Next time you see a middle aged man hanging around a children’s play area at lunchtime, fret not: he’s probably just a systematic trader who’s enjoying life.
While some trading professionals certainly spend 15 hours a day watching screens and wake up in the night to check their positions, others are finding that algorithms have liberated them to do other things instead.
“I don’t spend any time trading manually or reading news now,” one Swiss-based FX and futures trader who works for a multi-family office tells us. “I spend most of my time on research, coding and observing the algos,” speaking on condition of anonymity.
Did trading manually used to be a lot more time consuming? “Hell yes,” he says. “It was a lot more time consuming and a lot more stressful.”
Now that the trader in question isn’t tied to his screens, he’s taken to boasting about playing football with his son and hanging out with his family. “The computer has taken over part of the the trading, so I have much freedom – I don’t have to sit in front of the screen all day,” he says.
This doesn’t mean he’s free to do nothing: “It’s still a job, which I take very seriously. I trade many different algorithms and strategies and spread my risk across different underlying trends and time-frames to give me optimal diversification. But I’m more flexible than ever and can spend time with my wife and son if I want to.”