Monday, January 01, 2007
Q. What has happened to the original Macro Man? Q. Who are Team Macro Man? A. No.
A. We are a few old friends of Macro Man who are trying to maintain his style and insight and though we know it’s never going to be the same, we do our best. We are all working in financial markets however our backgrounds are varied across asset classes, geographies, roles and institutions. Why "Team Macro Man"? Though it sounds like a pub quiz team, any other names we came up with for us as a collective sounded even more like one.
Q. Has the ethos of Macro Man changed?
Q. What has happened to the original Macro Man?
Q. Who are Team Macro Man?
A. A number of reasons, but we have found the discipline required to set down thoughts on a daily basis, subjected to public scrutiny, to be highly useful. It provides an archive of our thinking at any particular point in time, and enforces a quality control of ideas. The comments section has proven to be a valuable resource, both in terms of providing feedback to our own thinking and in the ideas that readers occasionally share: a few of the latter have ended up in our portfolios. Finally, it provides a forum for the occasional rant, which is always useful to let off steam.
Q. Why do you post anonymously?
A. Anonymity confers a certain degree of protection, insofar as we can say what we want without legal threats appearing on our desks or bricks through our living room windows. But more importantly we do not want our opinions, snipes or general bad taste to be associated with our employers. Of course, anonymity also demands a great deal of responsibility, something that we take very seriously. Everything that we write we believe to be true, and hopefully our tongue-in-cheek humour will be obvious should we be appearing to state otherwise.
A. No. To accept advertising would transform the site into a commercial venture, which would mandate a ramp-up in effort and quality that we are prepared to allocate to it at the moment. Plus, we don't like the way web advertising looks. See, not every financial market guy is motivated purely by money!
Q. Can I do a link exchange?
A. No. We understand there is an etiquette there (which we presume revolves around advertising revenue), but we are currently too lazy to make a blogroll or include lots of links for the sake of it. Regular readers can probably pick up the sites that we read from the occasional reference. Rest assured, if we use something from your site we will give due credit.
Q. Can you write less poetry and nonsense and just concentrate on markets?
A. No. Writing the fun stuff keeps us fresh and in some small way satisfies our childhood dreams of being a writers.
Q. Can you write more poetry and stuff and less drivel about markets?
A. No. Poetry is for bank holidays, the odd flash of inspiration, and the occasional reader request. The longer stuff is for when we have a good idea and lots of energy. But markets are both fascinating and pay the bills, so that's what we write about most of the time.
Q. Do you read email sent to the contact address?
A. Yes, all of it. We make a good-faith effort to reply to everyone who sends us email.
Q. Why haven't you replied to my email?
A. If we are busy, out of contact, or inundated with email, things occasionally fall through the cracks. So rather than feel offended, if you want a reply please send the mail again.
Q. How can I become a macro man/woman?
A. This is one of the two most frequently-asked email questions. In our experience, every macro trader takes a different career path, which shapes their methodology and style. Many (but by no means all) have spent some time as a sell side flow trader, while others were analysts before making the jump. Still others have spent their entire careers on the buy side, working their way up from being junior dogsbodies to running significant portfolios.
The most important thing in macro, and indeed any trading discipline, is to know your advantage....which is usually something you accrue earlier in your career. This can be technical knowledge, short-term trading ability, extraordinary risk mangement/emotional discipline, or, if you are fortunate, some happy combination of the three.
A. This is the other most frequently-asked question. If you don't have a solid grounding in macroeconomics, buy an economics textbook and read it. We have and it was worth the slog. The Economist is a good weekly read to keep up with ongoing developments if you are not accustomed to doing so, though we tired of its agenda and cancelled subscriptions quite some time ago.
In terms of books, we'd suggest Inside the House of Money (Drobny), Hedgehogging (Biggs), the Market Wizards series (Schwager), and Against the Gods (Bernstein) as good places to start. Readers are more than welcome to submit their own suggestions in the comments section. You should be aware, however, of the curious phenomenon in which many macro traders who author or appear in books tend to suffer a disastrous downturn in investment performance soon thereafter. Heck, even Warren Buffett has succumbed to the inexorable "book effect" recently.