Trading can be a rollercoaster ride of sorts – sometimes one is up and sometimes one is down.
One day a trader can be up on his P&L, the next he’s sweating the next strategy meeting.
All in a day’s work. And its that excitement that fuels many traders – the thrill of beating the market more than losing and going home with that knowledge. And for Ed Nebens, the 2020 Markets Media Market Choice Award winner for Excellence in Trading, this analogy of a rollercoaster ride is spot on. Nebens spoke with Traders Magazine after his win and discussed his trading career and its ups and downs.
Traders Magazine: Can you tell us a bit about your career in trading?
Ed Nebens: My career has certainly been a roller coaster, one of my friends says I am like that Chumbawamba song; “I get knocked down, but I get up again” as I have been through so many mergers and fund closings but seem to find a way to bounce back. Having a family that relies on you has given me a “failure is not an option” mentality. I was at Morgan Stanley when they merged with Dean Witter, Bankers Trust when the merged with Deutsche Asset and Scudder, Warburg Pincus when they merged with Credit Suisse and had three funds close on me; Orchard Capital, Cantillon (closed their hedge funds) and Gratia closed soon after my departure. The dark side was many weeks/months of uncertainty in the job hunt and massive stress but the silver lining is I was able to do something different at each job and became an expert in multiple OMS platforms, multiple products and investment strategies. Tough to become an expert in all these things without being a bit of a journeyman.
TM: How has it been trading from home amid the current COVID-19 pandemic?
Nebens: I tried to work from home in the beginning but the technology was just not fast or reliable enough during the massive volatility we saw during the early stages of the pandemic. So, my junior trader and I decided to come into the office while the other approximately 85 people worked at home. We are keeping 6 feet apart and it works best during these unprecedented times. The other two members of my team are at home and we have open lines of communication via Bloomberg chat and Microsoft Teams.
TM: Do you miss the human element of trading – being on the trading desk with your colleagues? Or is being more isolated better for your concentration and workflow?
Nebens: I have spent a good portion of my career trading European hours on the East Coast (2am to 12pm) so I am used to working alone but it is certainly comforting having another team member with me so we can discuss the work flow, markets, current events and have lunch together. I have lived through the Mexican Crisis, Russian Crisis, Tech Bubble and the Great Recession but this pandemic is a certainly a different type of Black Swan event that has us all very nervous and it is helpful to have team members around you during crisis.