London Trading Floor Stories: The Profile Engineer

Trading Floor

Trading Floor Stories

This series of trading floor stories will explore some of the core practices, routines, and trading frameworks of our AXIA Elite Traders. In the first installment, we explore one of our most diligent practitioners of what it means to journal trade ideas and why he does it. He is the Profile Engineer.

Decades before Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert’s witty and wise observation that “human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished,” The Profile Engineer is the antithesis to this idea as his core belief framework subscribes to the notion that he needs to constantly evolve with the shifting landscape of market opportunity whilst carving his own unique personality on the trading floor.

The Profile Engineer has been slowly fermenting his process over the past 6 years on the London trading floor into a brew that has refined itself into a classic vintage that will be recognised for all its delicate but purposeful acts of trading and its process re-engineering of a world-class nature. A constant grafter at his art and yes his trading is his art and his purpose is to constantly seek the masterpiece in his trading which he knows is a constant journey and piecemeal adaptive process.

Perhaps his greatest strength, that separates him on the trading floor, is his constant pursuit of understanding how we learn, how we make decisions, and how we evolve during the cycles of understanding ourselves emotionally whilst grasping the patterns of the market.

One of his other powerful traits which dovetails perfectly into the trader development process is his “depth of field” and seeing the long game like a Conifer tree forgoes competing for immediate gain and gratification against the angiosperms for sunlight territory. The Conifer slowly sacrifices short term gains whilst assembling its natural assets before it hits an explosive growth rate later down its development cycle and then becomes the true outstanding feature of the natural world. What all our new traders can learn from the Profile Engineer is that whatever you practising today is sewing the fruits for tomorrow.

Sequoia Tree starts slowly assembling its assets before explosive late growth much
like traders should see the growth cycle of their personal careers

Developing Outside The Trading Floor Environment

A prolific reader on wide-ranging subjects which he sees helps him grasping reality and expanding his mental models to encapsulate the wide spectrum of market opportunities with high levels of understanding but more importantly to generate a more creative approach to his market understanding. He is a pioneer in the team among many of his trading floor colleagues in leading the way to how we record patterns and most importantly how we recognise them in their reoccurrence in real-time and how to structure plays by leveraging his ideas when the auctioning nature of the market coincides with his technical plan. He is a large proponent of the Market profile and using the price ladder as confirmation to initiate his technical zones of conviction. A momentum seeker by profession but is equally adept at aggressively positioning in counter-trend flows after extreme exhaustion events. He has built himself up to trading significant size in Bunds, Emini-SP, and Crude Oil. His daily swings can be anything between 6 – 7 figures. This is just the start for him as given his style and approach in the market he has the ability to significantly leverage numbers of 10 X his current performance without having an influence in the liquidity dynamics of the markets he trades. 

The Profile Engineer is religious of a fundamentalist nature in terms of having a rigorous routine and process in recording his observations of the patterns of the market by way of having confidence in logging his observations routinely. 

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Intellectual architecture and expanding one’s latticeworks of mental models

In a famous speech in the 1990s, Charlie Munger summed up this approach to practical wisdom: “Well, the first rule is that you can’t really know anything if you just remember isolated facts and try and bang ‘em back. If the facts don’t hang together on a latticework of theory, you don’t have them in a usable form. You’ve got to have models in your head. And you’ve got to array your experience both vicarious and direct on this latticework of models. You may have noticed students who just try to remember and pound back what is remembered. Well, they fail in school and in life. You’ve got to hang experience on a latticework of models in your head.”

The scope of one’s interest and genuine infatuation to LEARN is one of the driving factors in expanding one’s mental models of digesting “reality” so as to tackle the markets with a more skillful and imaginative manner. This helps to a great degree to manufacturing true EDGE. The shape and variety of one’s intellectual framework I believe is the determining factor to constantly harvesting profitable ideas from the market. This is cultivated by one’s wide array of interests. The diversity in his interest, away from the trading floor, and curiosity spectrum being it from learning to surf, weekly yoga practice, learning new gastronomic dishes feeds his intellectual hunger for that sort of cross-disciplinary curiosity and self-directed learning which in turn expands his creative edge in the market.

From the book Great mental models they succinctly explain the importance of expanding one’s latticework of mental models for the benefit of helping and profession or skill pursuit you may embark upon.

Latticework is an excellent way to conceptualize mental models because it demonstrates the reality and value of interconnecting knowledge. The world does not isolate itself into discrete disciplines. We only break it down that way because it makes it easier to study it. But once we learn something, we need to put it back into the complex system in which it occurs. We need to see where it connects to other bits of knowledge, to build our understanding of the whole. This is the value of putting the knowledge contained in mental models into a latticework. It reduces the blind spots that limit our view of not only the immediate problem but the second and subsequent order effects of our potential solutions. Without a latticework of the Great Models, our decisions become harder, slower, and less creative. But by using a mental models approach, we can complement our specializations by being curious about how the rest of the world works. A quick glance at the Nobel Prize winners list shows that many of them, obviously extreme specialists in something, had multidisciplinary interests that supported their achievements.

AXIA Trading Floor London

Distillation Process Away From The Trading Floor

One of his core learning beliefs is how one cements the learning from the past trading week once away from the trading floor. In the heat of the battle and after each trading day when our emotional and energetic reservoirs are depleted it becomes challenging to fully harness our personal learning from the market. Although his end of day routine includes Evernoting (Digital Journaling) the daily patterns of the market and his subjective observation on his self-aware state it is not until the weekend where he can fully observe and deeply investigate his performance from the past week. A key point to observe here is his end of day realtime journaling is critical as it records his direct real-time self-evaluation of the day, it is just more difficult to fully digest the learnings from day until a more productive mental state is engaged when one can fully develop and implement one’s market lessons. Only when one is full of renewed energy and has stepped outside the cauldron of market battle can one in a relaxed setting start using our critical faculties of evaluation to isolate our key areas of market performance and update our pattern observations and cement ones learning and key takeaways from the past trading week. One’s comprehension skills are amplified in this relaxed but focused setting. This is what he calls the distillation process where one’s neurological faculties are firing a different tune, a tune that is absorbent of key information that then gets transformed into trading knowledge. The distillation process is where our conscious observation and questioning application we engage on the weekends results in the alchemical transformation into our unconscious pattern recognition states of awareness when we essentially start training our instinctive recall skills. This is where deep synthesis takes place and enhances our understanding of deep market mechanics and pattern dynamics.

Many traders on any professional trading floor can be deeply committed to their weekly routine of keeping a journal both of market patterns observed and their self-talk analysis but without the weekend distillation process then much of the hard work done during the week is wasted. Without distillation, we do not reprogram our market mind and are at the mercy of repeating the same degenerative bad habits from the weeks gone by and one’s market growth and improvement are thwarted. It’s like building an F1 sports vehicle with all the modern technology by all the best engineers who have developed a world-class vehicle but without the tires, the vehicle becomes of no use. Journaling during the week without the weekend critical analysis is in essence not putting the tires on your vehicle and thus you remain stationary in your learning no matter the quality of your daily journaling.

The London Trading Floor Live Stream

If you are unable to join a trading floor but wish to get the next best thing, check out our daily live streams from our London Trading Floor or learn to trade with a range of our Trader ​Training courses on offer. The Axia Futures 8 Week Career Programme can be attended in-house or virtually from home as an online trading course. These are the most comprehensive training programmes in the world of proprietary trading​ and are based​ ​upon years of successful in-house skill​s ​development​.

Axia Futures
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Demetris Mavrommatis – Co-Founder, Head of Trading
Alex Haywood – Co-Founder Head of Strategy

What do you think?

Written by Alex Haywood


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