Metals trade secrets
July 20, 2006 7:40 AM   Subscribe

About half of billion-dollar divorces seem to involve a "metals trader". I'm not hoping to divorce, but how does one become a "metals trader"?
posted by londongeezer to Work & Money (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You get on the first flight to Chicago.
posted by dagny at 7:57 AM on July 20, 2006

You can probably start by trading metals online, but that wouldn't be nearly as exciting.

I spent 15 minutes on the floor of the CME one afternoon. The place has energy, man.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:50 AM on July 20, 2006

Yeah, except CME doesn't trade metals (yet). You'd have to go to the Nymex for that.

And also, it would probably help to, you know, have some money.

In all seriousness, I'm not sure if the "metals traders" they're referring to are the actual guys on the floor of the Nymex, who need to have a seat - either owned by a firm or that they buy themselves. Here is the quotes on what seats are going for. Obviously, it's pretty steep. In fact, they're busting records for seat sales (as gold hits records).

For the rest of us plebes, your best bet is opening a futures account with some firm and trading through them. But unless you're really good, I don't know that you're going to be in the billion-dollar-divorce club anytime soon.
posted by mckenney at 10:01 AM on July 20, 2006

I think most of the people these divorces involve who are metals traders are trading the spot commodirty and not floor traders tossing around the futures.

Thye srat out working for a mining firm and then branch out into doing trading or wholesaling on their own.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:10 AM on July 20, 2006

You might find some helpful info here:
Metal Men

From the review:
Marc Rich is one of the most successful traders of metals and other minerals. He is also now living in Switzerland, wanted in the United States for tax evasion. While Copetas's book is ostensibly about Rich and his questionable dealings, it also gives a fairly interesting account of the metals trading industry itself: individualistic, barely regulated, tense, fast-paced, potentially lucrative, and often shady.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 11:45 AM on July 20, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks all, especially Fuzzy Monster
posted by londongeezer at 4:15 PM on July 20, 2006

This site seems accurate if a little dated has far as I know, but I haven't looked in depth to see if the site is reputable at all.

One other thing is that I believe there are cash-settled futures contracts on metals somewhere. Those allow you to trade in the market withouy working about taking/making delivery of the physical commodity - your positions are marked against an index or spot price and cash is credited/debited to your account. At that point it becomes like trading anything else.

(background: I work in IT in the futures industry)
posted by true at 6:32 PM on July 20, 2006

AFAIK, and judging by past performance on the Vancouver Stock Exchange, the way to become a metals trader is to throw away all your decency. I swear to god, some of those people are completely immoral scum.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:54 PM on July 20, 2006

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