing my firm and any of these firms interview for is the "way you think" get from A to B the rest we can teach you. Again anything beyond Econ 101 is overkill.

Soft Commodity? Not sure what is a soft commodity, usually if you start in something you will be forced to specialize in it early on and it is up to YOU to make sure you look at things outside your scope.

Big shop or Small? Tough one, I would go where I can learn the most and I trust the people in charge

Origination? My shop has two forms of origination/sales one is the type who deals with the day-to-day and make sure the customer is taken care of and the traders are not "pancaking" or running them over as they should. The other is the longer-term working on those large deals, they are more focused on trying to see where a client's business is going and how best help them get there. So summarize a sales guy helps execute a clien'ts strategy (hedging, etc...) while the origination people are there to help customers/regulations/etc form that forward strategy.

Thanks for the great answer. I see your point.
When I said soft commo I was talking about agri products.
I will continue my applications and I hope my tenacity will pay !

Do you think that it will be possible to make the jump from commodty finance at a bank to a trader position at a commo house (with a transition period of couse) ?
If i don't succeed in getting into a commo house right away what other job could be a stepping stone to a trader job in a commo house?

May 1, 2013

Can you give us a day-in-life/ hours worked? I know a "typical" day may be difficult but getting an idea of what you specifically do would be great

May 1, 2013
my man:

Can you give us a day-in-life/ hours worked? I know a "typical" day may be difficult but getting an idea of what you specifically do would be great

Will do, later on need a bit to jog that one down. If anyone wants something specific as me beforehand.

May 1, 2013

Thanks for doing this, insight into this side of the markets is always useful

What specific products are you trading? Coal/power, gas/power spread? Or does energy just mean oil generally?

What are your main information sources for generating trade ideas? I imagine you don't just take data from
Bloomberg to make trades...
In the physical market, what is the average transaction size? Does your book include a number of tankers, for example?
Sorry it's a bit disorganised but just trying to get a feel for how things work.

May 1, 2013
Caporegime:

Thanks for doing this, insight into this side of the markets is always useful

What specific products are you trading? Coal/power, gas/power spread? Or does energy just mean oil generally?

What are your main information sources for generating trade ideas? I imagine you don't just take data from
Bloomberg to make trades...
In the physical market, what is the average transaction size? Does your book include a number of tankers, for example?
Sorry it's a bit disorganised but just trying to get a feel for how things work.

My group trades power/gas, I am a natty guy. Our firm in general trades every kind of energy under the sun globally and locally. Energy usually means Crude/Natty/Products, some shops mix natty/power like mine.

Main info sources. Internal fundumentals group and analysts, vendor information (PIRA, CERA, Bentek, etc), banks infomration, our own internal models (some I help build).

Average transaction, is a contract size for natty that is 10,000 mbtus or .01 change means $100. The book I help manage contains various physical assets in transport, storage, production, customer flows etc..

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May 1, 2013

How do I get into trading?
Derp

I'm not concerned with the very poor
-Mitt Romney

May 1, 2013

How important is GPA and brand name of school/internship to getting a job like yours?

Best characteristics/qualities if energy trader?

Compensation?

Hours?

How long do you see yourself doing this?

Books to read (besides oil 101.)

What other positions should an undergrad pursue with an oil/energy company?

Feel free I answer all or none, just quickly throwing out q's I have and ones that will prob be asked! Thanks!!

May 1, 2013
droking7:

How important is GPA and brand name of school/internship to getting a job like yours?

Best characteristics/qualities if energy trader?

Compensation?

Hours?

How long do you see yourself doing this?

Books to read (besides oil 101.)

What other positions should an undergrad pursue with an oil/energy company?

Feel free I answer all or none, just quickly throwing out q's I have and ones that will prob be asked! Thanks!!

GPA? Just prove to us you are smart, since there is a lot of competition these days the higher the better but really the basic 3.5+ for trading. Brand name? Depends where a firm recruits from, but no in physical commodities brand name has little value that said a lot of smart people went to good schools.

Characteristics/Qualities. Problem Solving skills, being able to look at the bigger picture, hardworking, humble (very key in this business), willing to learn.

Compensation. Same as banks in trading, once you get more senoir more dependent on your performance and the firm's. But base is basically same as a bank.

Hours. atleast 40-50 a week, more dependant on the person after that.

Books. King of Oil, Energy Trading and Investing, A Thousand Barrels a Second, anything by Mark B Fisher, Sheldon Natenberg & John C Carter.

Not sure how long I see myself doing this, as long as I enjoy and think I could be successful, I enjoy the simple economics of supply/demand and prefer trading a commodity than options for instance. Other positions are usually in the commercial advisor group, risk group, finance advice, treasury.

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May 1, 2013

Do you track arbitrage opportunities and take those into account as you forecast regional fundamentals?

May 1, 2013
Dr. Shakalu:

Do you track arbitrage opportunities and take those into account as you forecast regional fundamentals?

Anything that involves assets is arbitrage opportunities. So yes I do that on a daily basis. For instance when you go to buy a physical asset that is an option, like any option we have "intrinsic value" and "extrinsic value", if you are able to purchase that asset on intrinsic alone, awesome do it all night long. Most cases you will need to pay up for that option the value you are paying for is that some-time in the future you will be able to create the arb opp, which you get then paid for.

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May 1, 2013

Hello, I'm an aspiring commodity trader and had an agri trading intern experience.
Could you please tell me
1) What kind of post-college/graduate-lvl skills is conducive to commodity trading in general
2) In sum, what are the few key differences between energy comm. arbitrage vs agri/metal arbitrage?
3) Except of commodity trading houses and prop trading firms, what other positions would you recommend for monkeys straight out of college?

Best

May 1, 2013
poopinprop:

Hello, I'm an aspiring commodity trader and had an agri trading intern experience.
Could you please tell me
1) What kind of post-college/graduate-lvl skills is conducive to commodity trading in general
2) In sum, what are the few key differences between energy comm. arbitrage vs agri/metal arbitrage?
3) Except of commodity trading houses and prop trading firms, what other positions would you recommend for monkeys straight out of college?

Best

The major differences across commodities has to do with how mature, big and regulated the market is. Natty is all three of those so certain skills and way to find trades is unique, while being in crude/metals could differ. Agri is the same thing depends on the location, maturity of the market some areas are way more regulated for agri while others are less so.

If you cannot get into a trade shop, then aim the other side i.e. be the customer. Usually treasury, hedging, optimization, commcercial advisor of a large company these are customers the end of the day. For instance in energy people come aggregators, utilities, storage operators, power plant holders/owners, agents, commodity buying groups of f500s etc..

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May 1, 2013

Is your pay based on performance? How does it work if you lose money? Are you given specific orders how to trade?

Mps721

May 1, 2013
Mps721:

Is your pay based on performance? How does it work if you lose money? Are you given specific orders how to trade?

Yes, yours and the firms. More weighted to the firms these days you can thank late 90s to 2008 for that, you need to be an exceptional trader these days to get paid out on your book alone or scare people enuff to be forced a retention package again then you don't get the cash right away. Anyways be it whatever Dodd-Frank, change of times, 2008 crash the old stories of you get paid out by firm A, then firm B steals you and get paid again in Liar's Poker are hard to find these days.

Like any trading job, if you lose money over time for stupid reasons you will be soon gone.

Not sure what you mean by specific orders...

May 1, 2013

Posting to stay in the loop.

May 1, 2013

Just one of those days, got bogged down. Here comes rapid fire.

May 1, 2013

Thanks for doing this, I'm very interested in going into physical energy trading once I graduate.

What are your thoughts on starting at a major company with a development program like BP's TDP, P66's new hire, or Shell's trader graduate programme? What would be preferable to those?

Do you trade natty because that's what the open analyst position was for or did you choose natty somewhere along the line?

What do you think the biggest differences between trading energy and trading metals or ags would be? If you started with energy when and how could someone switch into metals or ags?

What city are you in? How important do you think it is to start in Houston?

Have you seen people work for a consulting firm with an energy practice and then go into trading? What about people from info vendors like pira or bentek?

Also interested in poopinprop's questions. Again, thank you doing this. Really helpful answers so far.

May 1, 2013
Lerg:

Thanks for doing this, I'm very interested in going into physical energy trading once I graduate.

What are your thoughts on starting at a major company with a development program like BP's TDP, P66's new hire, or Shell's trader graduate programme? What would be preferable to those?

Do you trade natty because that's what the open analyst position was for or did you choose natty somewhere along the line?

What do you think the biggest differences between trading energy and trading metals or ags would be? If you started with energy when and how could someone switch into metals or ags?

What city are you in? How important do you think it is to start in Houston?

Have you seen people work for a consulting firm with an energy practice and then go into trading? What about people from info vendors like pira or bentek?

Also interested in poopinprop's questions. Again, thank you doing this. Really helpful answers so far.

All great programs, all top notch firms. Just go where you see the best fit and the best people, if you land all 3 of those more power to you would be a rare ideal indeed. Starting in Houston has lots of importance for one its the mecca and epic centre, next most head offices are there and things will always be easier, there is a lot more shops and variety and easier to network. Yes have from both consulting firms and vendors, some also leave to those avenues rare to see them go into trading though.

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May 1, 2013

Thanks so much for the answers!

May 1, 2013

Thanks for doing this Q&A. I'm a chemist trying to get into trading or equity research. Are there any traders at your firm with science degrees?

May 1, 2013
dnv05:

Thanks for doing this Q&A. I'm a chemist trying to get into trading or equity research. Are there any traders at your firm with science degrees?

Yup Chemical engineers more common but yes for sure would be a leg up and help since you understand the science behind it and what is physically possible or not. I remember the first time at a conference I saw how a horizontal rig vs vertical rig works, was next level stuff I needed probably many hours and couple days to find litreature on it to see how it all works, only then could we have belief in the future production forecasts, same goes for when i see an IP suddenly 5x or so. I am sure you would have a much better and easier grasp on that stuff.

May 1, 2013

Thanks for this.

- Is Dodd-Frank making your desk place safer bets (spreads and basis)?

- Has it affected the size of your contracts?

May 1, 2013
ButHopeful:

Thanks for this.

- Is Dodd-Frank making your desk place safer bets (spreads and basis)?

- Has it affected the size of your contracts?

I will try my very best to keep my Dodd-Frank hating to a minimum since it is tough to explain and truly understand unless you are in the trenches daily. That said to first answer your questions.

Yes basically evolution and ultimately Dodd-Frank has forced limits across the board on various contracts, though the Supreme court is still arguing if position limits make sense or not. Nonetheless yes major limits have hurt trading firms and make us look at them much more than I would prefer.

But my major gripes about DF, is that it has totally failed what it tired to achieve. The main goals I was led to believe was to bring transparency and less risk to the little guy (customer), so far we have seen the opposite. DF went too far in certain areas and not clear enuff in others. In energy the main thing we saw was many banks/firms just basically shut down their ops (the very firms we wanted to be more transparent) because DF made it not worth their time so now you have less big boys to take on big risk not a good trend.

Next is the behavior of the overall market. I think Dodd-Frank has and will make it very difficult to have "market sheriffs" like bond vigilantes we had/have these in energy trading when the market goes totally bonkers one big mammoth with a sane mind can step in and say "enuff is enuff give me it all" this allows you to speed up fundamentals, this allows your market cycles to properly transpire. Instead all we get is reactionary short-term thinking by various lunatics running the aslymum (myself included). This really hurts customers I think because they can never plan long-term whatsoever only short-term which in turn hurts the lunatics themselves (less long-term volatility, fear of not having customers long-term).

Finally its all the paperwork, all the special rules just makes your life hell. Any sort of unique structure that would solve a customer's issue is frowned upon now and requires tons of paperwork, we have so many different training sessions and most end with most traders thinking "ok i will never do that kind of deal again", so you stick to vanilla stuff and stick to where is the most value and ignore fundumental business sense at times.

Disincenting sensible things and instead gets traders to put on massive size up to their limits or find ways around the limits in short-term cycles, which again hurts the little guy the most at the end of the day. Rant done.

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May 2, 2013
marcellus_wallace:
ButHopeful:

Thanks for this.

- Is Dodd-Frank making your desk place safer bets (spreads and basis)?

- Has it affected the size of your contracts?

I will try my very best to keep my Dodd-Frank hating to a minimum since it is tough to explain and truly understand unless you are in the trenches daily. That said to first answer your questions.

Yes basically evolution and ultimately Dodd-Frank has forced limits across the board on various contracts, though the Supreme court is still arguing if position limits make sense or not. Nonetheless yes major limits have hurt trading firms and make us look at them much more than I would prefer.

But my major gripes about DF, is that it has totally failed what it tired to achieve. The main goals I was led to believe was to bring transparency and less risk to the little guy (customer), so far we have seen the opposite. DF went too far in certain areas and not clear enuff in others. In energy the main thing we saw was many banks/firms just basically shut down their ops (the very firms we wanted to be more transparent) because DF made it not worth their time so now you have less big boys to take on big risk not a good trend.

Next is the behavior of the overall market. I think Dodd-Frank has and will make it very difficult to have "market sheriffs" like bond vigilantes we had/have these in energy trading when the market goes totally bonkers one big mammoth with a sane mind can step in and say "enuff is enuff give me it all" this allows you to speed up fundamentals, this allows your market cycles to properly transpire. Instead all we get is reactionary short-term thinking by various lunatics running the aslymum (myself included). This really hurts customers I think because they can never plan long-term whatsoever only short-term which in turn hurts the lunatics themselves (less long-term volatility, fear of not having customers long-term).

Finally its all the paperwork, all the special rules just makes your life hell. Any sort of unique structure that would solve a customer's issue is frowned upon now and requires tons of paperwork, we have so many different training sessions and most end with most traders thinking "ok i will never do that kind of deal again", so you stick to vanilla stuff and stick to where is the most value and ignore fundumental business sense at times.

Disincenting sensible things and instead gets traders to put on massive size up to their limits or find ways around the limits in short-term cycles, which again hurts the little guy the most at the end of the day. Rant done.

Nice to finally get a physical trader's perspective. Seems like the time/costs of implementing this stuff and the missed gains alone clearly make DF a bad idea.

May 1, 2013

What type of ETRM systems do you have set up?
And thank you for the post!

"To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier than most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks."
--Benjamin Graham

B.K.

May 2, 2013
BKND:

What type of ETRM systems do you have set up?
And thank you for the post!

Market decided today was the day for an 8% move, good old may.

ETRM, man I had to google that one. Openlink's Citrix for trading exposures and deals, OpenLink and external models for VAR we use sql to build in a visualizaiton tool called spotfire. Matlab for fundumental databases and storage valuation. Power has a bunch of really random tools I cannot remember name off the top of my head.

May 1, 2013

i was pretty surprised to see that entry level real-time trading jobs annual compensation is only around $40-45k. $39k + 5% bonus first year, then $45k + 25% second year, not sure what the pay structure is after.

also, how long does it typically take for a real-time trader to become day-ahead trader?

May 2, 2013

Do you suggest starting out in Operations/Logistics/Traffic to break into the energy trading industry? Is there a good chance of mobility? Would you happen to know the best time frame to apply to BP, Shell etc Graduate Trading Programs after 1-2 years of work experience? Thanks!

May 2, 2013
hungryhobo:

Do you suggest starting out in Operations/Logistics/Traffic to break into the energy trading industry? Is there a good chance of mobility? Would you happen to know the best time frame to apply to BP, Shell etc Graduate Trading Programs after 1-2 years of work experience? Thanks!

I highly recommend you start in one of those roles or risk management, if you are able to get into an analyst jack of all trades role that is great too. Understanding how the physical works is major major part of this job also having the time to respect and get the business from the ground up will help you so much later on, we are not a fan of hiring whiz kids who want to come and trade financial right away, you will do that in time this business was built on the physical and will continue to be.

Ideally you apply right out of school for the select programs. If not try to apply about 18months into your career since you are green but also have shown maturity to do well in another role. But seriously even up to 5 years experience is fine to apply, physical trading is a marathon not a sprint unlike other products we have no issues with putting someone on the trader path who is coming from another career if its the right person.

High performers always great mobility. Excel at the tasks at hand and there will always be a place for you.

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May 6, 2013
marcellus_wallace:

we are not a fan of hiring whiz kids who want to come and trade financial right away

Why is trading financial associated with being a prodigy?

May 2, 2013

This is great!

What skills do you develop that are applicable to others jobs/industries? What websites can I read to catch up on trends and news, ex. for soft como there's agrimoney?

May 2, 2013
Walkerr:

This is great!

What skills do you develop that are applicable to others jobs/industries? What websites can I read to catch up on trends and news, ex. for soft como there's agrimoney?

Skills. This again sort of depends on you, monty used to explain the various skills you gain and paths people take after which is true to a certain point but you also get really pigeon-holed and learn to click "two buttons" all day real quick long so it is on you to make sure you are developing all the skills you want in your career. The main skill you will gain is the ability to optimize, understand a value things correctly. I have seen people leave the trading side to consult in infrastructure (PE style projects), executive roles at larger firms, CFO of smaller firms, etc..

Websites/Trends...Hmm a lot of this stuff is not free. Economist/Dealbook will have E&P stuff. EIA and rigzone and oil and gas blogs.

May 2, 2013

Really appreciate for this post marcellus.

I know you mentioned the part on "soft skills", but other than that, would you say a certain kind of personality is required for being a physical trader (eg. similar to paper traders who work based on TA)?

Also, for someone straight out of college, how much knowledge about the fundamentals is expected of you? Would just reading the books you mentioned enough?

Thanks alot!

May 2, 2013
Flu0:

Really appreciate for this post marcellus.

I know you mentioned the part on "soft skills", but other than that, would you say a certain kind of personality is required for being a physical trader (eg. similar to paper traders who work based on TA)?

Also, for someone straight out of college, how much knowledge about the fundamentals is expected of you? Would just reading the books you mentioned enough?

Thanks alot!

Skills/Personality. Certain traders use a lot of TA in the physical markets when looking at the macro picture, for instance trading long-dated henry hub futures is a lot more technical at times. Again I will mention being humble and more down-to-earth. It is 2013 for one, and next a lot of people who built this industry came from the ground up (ops/risk/settlments/etc) so while a fixed income desk at a bank would have their ops/mid-office in another building or behind hidden door, the physical world does not do that. Coming in thinking you are the shit and insulting those in other functions will never go over well. Many of your customers are the same. So really be humble see the value there is in everyone's job and play nice you will go further.

Lastly, in options or other instruments. You could be a whiz kid who killed it and come onto a desk and print $$$ and not even know the entire settlement, ops side of things and no would care since it is not your direct job. In the physical world it is totally different there is an expectation that every trader knows from the moment sales does a deal to how it is priced, served, scheduled, invoiced, cash in the door and accounting closes the book. We are dealing with a tangiable thing here you better know how the whole chain, that does not mean you have to be the king/queen of contracts or risk or invoicing but you need to know how to solve the issue at hand and who to talk to. Again that being humble thing comes in hand.

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May 2, 2013

Forgot to add something...i've heard that Dodd Frank only applies to traders in the US, and not to those bsaed out in Asia. Does this happen to be true?

May 2, 2013
Flu0:

Forgot to add something...i've heard that Dodd Frank only applies to traders in the US, and not to those bsaed out in Asia. Does this happen to be true?

I think Asia might be the realm of Asian governments.

All we need to do is show a little class, a little sophistication, and we're in like a dirty shirt.

May 2, 2013
Flu0:

Forgot to add something...i've heard that Dodd Frank only applies to traders in the US, and not to those bsaed out in Asia. Does this happen to be true?

Correct, Dodd-Frank is a US passed legislation would not be applicable unless you are dealing in a product located in the US.

May 2, 2013

..

May 2, 2013

How difficult it is to get into trading with an Economics degree?

I am about to start undergraduate at uni and was wondering that if I would start trading a personal account of mine (fx and options) now and keep on trading till I graduate, would it give me an edge when applying for trading positions in the future?

Also I heard stories that some energy traders bonuses are like half a million in their early years, how possible that is?

Thanks for doing this!

May 2, 2013
thestockwalker:

How difficult it is to get into trading with an Economics degree?

I am about to start undergraduate at uni and was wondering that if I would start trading a personal account of mine (fx and options) now and keep on trading till I graduate, would it give me an edge when applying for trading positions in the future?

Also I heard stories that some energy traders bonuses are like half a million in their early years, how possible that is?

Thanks for doing this!

Very easy, most do business or economics.
For sure experience with risk management helps, we test for that in interviews see how you deal with risk and your views/goals.
Not 2001 or 2008 anymore my friend just say it's not possible. But a decent rule of thumb make the firm 20x your desired bonus. So you do the math.

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May 2, 2013

What is the difference between an utility company trader and a bank trader?
Do you work for an utility company? If so what is your main task, do you still your finance background or do you also need to know a lot about engineering? Are you in a prop position or more in a hedging position? What is the difference between both and what does it take to be a succesfull hedger.

May 2, 2013
klaasv:

What is the difference between an utility company trader and a bank trader?
Do you work for an utility company? If so what is your main task, do you still your finance background or do you also need to know a lot about engineering? Are you in a prop position or more in a hedging position? What is the difference between both and what does it take to be a succesfull hedger.

I can trade, a person at a utility cannot TRADE they optimize and do the best they can to mitigate costs. I have a long ass post somewhere explaining this in depth. In short they cannot trade.

No, I do not. Yes lot's of utility traders have finance backgrounds depends on the firm lots have engineering as well, do you not need the knowledge but it helps.

More hedging, but both. Difference one risks the firms capital on your views, other manages the business the firm does to your ability.

Revsly explained in depth and gave examples of what a good flow trader is and why you want to be one, I cannot add more. Flow trading is the same in my industry as it is in his (FX). Mainly you need to understand customer/money flows, anticipate them, do not run over sales people but also incent them. You get a termendous amount of data by the way your customer reacts to the market.

    • 1
May 2, 2013

How do you keep up with financial markets? WSJ or Financial times?

What kind of blog/commentarys do you read daily/weekly?

Do you utilize any math or programming skills in your job?

May 2, 2013
aspharagus:

How do you keep up with financial markets? WSJ or Financial times?

What kind of blog/commentarys do you read daily/weekly?

Do you utilize any math or programming skills in your job?

Depends. I like WSJ/FT/Bloomberg mag/BigPicture/Hussman/Dealbook/Bank research etc.. I prefer FT to WSJ though. Gartman. Daily always industry specific stuff we have vendors who produce material, platts/pira/woodmac etc..

To be a trader you need to be good at mental math and quick math so yah we use that daily. I know SQL and database artheticture and use that all the time, helps to analyze a shit ton of data much easier, not all traders do but it sure helps.

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May 2, 2013

I do hedging and supply management for a large jobber. Do you think one could transition at some point from my position to a shop?

May 2, 2013
bgibson8708:

I do hedging and supply management for a large jobber. Do you think one could transition at some point from my position to a shop?

For sure, you may need to go through operations or another job first. Depends how active your firm is and how much control you are given. Also not sure what a jobber is.

May 2, 2013

I'm currently a sophomore in a semi target, studying economics.
I have an internship this summer which is not related to trading, but still is related to capital markets.
I'd really appreciate it if you tell me how I should advance to doing something like yourself.
Connection? B school? Trading my own stocks? Learning a new programming language?

^_____^

I'm not concerned with the very poor
-Mitt Romney

May 2, 2013

I'll be interning at a shop (BP/Shell/P66) in Houston this summer. In the past, how have your interns differentiated themselves and directly added value to the firm?

Thanks so much for doing this.

Best Response
May 2, 2013
Alpha-Resistant:

I'll be interning at a shop (BP/Shell/P66) in Houston this summer. In the past, how have your interns differentiated themselves and directly added value to the firm?

Thanks so much for doing this.

Congrats! best of luck. Enjoy the time for sure. Best way to add value is to first sit back and just listen do as told, master any task given and take your time. Then start to approach other parts of the firm and see what they do, go over and ask ops/contracts/risk etc if you could talk to them for 15 minutes.

Once you are 3 weeks in see how the tasks you are doing led to other parts of the firm. You may ask, why other parts of the firm, why not the trade book itself? Simple again I steal from Revsly, explained too well, anything they are going to give you really does not matter at all and really they do not trust you and think you are a retard. So most likely the tasks at hand will be more important to another part of the organization, reconciling P&L --> risk, deal entry/broker check out --> confirms/settlements, daily weather/flow reports --> operations/cash traders. I hope you getting the trend.

After about 6-8 weeks. I would say try to use your new tech ways to best optimize things to make the lives of someone easier in the firm. Be it simple excel macros, better way to get data, better way to organize something. You are coming out of school with fresh eyes and a youtube gen kid you should be able for sure to optimize some oldass cruddy processes and tasks they have.

Being a master of Excel or other tools and making sure every ops/risk/etc person knows who to call when they are stuck with a macro/pivot/VLOOKUP etc sure also helps, you want to be that 9-1-1 call when it comes to easy technical things.

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May 2, 2013

I know you touched on it earlier, but can you further explain what opportunities a role in operations, supporting a BB nat gas/electricity desk, may lead to in the future?

Would you be able to learn a lot about the energy space itself? Or would you be more tied up in the reconciliation aspects of the trades?

Any other information regarding a position like this would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

May 3, 2013

Thanks a lot for your time! Some questions:
I heard some good place to trade physical products is Calgary or Houston.
1) What do you think about Houston? Calgary? -> I am asking because it is easier to get jobs there
2) Does an MBA (GSB/HBS) or Master (Princeton/MIT) useful for an engineer who is in Trading? Or useless for a trader whatever is your background?

Thanks a lot for your answers!

N

May 3, 2013

Does the job involve a lot of travelling ?
I have read the AmIa of a supposedly energy trader at glencore and he said that basically each two weeks he was away for 2 or 3days.
Does it depends on the product you are involved in or maybe the culture of the company ?

May 3, 2013
TheSquale:

Does the job involve a lot of travelling ?
I have read the AmIa of a supposedly energy trader at glencore and he said that basically each two weeks he was away for 2 or 3days.
Does it depends on the product you are involved in or maybe the culture of the company ?

Travel. Depends on a bunch of things. The firm structure, product and how senoir you are. The more senoir and more less transparent a product the more you need to travel to customers and asset sources. In general the sales folks travel a good chunk of their time the trader depends. Products and crude folks travel a bunch as well at times.

Natty/power you more deal with a screen all day no real reason to travel except industry customer events.

    • 1
May 4, 2013
marcellus_wallace:
TheSquale:

Does the job involve a lot of travelling ?
I have read the AmIa of a supposedly energy trader at glencore and he said that basically each two weeks he was away for 2 or 3days.
Does it depends on the product you are involved in or maybe the culture of the company ?

Travel. Depends on a bunch of things. The firm structure, product and how senoir you are. The more senoir and more less transparent a product the more you need to travel to customers and asset sources. In general the sales folks travel a good chunk of their time the trader depends. Products and crude folks travel a bunch as well at times.

Natty/power you more deal with a screen all day no real reason to travel except industry customer events.

Thanks again marcellus_wallace.
After reading a lot on the subject I have trouble thinking that Marc Rich was solely a trader. I mean he was travelling all over the world making deals with so many counterparties, trying to understand what they were looking for and provide them with innovative solutions. It seems to me that he was more like an hybrid role between origination and trading than pure trading.
I ask this question because this is the kind of job that I would like to do and ultimately I'm not sure if I'm more inclined toward trading or origination. If I want to work in a physical shop and not in a bank/HF this is because I find the part about making deals with counterparties and travelling all over the world more attractive.

May 3, 2013

Thanks for doing this!

Im currently studying an energy trading focused masters course and really want to get into the industry.

I have a question about the CV and cover letter. What are some of the attributes companies in the industry are looking for? Same as sales and trading in a bank? Numerical, good communication skills, analytical etc?

Also,I have done internships in operations (in a bank) and investment banking. Could you give me any tips on how to spin this experience into something that energy trading companies would appreciate?

Thanks for the help!

May 3, 2013

Thanks for doing this.

May 3, 2013

Hi thanks for your responses. Do you think it is more difficult for women to break into energy trading? Is there a certain personality/fit that goes with someone who trades physical vs at a bank?

Dec 14, 2013

i think it would be easier to break in as a woman given that the industry is heavily dominated by males, what company doesnt want to promote their "diversity". not sure what your second question means, banks trade both physical and financial.

May 5, 2013

Hello,

Just wanted to ask how long it usually takes to become a day-ahead trader from real-time trading.

May 5, 2013

.

May 7, 2013

How did your economics degree help in your current job and are there many traders like you who are holding an economics degree?

May 8, 2013

Which do you think is harder to learn; physical trading or financial trading?

Dec 14, 2013

financial trading. without the physical market, there is no financial market, ipso facto to be a good financial trader you have to understand the physical market extremely well.

May 8, 2013

Thanks for doing this!

May 20, 2013

How hard is it to transfer from a prop shop to an utility or energy trading firm?

Dec 14, 2013

most people progress in the opposite direction. utilities and then to a prop shop. serving native load is not difficult once you get the hang of things. prop shops care about one thing and one thing only, pnl.

May 21, 2013

marcellus_wallace, thank you for all this. My question is - can you give us an example of a decent trade you have made recently and run us through everything you did, everything you considered. Thank you.

Jun 11, 2013

Having to choose one from Credit Risk, Trade Finance, and Treasury, which do you think would be most useful/helpful to be in to learn the rope of the industry and company. This is with reference to trading houses; thanks in advance!

Jun 11, 2013
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