Successful traders tend to have very particular personalities.
Good ones are compulsive, methodical, intelligent contrarians. Being a
great trader, though, that requires you to leave your heart and
compassion at home, so says former hedge fund trader Turney Duff.
In an op-ed for CNBC,
Duff opines on the learned ability of taking emotion out of trading –
way, way, way out of it. To the point that you equate catastrophe with
Duff, who lost his millions to drugs and bad investments, details his
maturation, if you will, as a trader. In 1999, he was appalled as
colleagues digested the news of the Columbine High School massacre by
immediately jumping into a discussion on whether they should go long or
short on gun stocks.
A half-decade later, as he became a more seasoned trader, Duff
focused every minute of every day looking at ways to unlock
opportunities in the market as fear of the SARS virus overtook Asia.
“And by being in front of SARS; we got off to a great start and a very profitable year at Argus Partners,” he wrote for CNBC.
Y2K, Hurricane Katrina, the Boston Marathon bombing – they were all
opportunities for traders, he says. Duff recalls one unbelievable
anecdote where a friend was in Tower 7 when the second plane hit during
9/11. As he ended his phone call to evacuate, his hedge fund client on
the other line yelled: “buy oil!” according to Duff.
Emotion, it seems, has no place anywhere near the trading floor.