FX traders seek coaching in battle for dominance

Sun Sep 30, 2012 6:11am EDT
 
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By Nia Williams

LONDON (Reuters) - In the take-no-prisoners world of foreign exchange dealing, asking traders to look inside themselves and confront their inner demons may seem a forlorn endeavor.

Yet some banks are turning to performance coaches to give their traders an edge in the battle to make money in the $4.5 trillion dollar a day FX market.

This soft skills approach contrasts with the popular stereotype of FX traders hurling prices -- and abuse -- at each other across the dealing room floor.

But while some dismiss techniques to develop a "clear-headed space" in which to trade as touchy-feely gimmickry, many are keen to embrace any tactic to outwit other market participants, whether human or machine.

"I talk about performance enhancement rather than psychology. It makes it a bit more approachable for guys who have still got a bit too much testosterone and ego," said trader performance coach Steve Ward.

With trading margins squeezed and bank cutting jobs, former physical education teacher and sports performance coach Ward had expected business to dry up.

In fact, the last year has been one of his busiest ever.

Trained in techniques including stress management and performance psychology, Ward also employs strategies underpinned by cutting-edge neuroscience research. Some exercises are focused on meditation to help develop attention and awareness.   Continued...

 
Foreign exchange dealers smile as they conduct trading at a dealing room in Tokyo October 31, 2011. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao