Thursday, February 12, 2009

Alpha Males On Trading Desks & Testosterone Overload

Its a well known fact that alpha males dominate trading desks. High testosterone levels beget high risk behaviour, which also somehow correlates to a lack of manners and a high propensity to use vulgar language. High risk tends to lead to high profits during good times, money leads to inflated egos, inflated egos lead to a distorted vision which enlarges their penises in their own eyes. Inflated penises lead them to think they can fuck and want to fuck every moving female in sight. Inflated penises lead to a substantial blood loss to the brain, thus reducing brainpower to deduce things like morality, integrity and humility. And that's my Phd thesis on why we need more women on trading desks.

The interrogation of the lions of British banking, many of whom have lost their jobs, began on television on Tuesday before the financial overseers of the British Parliament's Treasury Select Committee. And in line with the usual maths of the financial world, 18 of the 19 key people in the room were men.

"Clearly, something needs to change," said Howard Archer, the managing director of European Forecasting and Analysis at IHS Global Insight in London. "You can argue that the men have made a right mess of it, and now the ladies should have a go."

As the global financial downturn deepens, the first rumblings of a gender revolution are under way in an industry long controlled by men. Banks, hedge funds and other financial organisations that have led the international economy's downward spiral are overwhelmingly male-dominated. The regulators and legislators assigned to oversee the financiers are also mostly men.

"There are quite a lot of alpha males with testosterone steaming out their ears," said Stuart Fraser, one of the top financial sector officials in London.

In Britain, women account for just 12 per cent of corporate directorships of companies on the FTSE 100 stock exchange index. In the US, women hold 17 per cent of the corporate directorships. "Maybe if we had more women in the boardrooms, we might not have seen as much risk-taking behaviour," said Hazel Blears, one of two female members of the cabinet of the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.

Harriet Harman, the minister for women and equality, blasted the banking world for "discrimination and harassment" against women, including using lap-dancing clubs for corporate entertainment.

Amid the debate about whether the financial crisis would have happened, or been as severe, if more women had been in charge, there are signs that more women will be taking part in the global rescue.

Iceland, which suffered a humiliating economic collapse, has turned over key levers of finance to women. It now has a female prime minister, and women lead two of its major banks. The Prime Minister, Johanna Sigurdardottir, 66, has vowed to exercise "prudence and responsibility" as she cleans up the male-dominated system that sank the national economy.

"Men, especially young men, made a mess of things," said Kristjan Kristjansson, the Prime Minister's spokesman. "There is a strong discussion that women would have taken a more cautious approach in the financial sector. You could call the financial sector almost like a men's club."

Einar Mar Gudmundsson, an influential Icelandic writer, said: "These financial vikings who made the country bankrupt were in a way like little boys playing with toys." He said he would like both men and women to be involved in reconstructing the nation's financial sector.

In France, Michel Ferrary, a professor at the business school Ceram, recently conducted a study that concluded that French companies with the greatest percentage of women in management have performed the best during the crisis.

For example, he said, BNP Paribas bank, whose management team is nearly 39 per cent female, has weathered the crisis far better than Credit Agricole, where women make up just 16 per cent of managers.

John Coates, a researcher at Cambridge University who once ran a trading desk on Wall Street, recently conducted a novel survey that analysed saliva from 17 male traders in London's financial district. Coates concluded that traders made the highest profits when they had the highest levels of testosterone in their spit. The downside, he said, was that elevated testosterone also led to riskier behaviour, a formula for disaster as well as profit. "If you had more women on the trading floors, you would probably eliminate some of this instability," Coates said.

For three hours on Tuesday morning, four elite bankers sat before the Treasury Select Committee: Tom McKillop and Fred Goodwin, who ran the Royal Bank of Scotland, and Andy Hornby and Dennis Stevenson of HBOS. One after another, under often hostile questioning from the politicians, they apologised for presiding over bank collapses that have cost billions in taxpayer-funded bail-outs.

The legislators accused the bankers of being "arrogant" and "in denial" about their responsibility for the crisis. "It's an old boy's network," Sally Keeble, the committee's only female member, said after the hearing. She said she was most disturbed that the top echelons of British banking seemed to rely on a "cozy consensus of like-minded people" unwilling to listen to those who might challenge their views.

John Thurso, also part of the committee, said: "If there were more women, there might have been more of a reality check."

The Washington Post

p/s photos: Cristine Reyes


Jomaropol said...

Are you serious mate? Women traders? They'll only try to trade high div yield stocks like British American Tobacco, and will run when they make one girlz...

From my observation, athletes actually make pretty good traders, they have good instincts, are fast, adaptable and are opportunistic (trading environment is always changing). Problem is, they are initially always overconfident and want to get rich too fast, which always leads to financial ruin. Hence 98% of them usually losses everything. Those that survive and learn to be prudent will turn out to be very good traders. Hmm..think i just described every contra player in Msia.

Celeste said...

Sorry guy, not all women traders are risk averse, just investing in a prudent way. They will run when they make one sen because they know it just can make them one sen.
Not offending, just because I am a young woman trader of futures and options in a small town. :)

Gamelion said...

Since this testosterone male that created this economic mess in the first place, they can only be cleanse thoroughly by having a world wide induce war among many nation to end this ecomomic disaster effectively right after the 1930 Depression been ended with a 1940 World War 2 !!!!!!!!

Jomaropol said...

Celeste, yeah actually I agree women would make good traders. I was only ribbing Dali in my post above. I actually encounter a lot of women who trade futures like yourself in my line of work. On the other hand a lot of guys i know are scared sh*t of touching futures. What woman lack in instincts they make up for in planning and discipline.

ccdev said...

mmm, woman are just naturally better "mothers", even when it comes to money. They sure have a lot of patience and discipline and character. Not to mention that when they get involved, they are usually 100% passionately involved. All my past attempts at going at it the macho way ie all or nothin', 'go-for-it' attitude has got me nothing but pain. yeah, I'm trying to trade like a woman right now, whatever that means...

teresa bowen said...

One of the most effective traits to be a good trader is consistency. Your skill to create choices below intense stress and completely quell the nervousness. A fantastic speculator is certainly one that is in a position to take if they are completely wrong and proceed to the subsequent business. Creating a mental repitioure is essential to be able to building consistency.

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