Let's start with a qualifying statement: Propex is not a broker or educator. We do not offer trading accounts, seminars or broking services. We are traders. Think of Propex as providing the infrastructure to full-time and professional traders.
So when it comes to answering the question of how to get started in trading, our answer might be a little different from others. Our answer does not include taking short cuts or making out like you can do this in 20 minutes per day.
Our Style of Proprietary Trading
Depending on who you ask, there are different definitions for the term 'proprietary' trading. In some circles, it refers to large banks taking the other side of over-the-counter orders for their customers. It also refers to strict market making activities. It can also refer to all those supposedly evil algorithms or 'bots' we keep reading about.
There is another type of proprietary trader, sometimes called the 'click trader'. It simply refers to traders that watch the screen and click into trades manually (as opposed to automated strategies). Propex traders are click traders.
Our style of trading is a natural progression for someone that has developed or is developing their own style of active intraday trading.
The Harsh Reality
Trading for a living is not easy. Forget what a lot of those books tell you. They present a picture where if you use the right indicator or the right pattern, things will fall into place. They are designed to sell books, not make you a trader. The same can be said for those expensive seminars.
The truth is trading is not easy. At best, it is an incredible test of your patience, tenacity, will and character. If you are going to trade for a living, this is what is ahead of you.
Any book, course or simulator program is never going to have all of the answers. This site is not going to give you the answers. Every trader needs to find their own answers and it means every trader is different.
At Propex, we have built a culture of support, guidance and open communication. Everything a 'trainee trader' goes through, our senior traders and managers have also been through. At the end of the day you and you alone are responsible for your P&L. However, we encourage and support open communication between all. It would have to be the best place for a trainee to learn.
What Makes a Good Trader?
Does it require natural in-built skill or can it be taught? This debate is an old one. It was the basic concept behind the 'Turtle Traders' (look it up) and on a lighter note, the movie Trading Places.
It's a hard question to answer. Our view (if pushed) is to agree with both sides of the argument. Perhaps it's similar to what makes a great athlete. People talk about Michael Jordan's natural ability, but he has still spent thousands of hours practicing.
Collectively, the management at Propex have trained and worked with hundreds of traders. We do not have a magic formula for predicting who is going to shoot the lights out, unfortunately. However, we can say that with our experience there are a few basic patterns that put the odds in the trader's favour.
These things top the list:
Time. There is a direct and obvious correlation between the amount of time you spend in front of the screens and your success. We call it "screen time". One of our senior traders was recently talking with some of our in-house trainees and said something interesting. He said "If you are going to be successful, you have to be willing to give up sleep. What is more important – sleep or success?" That is spot on advice. The only way you will learn how to trade is to be prepared to put in the time.
Flexibility. It's now time to set aside many of the things you may have read in that latest book on trading systems. Also set aside what you may have learnt trading Forex. Be open. Our initial training involves the use of a trading simulator. This is the place to try new trading strategies. It is the place to challenge yourself to do something new. A trader cannot be afraid to make mistakes – as long as the process becomes one of learning.
Strong will. When you are learning to trade you will make mistakes. It will happen. You will do silly things like add to a terrible position, freeze when you should act or cancel your stops because "the market was wrong". Everyone trader has made these mistakes. The trick is to take a top down view of what you are doing and learn from the mistakes. There is no point letting it bruise your ego or upset you. The job is to learn not to be right all the time. If you approach trading with that philosophy then you can advance.
Before Applying with Us
Let's assume you are interested in trading. You've read a few books here and there, tried your skills on a demo account and even had a good friend that tells you how easy it all is. Unfortunately, this alone does not put you in a position where you are ready to trade professionally.
We take on trainees all the time and anyone is invited to use this site to apply online. But first, keep in mind we turn away a lot of applicants given they are a little green. We see plenty of cover letters stating this is what they really want to do with their lives. We also want to see evidence to back up these kinds of statements.
Thanks to the internet, there are a plenty of places you can build your knowledge and experience. A Google search for "futures trading" returns over 8 million results. Going through all of those might take a little time and guaranteed there is probably a lot of junk there too.
With that in mind we have a short list of recommendations for any new trader. These are not prerequisites for applying with us. They are simply suggestions.
- Read our Guide to Proprietary Trading downloadable from our home page.
- Read One Good Trade by Mike Bellafiore. This is a book written by the manager of a proprietary trading firm in the US. For many it's an eye opener for those really trading for a living.
- Spend some time going through the Chicago Mercantile Exchange website. They have a massive amount of educational material. In fact, we rank it as the best site on futures. www.cmegroup.com.
- Simulated trading. If you are not already trading your own futures account, spend some time on a simulator. Get to know the 'depth' display and experiment by trading a few different markets, time zones and styles. The CME site has a downloadable simulator trial. A Google search will help you find a few more.
When you are ready to apply, just follow the link from the home page.