Ready, Set, Trade! – Alice Gipps
During our third week of training on the graduate scheme we had a lunch scheduled without any indication about what the event would involve. All the graduates were discussing what the event would comprise and we were placing bets amongst ourselves as to what it would be. I picked up on a subtle hint that was given and managed to guess correctly, we were to begin the trading simulation!
The trading simulation would take place for a month, where we would be able to buy and sell futures linked to real market prices. We were split into three teams, so not only would we be responsible for our individual profit and loss, we were also responsible for the performance of our team and the organisation overall.
The next day, the simulation began. In total we could trade 25 different future contracts. I started to read the information about the futures that sounded familiar; gold, silver, WTI and currencies to name a few. Over the next week I bought and sold futures, and with every trade I felt that I was gaining a better understanding of why I was performing each trade. We would share tips and strategies with each other in the class. For instance Andrew, an analyst who works for the credit sales group in New York, taught me how to calculate stop loss levels based on the maximum amount of money that I was willing to lose on the trade.
Over the month there were many major news items; wheat hit 7 year lows, uncertainty over the Fed’s interest rate trajectory caused global stocks to suffer their sharpest decline since the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, the ECB’s unchanged stimulus strategy sharply pushed bond yields up and the BOE, BoJ and the Fed all announced that they would keep interest rates unchanged. As each day commenced I spent additional time reading different news sources in order to gain a deeper understanding of the markets that I was trading in. I found it important to always have a view, and that preparation in advance is crucial to ensure that you are fully prepared for all possible outcomes from major announcements.
Overall, I finished with a profit of £1,313,657 and completed 98 trades. However, what I really gained from the experience was a deeper understanding and knowledge about the markets. All the graduates learnt how valuable it was to share trading ideas, with the more experienced teaching the beginners key tips and facts. The trading simulation was a great taster of what it is like to trade in the real markets; I would strongly recommend this experience to anyone!