“Where is Beeks?” is a side-hustle by Tony Greer and Kevin Muir, two over-the-hill traders, who too often found themselves living the life of a clichéd Bruce Springsteen song, reminiscing about trading tales, and longing for a spot to share them.
Tony is the author of TG Macro, a daily macro newsletter that is read by many of Wall Street’s top traders and portfolio managers.
Kevin is the author of The MacroTourist, an almost-daily letter that offers a light-hearted read of some of the more boring aspects of macro trading.
A note from Tony
After graduating from Cornell University in 1990 I followed my father’s footsteps to a Wall Street trading operation. I quickly learned my career path would be vastly different than his. I would not be sitting in the same seat on the same trading desk managing the same risk for the same firm for over 30 years.
I began in the treasury department of Sumitomo Bank on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center downtown Manhattan. I was an FX trading assistant while the Quantum Fund was breaking the Bank of England in 1992. I was fascinated with Market Wizards and the Masters of the Universe in Bonfire of the Vanities and I promised myself I would spend the rest of my life trading to build my own fortune.
In 1993 I joined Union Bank of Switzerland as an FX and commodities trader, spending half a year as a Vice President in their Zurich treasury department. I returned to New York City early in 1995 to join J. Aron & Company, the privately held commodity trading arm of Goldman Sachs. That’s where I developed an entirely new level of market rigor.
I managed risk for the Goldman Sachs Commodities Index, in precious and base metals trading, and in futures and options trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. I learned everything I know about trading from an astute set of colleagues that are a part of my network to this day. I wish I had the space to tell you about the day I traded over 30,000 gold futures contracts but you will hear about that in the newsletter.
I left my commodity trading seat at Goldman Sachs early in 2000 to start my first venture – Machine Trading. I couldn’t wait to sit down at a computer and trade the technology stocks I thought I had mastered. I made that move right before the tech bubble burst and the commodity super-cycle began. That decision was my first excruciating life lesson in market timing. It turned out to be an extremely valuable learning experience on my professional journey.
From that proprietary trading firm, to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, to a short list of broker dealers – my career path over the next fifteen years morphed into an extended session of pickup basketball. The only constant as I switched jerseys and trading desks was my rigorous method of journaling global markets and surviving by the Golden Rule: in markets and in trading – consistency is a moving target.
It was no great surprise when I dropped out of University to pursue my dream of becoming a floor trader in Chicago. From the time I was a little boy, I had loved games. Pursuing the greatest game out there was something I was born to do.
The trouble was, I didn’t really enjoy pit life, so I headed back to Toronto where I worked on getting a job on an institutional trading desk.
Armed with nothing but my love of trading and a deep passion for markets, I sent my resume to the five best trading desks, and crossed my fingers. As my boss (who is now one of my close friends) likes to say, “there were plenty of guys who had more trading experience, and even more with better computer skills, but you were the only one who had a decent blend of both.” I was fortunate to get a job on the institutional equity desk at RBC Dominion Securities in the heydey of computerized trading.
Some of us were lucky enough to be born smart while others are smart enough to be born lucky. I definitely consider myself in the latter camp.
I sat on one of the most dynamic desks during an extraordinary time in the markets – the late 1990s. It was a terrific firm that allowed a young buck with plenty of ambition to rise, and before long, I was trading the proprietary index account for the bank.
Then in 1999 my wife gave birth to our first child. She was born with a heart defect that was thankfully corrected by the wonderful doctors at Toronto Sick Kids Hospital, but it was my own near-death moment where I questioned what was really important in life.
The bank I was working for had become more of a… bank, and it was no longer as much fun as was when I had started.
So I quit. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, I just knew life was too short to not do what I loved. I decided to try trading for myself, figuring I could always go work for a hedge fund in a year or two if it didn’t work out.
Well, the year quickly become two, and then three, and before I knew it, I had worked for myself for 17 years. Along the way, I started writing The MacroTourist letter. At first, it was meant for friends and acquaintances. But I quickly realized I really enjoyed putting my thoughts down on paper for everyone to read.
I had always said that when my kids went to University, I would go back to work. Well, my oldest child went off to school last year, and this winter I joined a colleague at his boutique investment firm.
That’s it. Not much else to tell except that my parents would be horrified to see that I was leading everyone to believe I didn’t get my Univerity degree. As a parent with one college-age child (and two more nipping at her heels), I sympathize. So in the interest of full disclosure, I did get my degree while I was working at the bank. I didn’t do that well as I was too busy tossing around millions of dollars of TSX index products to focus on my night classes, but the diploma does hang on my wall. But I wouldn’t trade it for a moment for all the experiences that I have learned from the school of hard-knocks that the markets serve up to us all…