Anxiety, adrenaline and automation

I am delighted to introduce a guest blog by Kevin Rodgers, formerly global head of foreign exchange at Deutsche Bank, with an impressive career in trading. Kevin is also the author of a great new book which charts the major changes in investment banking ‘Why aren’t they shouting?’, not to mention a pretty good opera singer.

Mark Fenton-O’Creevy

kevinRodgersMy first anxiety dreams came to me within a couple of weeks of starting my career on a trading floor and were about an almost laughably trivial worry – whether I could operate the bank’s pricing software. It was 1990, I was at Merrill Lynch and, fresh out of business school, my job as a junior options trader in the bank’s Foreign Exchange (FX) trading team meant making prices using a tool called FENICS. Replete with knowledge gleaned from business school finance classes, I understood what I was doing but the physical task of typing in the pricing parameters was rather tricky: I was often doing so one-handed (while cradling a phone with the other), and always under time pressure in a ringing cacophony of noise. My dreams took an increasingly familiar pattern: I had an important price to make; the market was moving but I simply couldn’t type the numbers into the right places on the screen; the client’s sales contact was shouting at me to hurry up with increasing urgency and volume. Then I’d wake up with a sudden start in the darkness. Continue reading “Anxiety, adrenaline and automation”