After 35 years on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), to say Peter Tuchman is an old hand would be an understatement. Many will recognise the twin shocks of white hair that have gained him his moniker as the Wall Street Einstein. Tuchman is, after all, the most photographed person at the NYSE.
But Tuchman is no mere celebrity. In his almost four decades of trading, he has learned all there is to know about what it’s like to trade on the NYSE. In this week’s episode of Opto Sessions, he provides a glimpse of what the life of a floor trader is really like.
Listen to the interview:
What is the top mistake traders make?
It's a really easy answer. Hope is not a strategy for trading stock — people need to do their homework. The biggest mistake that traders make is they trade on hope. They don't do their homework. They will turn a winning trade into a losing trade. The whole point of trading the market is to make money. Trading is a matter of probability … I think the best advice is to take profits when you have them and don't wait around for unacceptable losses. Never turn a winning trade into a losing trade, because hope is not a strategy for trading.
“The biggest mistake that traders make is they trade on hope. They don't do their homework”
Where do you go for investment and economic insights?
There are a number of pundits and money managers online, there's a lot of great finance television — CNBC has a round the clock financial news network. I love following some newscasters who are really bright, some educators who are really bright. Everybody has an opinion, right? And the funny thing about it is for everybody who's buying it, there's someone who's selling it. Be wary of people who are tossing around big numbers — trading the stock market is not a get rich scheme, by any means. I avail myself of every bit of information that I can get my hands on, from people who are successful and people who aren't, because you can learn as much from the winners as you can from the losers.
“I avail myself of every bit of information that I can get my hands on, from people who are successful and people who aren't, because you can learn as much from the winners as you can from the losers”
What’s your top tip for your younger self?
If you find something you love to do, you'll never work a day in your life … I have my sort of spiritual motto, which is: it's not a matter of how many times you get knocked down, it's how many times you're able to get back up, brush yourself off and keep going. I just want people to search and find something they love to do. Never feel you can't email a CEO, make a phone call, try to communicate with anybody. Don't feel that anybody is any less or bigger than anyone else. knock on doors, ask questions.
How do you get your edge on the trading floor?
I think it's a matter of customer service. Some people in business tend to interact with a computer and a telephone a lot differently than a human being. There are certain qualities that I possess as a human being, whether its customer service or my ability to interact with the other side of a trade, that makes such a difference. Why have I been able to stay there that long? Honesty. Your word is your bond and I do everything in my power to be focussed and keep the fiduciary responsibility that I have to do the best by my customer. One of the reasons that I never owned a share of stock in my life was to maintain clarity when trading stocks for my customers.
“Your word is your bond and I do everything in my power to be focussed and keep the fiduciary responsibility that I have to do the best by my customer”
To hear more from Tuchman on what life on the NYSE trading floor is like, and his thoughts on responsibility and performance, listen to the full Opto Sessions episode below:
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