Being a soon to graduate student you have already been looking into various possibilities to pursue your first job as a trader. You’ve come across Flow Traders, Optiver, Da Vinci, Better Options, Accent Circonflexe Groupe, perhaps other firms. Why would any of these hire you, do you have what it takes to be a good stocktrader? Defining a typical trader with his background, education, hobbies and interests, is very hard, although there are some obvious similarities between them. Almost all traders have had an academic education. Nevertheless, a strong personality is more important than a ‘cum laude’ degree. Besides this, there is always a passion for the business and an urge to win ‘the game’ . Additionally, the willingness to learn from your mistakes is a very important trait. Finally, a high level of discipline is something all traders must have. As a trader, you enjoy a very large individual freedom, as you have the complete responsibility for your own positions and decisions. You discuss issues with colleagues, but in the end, you have to make your own decision and take a position depending on your own ideas. Such an idea can deal with the direction of the complete market, but it can also be an opinion about a specific stock. You also have the responsibility for the interpretation of news and announcements of a company. What is the news actually saying? Will investors really trust this information and act upon it? Your opinion can then lead to new prices which you can see on your trading screens together with the rest of the financial world. In the end, sometimes you can enjoy the fact that your opinion turned out to be right, which will then be translated in a nice profit. Any way, you, and the rest of the world, will see your opinion reflected in a new stock price in the orderbooks and on the tickertapes.
Where are you from?

What is the general preoccupation of a securities trader?
There is no standard path to becoming a day trader. Personally, I successfully studied International Finance and got my master’s degree in Australia. This study deals with many aspects regarding securities, options, investment strategies and risk management. During my studies I also experimented a little with investing. Since April 2005 I have been working as a securities trader with Accent.

Could you describe your average day at work?
In the morning I take the train to Utrecht. I have a cup of coffee and read the news. I arrive at the office around 8.15 AM and start preparing for the day to come. I have a chat with my colleagues, check my mailbox and try to gather as much information as possible from various sources such as Bloomberg and Thomson. From 9.00 AM till 17.30 PM, the exchanges are opened and I trade. On quite moments I tend to have a walk outside.

What is you favourite stock and why?
I do not have a specific favourite amongst the stocks I trade. The advantage we have at Accent is that we are allowed to trade any stock we like. This means I trade the stocks in which there is news or a high volume.

What is on your mind when you do you first trade of the day?
At 9.00 AM you do have some adrenaline running through your body, as a lot of the action often happens at the opening. If you get the first movements right, you do get a kick out of that. Apart from that, I do not have that much on my mind while trading.

What are important properties of a securities trader?
  • Initiative
  • Patience
  • Guts
  • Being able and dare to quickly take a decision

How do you deal with profits and losses?
I always want to win, but there are obviously days on which you lose. That is relevant in thisoccupation. It is best to trade without any emotions, which is not always easy. I think that people that deal the best with their emotions obtain the best results in the long term.

How is the atmosphere at Accent?
Fantastic! Trading comes along with various emotions which means that there is a lot of laughing and swearing going on. Every day is different.

Can you give a starting securities trader an good advice?
Show guts and initiative. You have to master everything yourself. You can read the best books around, but that will not be sufficient to become a good trader. Just do it!