WALL STREET WAR STORIES: A CAREER CHANGE AND A JOB HUNT

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job hunting
job hunting

True story: Our largest account on the desk was the big long/short book BofA desk in New York. I cannot mention the name, but the head of  BofA was introduced to me by Steve Lau, former head of program trading at UBS. After Steve left UBS he ended up at BofA in Los Angeles. That was where all the trading was supposed to be done, but after a year or so Lau left and went to BMO (good for us). In the middle of all that we ended up with all the BofA business. It was a great account until the credit crisis and the sale to Merrill Lynch. This is just the beginning ...

  A lot of people have lost a lot of jobs in our industry over the last 5+ years and they still are today. Yes, the S&P is trading on new highs, but that has not done much for traders on Wall Street and elsewhere. The economic shrinkdown and new regulation continue to pull down our business. As I have said many times, there was a big party on Wall Street, the problem is we were not invited but we are still paying the bill.    After Lau left BofA the guy that took over the desk was Raj Malhotra. Raj was an amazing trader and one of his first jobs in the industry was running the BNP desk. When he took over the BofA desk I knew I had a “live wire” trader on the other end of the phone. If the S&Ps were up and his book was short he would depend on me for when he could sell more. If the desk book was long and the S&P futures were down, he would rely on me for telling him when we were bottoming so he could buy more. We had seen a lot of traders, but Raj took on the risk side of the long/short book and played it like a fiddle. Yes, he had his bad days, but overall his book was a big winner and when Merrill came into the picture he threw in the towel. He called me and said, “Danny, I’m done. I have no interest in Merrill Lynch.”  Over the next few months they merged Raj’s winning book into Merrill’s big losing book. I remember going out with Raj in New York and how we drank and partied all night. You could see that he was upset but he didn't show it. He had made a lot of money and like many traders during that time he set out to set up a new desk. Eventually he landed a deal at Nomura where he got back to doing what he did best, trading. After a year and a half I got another call from Raj -- he was quitting. He said, “Danny, I can't take it, when I am making money they want me to trade more and when I am losing they say I am trading too large.” He also said the bank was hiring a few new guys but he had decided with everything that had happened during the credit crisis and the new regulations that he wanted out. He was a trader, not a meetings guy. After he left I got a call that Raj had changed his name to Raj Mahal and become one of New York’s best stand-up comicshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imqq_pfXdYE . Yep, Raj, the best trader on Wall Street, took a hike to make jokes about the very business he loved and stood for. I may not have all the times and angles exactly correct but the story is true.   Losing jobs: While Raj had the luxury of being able to walk away, many of us can't. It’s all we know and it’s all we do. Our desk is still doing OK but the $1.8mil we lost in the flash crash has put the hurt on us, but we are fighting to stay in the game as are a lot of other folks. Does it scare me? Yeah, it does, but like anything in my life I continue to have a forward looking view. I have too. I have a wife and a daughter to look after and I didn't work 35 years to fail. But this story is not about me and it’s really not about Raj, it’s about all those people that lost their jobs and can't find another. This story is about my friend Roger Volz, one of New York’s premier market researchers. After working at SASI (Swiss American Securities trading unit for CS Private Bank) for 11 years, Roger was with Cantor/BGC for the last 4 years. Roger was let go a few weeks ago. If you're asking why I care, it’s because I care about everyone who has been affected by the credit crisis, especially those I am close to. My dad was like this too. If he could help someone he did, even a competitor.   So what is this about? It’s about Roger and helping get the word out about a very talented Wall Street researcher looking for work. I know MrTopStep’s reach only goes so far, but it’s big enough to help get the word out about a guy who has committed himself to both our industry and his research, a guy who has always done people right and worked hard to get where he is. Below is Roger’s resume. I put the whole document up for your review and I put it in a PDF if anyone wants to send it on.    I’ll leave it at that, but I have one last thing to say: BGC is the one that loses in this deal. ...  https://www.mr-topstep.com/images/pdf/RogerVolzResume2013.pdf     Danny Riley is a 34-year veteran of the trading floor. He has helped run one of the largest S&P desks on the floor of the CME Group since 1985.    Our view:  The American Air / US Air headline should be enough to push the ESH into new highs today. There are all sorts of buy stops that start from 1509.60 up to 1516.00. Will they go straight up? Probably not, but we do think they are going up. Our view is the same as yesterday; you can sell the midmorning rally and then buy weakness or just buy it when it pulls back. As always, keep an eye on the 10 handle rule and please use stops..  

  • It’s 7:15 a.m. and the ESH is trading 1507.50, up three ticks; crude is up 26 cents at 96.88; and the euro is up 28 pips at 1.3557.
  • In Asia, 7 out of 11 markets closed lower (Shanghai Comp. -0.66%, Hang Seng -0.34%).
  • In Europe, 6 out of 11 markets quoted are trading lower (CAC +0.33%, DAX +0.45%).
  • Today’s headline: “S&P Futures Higher off American Airlines and US Airways Group Deal” 
  • Total volume: 1.73mil ESH and 9k SPH traded
  • Fair value: S&P -.52, NASDAQ -3.55
  • Economic calendar: Chain store sales, Charles Evans speaks, jobless claims, productivity and costs, Jeremy Stine speaks, EIA nat gas numbers, consumer credit, Fed balance sheet and money supply.

Mr Top Step Closing Print video: https://mr-topstep.com/index.php/multimedia/video/latest/closing-print-2-6-2013   _____________________________________________________ Follow us on Twitter @MrTopStep http://twitter.com/mrtopstep  Sign up for our free mailing list at http://mrtopstep.com/ for full report. DISCLAIMER: The information and data in the following report(s) were obtained from sources considered reliable. Opinions, market data, and recommendations are subject to change at any time. Their accuracy or completeness is not guaranteed and the giving of the same is not to be deemed as an offer or solicitation on our part with respect to the sale or purchase of any commodities or securities. MrTopStep, its officers, directors and its contributors may, in the normal course of business, have position(s) which may or may not agree with the opinions expressed in this report.