Prop Trading Career Advice

Discussion in 'Professional Trading' started by Scoot82, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. Scoot82


    I would greatly appreciate some input from people here regarding my current conundrum. I apologize in advance, but this may turn out to be a longer post than I intend.

    I am wrapping up my second year in investment banking (BB firm - in Chicago) and am greatly interested in trading as a next job. I have been doing some research on prop trading and wanted to get some clarification on what the opportunities are. What I am mostly looking for is a place where I can learn the trade (of trading) and does not require any capital contribution from me.

    Before people start screaming at me to join the prop desk at my bank, my preference is to stay in Chicago. This actually leads to another question - does anyone know if any investment banks have their prop desks based in Chicago? Assuming that is not an option, who are considered (I understand this is subjective) the top prop firms in Chicago? I'm not even sure I would want to work on the institutional desk at a BB bank - part of the appeal of prop trading to me is the entrepreneurial spirit, which I feel is diminished at the big banks - plus I am not a huge fan of the investment banking culture to be perfectly honest. Also, is joining a prop firm the best way to learn, which is really what I am interested in (money is secondary)? I have enough capital to open a significant-sized account and start trading for myself, but I assume I am going to lose money for a while, so why not learn on someone else's dollar and leverage his experience?

    Any input that people can provide is GREATLY appreciaited
  2. Scoot82


    anyone able to offer any advice - would be appreciated!
  3. Don't ever give up your day job. :cool:
  4. I'm going to start in the prop industry soon, so I've done a lot of research. These are two links that I think provide a great deal of information:

    Many of the firms in this industry are very sketchy so you have to be careful. Also, don't think of any prop position as a job (unless you work for an investment bank and you are not responsible for losses and commissions). Rather, think of them as your personal broker that provides you with a ton of leverage. You essentially pay them commissions. If you lose money, you will be responsible for it.

    The prop firm makes money from any trader that has a position at their firm. It's like a leverged retail account. Also know that the vast majority of traders fail; more than 90%. It is very difficult to overcome commissions when your new and inexperienced.