With the shut down of the open outcry trading in Amsterdam end of 2002, a lot of young men suddenly lost their job. Their game of trading didn’t exist anymore. Trading options on the screen turned out to be a whole new ball game. Time for a career switch. Some retired, other traders found a new profession. Teacher (economics), risk manager, selling beds, selling coffee machines or cleaning windows. And some people in the energy trading business of course.
Last weekend in our largest newspaper, De Telegraaf, a story of another career move (link, NL). Former market maker Tim van der Vliet turned into a writer, a spiritual writer to be more specific. He started as a local in the pit, together with Bodo Groen (currently director of Park Frankendael (link, NL). He made 200k profit on 9/11 with his long gamma and long vega position. Keep in mind this wasn’t a safe company profit, he was trading with his own money.
Fear of losing his fortune
According to the story, he was terrified of losing his 600k fortune. Not much later he indeed lost it all. The good part was the fear of losing was worse than the loss itself. Lost it on a single day, according to the Telegraaf headline. In reality he stayed vega long, gamma long and delta short – and in a time of sinking volatiles this was killing. Lost everything between December 2002 and April 2003. That’s the same period as the open outcry finally migrating to the screen, so it’s also the tale of a pit trader who failed on screen.
Tim joined the Swiss algo firm Source Capital, the research desk. Yes, the very same company discussed in the comments on this website recently. Worked with some of the best brains in the business, passed his CFA exams and after five years sold his stake in the company for a tidy sum. Well done, exit trading and enter zen writing.
He writes in English, he self published his book Spiritual Awakening (the easy way) in 2010, was picked up by Hay House Publishing – a kind of new age publisher. Available at Amazon. The book was republished, and this year his book is being translated into Dutch. Published by Lev (Bruna).
Mysticism, new age and spiritual books – not really my cup of tea. But the guy is apparently good in what he’s doing, and is a friendly chap. I may give it as a Sinterklaas present to my mother-in-law. And borrow it back to read what he has got to say. Could also attend his guru presentations, but really – that’s a bridge too far.