It was 1988. I was faced with a difficult situation in a short trade against the British pound…
I didn’t know how far the pound might drop that day, but I only had a few days for the trade to work out. I needed to buy 2 billion pounds, fast, to hedge up my short-dated puts and lock in my profits.
I was thinking about how hard it might be to find enough liquidity in a wild market, when the pound started dropping quickly.
As if on cue, the chief dealer called over to me.
“Andy, do you have any interest in quoting a large customer on 2 billion pounds in the spot market?” he asked.
I thought he was joking. I’d been trying to figure out how to buy that huge amount, and now we had a customer who needed a price on it.
“Jack, are you serious?” I asked. “I’m not even a spot dealer.”
Jack glared at me. “Do you think I would joke about something like that?”
The pound was tumbling lower. I agreed to show the customer a bid for the full amount.
Jack looked shocked that I had such a huge interest, but he was pleased.
We had a major client out of Asia who was well known to have gigantic interests from time to time, so I knew the client’s interest was real. I was just hoping he was a seller. And he was…
The customer filled my interest to buy 2 billion pounds on one deal – a $3.7 billion spot transaction. That meant a $50 million profit for me in just a couple of hours.
I sat there quietly mulling over the strange series of events that led to this. Before I knew it, I’d been involved in perhaps the largest single spot deal ever.
But I’m not writing to you today to relive that victory. I’m here to tell you that trades like that – when everything in the universe aligns perfectly – don’t come around often.
I’ve had many trades when everything imaginable goes wrong.
I’ve had phone systems crash right as I was about to take profits… and then stay non-functional until the market had moved wildly against me.
I’ve had normally reliable employees execute massive deals backwards, costing me millions of dollars.
Rumors about presidential assassinations have come out precisely when I was trying to sell dollars, sabotaging my efforts and costing me a lot of money.
Yes, when things are going wrong, even the best positions can turn into losses.
I remember hundreds and hundreds of losing trades when it felt like the gods of trading were conspiring to slap me in the face to keep my perspective on things, and more importantly, to keep my ego in check.
That’s how I learned the one key rule to trading successfully… Always remember that having losing trades is a crucial part of the process of winning.
It would be so much more fun if we didn’t get slapped by the universe with bad luck… but that’s part of the process. And just as often, the universe will send some good luck our way, too.
Rational traders accept failures as learning experiences. It encourages us to treat victory and defeat the same way: by sticking to our principles and doing our best at all times.
Editor, Money Trends
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