My Experience at Trillium Trading - 1st Year NYC

In an effort to describe my experience working at Trillium Trading - 1 year in -- I hope to explain starting out, the first few months, and how everything has progressed to date.

I truly believe working at Trillium provides a very unique experience. After a short 1-week training course to learn our trading software, you are given a large amount of responsibility. The firm provides more than enough capital for you to start trading, and you are assigned a mentor. This mentor sits right next to you, and as a rookie, your goal is to learn exactly how they are able to make money - (so you can teach yourself). That being said, your mentor also is incentivized to help you learn. They will receive a % of profits you earn over your career and also incur a % of your losses if you are unable to start making money. I think this aspect was my #1 reason why I decided to join Trillium. After reading countless books about trading it was clear to me that I needed two things. #1 not trading with my own money, and #2 having a mentor.

Almost the first day you are assigned a mentor – you will be allowed to make real trades. I remember the feeling like it was yesterday…. having no fucking clue what I was doing, but I could instantly tell I loved sitting on the trading desk. I pretty much had the freedom to buy or sell almost any US equity. No politics, ass kissing, or staying later than other rookies in the office would help me progress faster. The only thing that mattered was my PnL and working hard. In my opinion, Trillium, (and trading in general) is one of the purest forms of a meritocracy you can find. I have been trading for almost a year now, and absolutely love what I do – which has helped me learn faster/motivates me to put in extra work.

I will say that you have to know for sure you want to be a trader in order to really give it a try. You have to be willing to give it 150%. A lot of those who decide to try to make a career of trading and end up getting hired aren't here after the first year or so. Its not because they got fired, it's because they simply gave up – or decided to try something more conservative with their life.

For the most part, you are pretty much expected to not make any money at least your first 6 months. This means you are almost guaranteed to lose money day after day, which can be very discouraging. One of the two things that make this more bearable is realizing that almost every other rookie is performing the same, and actually seeing other established traders make good money around you. The reason you have leeway, and a good size amount you will be allowed to lose is because the learning curve has become extremely steep in recent years. One of the reasons the learning curve becomes more difficult is due to changing market conditions. For the most part, Trillium thrives in volatile markets. We want more opportunities every day – and volatility brings it. However, this long raging bull market isn't an optimal time to quickly learn and see a trade hundreds of times. For example, in a volatile market you may see one type of trade six times in a day. In a slow bull market you may see that very same trade once in a month.

That being said, starting at Trillium is a serious grind and you need at least a year's living expenses set-aside before being able to consider it. Luckily we have it pretty good because we actually get a small salary, which covers my rent. It's all about getting over the learning curve and then it can become very lucrative in the long run. After having about six straight negative months, I finally learned how to stop the bleeding. Once you find a way to start being consistent and spend hundreds of hours studying/learning your mistakes – you will finally see a light at the end of the tunnel (and make money).

Even though I still have a long way to go, I would say I am near the top of my class PnL (and working hard) wise. If you really want to become a trader – and have at least a year's rent money/living expenses set aside, there are few better places worth starting your career than Trillium.

Comments (15)

 
Aug 13, 2014 - 10:52pm

So...you've been working at Trillium, provide their software and in the process of learning it too?

You are writing from both from the perspective of the firm and the rookie trader - I'm a bit confused.

-
 
Aug 15, 2014 - 2:57am

What's the payout? Any base/draw?

I would... but the truth is I can't sell my soul to myself... http://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/blackknight.asp
 
Aug 16, 2014 - 3:43pm

So...what do you trade? Straight equities only? Long/short? What kind of strategy do you use?

"When you stop striving for perfection, you might as well be dead."
 
Aug 17, 2014 - 1:29pm

What software are you guys using for trading?

CNBC sucks

"This financial crisis is worse than a divorce. I've lost all my money, but the wife is still here." - Client after getting blown up

 
Aug 19, 2014 - 4:46pm

People on this board have no idea what the helll a day trading prop shop is and how they operate.

I interned at one that everyone would probably recognize the name of. I got a lot more out of it than some people and I even got paid to be there. These aren't your quant prop firms that the media talks about. These are firms full of folks who provide ~$5k in capital, the firm levers them up, and they pay out the butt in comms. Many folks don't last as it's become harder to day-trade these markets. There was a time 10+ years ago when 6 digit monthly PERSONAL PnL's were the norm. Got to spend a lot of time w/ one trader who made $5MM+ during the '08 phase.

It's just a whole different environment when compared to working for a bank. Think it's risking working for a BB when things get rough? Don't even think about discretionary prop trading. Anyone can start if they have a few extra grand and can afford to not get paid for a while (or not at all). Very few make it and I'd argue that time is better well spent trying to get a high-paid gig at a fund than to try a few years at a prop shop. The skills you gain from day-trading, whether it's equities, FX, futures (options help), aren't easily transferable to another gig.

 
Oct 14, 2014 - 7:51pm

HFer_wannabe:

People on this board have no idea what the helll a day trading prop shop is and how they operate.

I interned at one that everyone would probably recognize the name of. I got a lot more out of it than some people and I even got paid to be there. These aren't your quant prop firms that the media talks about. These are firms full of folks who provide ~$5k in capital, the firm levers them up, and they pay out the butt in comms. Many folks don't last as it's become harder to day-trade these markets. There was a time 10+ years ago when 6 digit monthly PERSONAL PnL's were the norm. Got to spend a lot of time w/ one trader who made $5MM+ during the '08 phase.

It's just a whole different environment when compared to working for a bank. Think it's risking working for a BB when things get rough? Don't even think about discretionary prop trading. Anyone can start if they have a few extra grand and can afford to not get paid for a while (or not at all). Very few make it and I'd argue that time is better well spent trying to get a high-paid gig at a fund than to try a few years at a prop shop. The skills you gain from day-trading, whether it's equities, FX, futures (options help), aren't easily transferable to another gig.


Completely agreed if you're paying capital, but there's a decent amount of prop shops that will give 5mn box and let you keep 50%. The latter places are legit and similar to SAC in its early days.
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