In an exclusive interview with Anton Kreil, a former Goldman Sachs trader, we delve into the intricacies of trading, the financial markets, and career progression. Conducted at Cass Business School, the interview offers a candid look into Kreil’s journey from trading as a teenager to working at some of the world’s most prestigious financial institutions. This article aims to distill key takeaways and lessons from Kreil’s insights, providing a comprehensive yet concise analysis for those interested in trading and finance.
5 Key Takeaways
- Start Early, Learn Fast: Kreil began trading at the age of 16, gaining invaluable experience that set him apart in the competitive job market.
- Real Money, Real Lessons: Trading with real money is essential for learning the ropes and understanding market dynamics.
- Volatility is a Trader’s Friend: Volatility creates opportunities, and understanding how to navigate it is crucial for success.
- Institutional Trading vs Retail Trading: The approach to trading varies significantly between investment banks and individual retail traders.
- Differentiating Yourself: In a saturated job market, having a unique skill set or experience, such as a proven trading track record, can make all the difference.
The Genesis of a Trader
Anton Kreil‘s journey into the world of trading began at the age of 16. Inspired by documentaries about Thatcher’s Britain and the financial markets, he opened a trading account with a local stockbroker. He emphasized the importance of starting early and learning fast, especially through real-money trading. This early experience was instrumental in landing him a job at Goldman Sachs.
Real Money, Real Lessons
Kreil strongly advocates for trading with real money. He argues that even if you lose money, the experience gained is invaluable. This hands-on approach provides a real understanding of market dynamics, risk management, and trading psychology. It’s a perspective that resonates with the ethos of “you’re not trading until you’ve got a position.”
The Volatility Factor
Volatility is often viewed as a risk, but for traders, it’s an opportunity. Kreil points out that traders live and die on volatility. He mentions that the forex market, for instance, has been experiencing low volatility, making it challenging for day traders to make significant profits. Understanding how to navigate volatility is crucial for any trader.
The Institutional Angle
Kreil’s experience at Goldman Sachs was a transformative one. He highlights the difference between institutional and retail trading, stating that the approach to trading in investment banks is vastly different from that of individual retail traders. He also mentions that while formal training programs exist, the real learning happens on the trading floor.
Standing Out in a Crowded Market
In today’s competitive job market, differentiating yourself is more important than ever. Kreil suggests that having a proven track record in trading can make you stand out. He notes that everyone has an undergraduate degree and a master’s, but few can demonstrate real-world trading experience.
- Practical Experience Trumps Theoretical Knowledge: Trading with real money provides insights that no amount of theoretical learning can offer.
- Adapt to Market Conditions: Understanding volatility and market dynamics is key to adapting your trading strategies.
- Networking and Mentorship: Learning from those already in the industry can accelerate your career progression.
Anton Kreil‘s journey offers invaluable lessons for aspiring traders and financial professionals. His emphasis on early exposure, real-money trading, and understanding volatility provides a pragmatic roadmap for anyone looking to break into the industry. In a world where academic qualifications are increasingly common, Kreil’s insights underscore the importance of hands-on experience and the ability to adapt to ever-changing market conditions.
Note: This article is based on an interview with Anton Kreil, conducted at Cass Business School. The original video can be found here.