QUESTION – Thank you for taking the time to participate in the Q & A session. Before we start in detail. Would you like to share with everyone who may not know, who you are, where you live and what is your current occupation?
TROY – Hello to the Beyond the trades community, it’s a pleasure to share this forum with you today. My name is Troy Prince, I’m 48 years old, married with an 8 year old daughter, a Bronx, NYC native, former 20 year institutional equity trader, former Vietnam angel investor and now Founder & CEO of Wall Street Bound, Inc, a 501(c)3 non-profit with a mission to connect urban youth to careers on Wall Street and proprietary trading. I am based in NYC, NY.
QUESTION – You have created a very special and much needed non profit program called “Wall Street Bound”. Can you explain exactly what this is…. and how our interested readers can get involved?
TROY – Yes, thank you for asking. The Wall Street Bound mission is profoundly important to me as a person of color who found the stock market and Wall Street at a very young age. For all of my years on Wall Street trading desks and trading floors starting at age 20, it always struck me as odd how little diversity there was given the abundance of smart and hungry urban talent I knew existed. So for 15 years or so, I’ve had this idea to create a program that through rigorous recruitment, 16 weeks of technical finance and soft skills training, and provision of social capital (ie firm introductions via formal partnerships) would connect urban college students to finance front office roles through summer internships and “prop” trading firm risk capital. What I have found since I began this journey about a year ago has been that the greatest hurdle is making young people of color aware not only of the existence of opportunities on Wall Street but importantly that they DO have what it takes to get in the game and succeed. For anyone that has ever felt their talents were overlooked or anyone who would just like to get involved and support our mission as donors, volunteers, corporate advocates making introductions or other, please do check out our website at www.wallstreetbound.org and of course feel free to email me directly at email@example.com.
QUESTION – What personal or professional failure/setback have you experienced in your life or professional career that has set you up for later success?
TROY – Boy, where do I start…Lol. There are actually two instances that stick out to me and both might be attributed as great and early lessons in HUMILITY and PATIENCE. The first happened was when I was about 21 years old and working in Tokyo for Credit Suisse First Boston (now Credit Suisse) as a Topix and Nikkei index arb controller/trading assistant and feeling a little too full of myself, I got myself fired from my first job out of school. I learned the hard way the importance of teamwork and team harmony vs the naive idea that outstanding work mattered most to success in the workplace. The second was looking back a gutsy but silly decision at around age 24 to quit my next job as the sole trading assistant on the U.S listed equity desk at Salomon Brothers when “Sollie” was at its peak. After being on the desk for less than 2 years, myself and a high school buddy of mine who was a convert trader at Bear Stearns thought we were ready to go into business managing money. Between our parents we raised less than $30,000 and thinking the leverage gave us real buying power, decided to trade futures. To say the least, that venture lasted for less than a year if I recall correctly.
QUESTION– How would you describe what makes a successful Trader? Especially in the crazy times we are in now in the markets?
TROY – Warren Buffet was quoted saying “To invest successfully does not require a stratospheric IQ, unusual business insights, or inside information. What’s needed is a sound intellectual framework for making decisions and the ability to keep emotions from corroding the framework.” We know for a fact that markers of trading and investing success have everything to do with innate behavioral traits like emotional control, humility, patience, discipline, dedication to the craft and intellectual curiosity and little to do with socio-economic strata, race, gender, schooling etc. I believe these desired traits remain constant and hold up irregardless of market environment, present included.
QUESTION : What do you feel is the role in having a balance all around life in your day to day activities. What hobbies do you enjoy?
TROY – Having balance is everything, how else do we keep things in perspective? I can’t say that I’m always the best at maintaining a positive work-life balance, sometimes I worry that I might even be a workaholic BUT I am very, very conscious of and believe in the principles of mindfulness, harmony and balance as taught by the Tao and importantly release from attachment that help me keep things in proper perspective. I’m an avid tennis player, a student of both shotokan karate and pekiti tirsia kali (Kali is a phillippino martial art, if you’ve watched any Jason Bourne movies, you’ve seen it in action), I love to sail when I can, the water and certainly a whiskey and cigar every now and then with the boys.
QUESTION – What advice would you give to your younger self as it relates to your personal life. What about advice for your younger trading self? How did such play a role in you forming Wall Street Bound?
TROY – As I noted in the response to the professional failure/setback question, I would DEFINITELY advise my younger self to be humble, to be more patient, to value money less and additionally to consider the opinions of at least 2 people in ‘your’ life who’s thinking you respect before making any major decision. All would also apply to my younger trading self except for the last part regarding seeking the opinion of others and I might add to focus more on doing the right thing, ie the ability to stick to your trading plan vs focusing on the p/l. I think it’s pretty obvious that we all carry our internal and unique behavioral strengths and weaknesses around with us irrespective of the time of day, activity of the moment etc such that if able to address our behavioral challenges we almost automatically address our trading challenges. These beliefs led me to trading psychology and therapy for myself and as an integral part of any true trader training program. What is the point of being skilled technically in analysis, trading mechanics etc only to be shaken out of the market, adding to losing positions or picking tops or bottoms when you know you shouldn’t? This is where the not oft discussed but all important head game analysis comes into play.
QUESTION – What good or bad advice do you hear often in life (or trading – or both)
TROY – This may not be the answer you expect but I believe that good or bad advice doesn’t necessarily exist, I like to think in terms of optimal or suboptimal advice. When you think about it, advice is just the opinion of other people, which in itself is neutral and whose value may only be a function of the credibility of the person giving it. We’ve all learned lessons from “bad advice” and have been hurt by “good advice”, no? I am most moved by any words that encourage us to take chances, don’t take “no” for an answer if your internals are screaming “yes”, become comfortable with being uncomfortable, dream big and to be kind to each other.
QUESTION – Where do you see yourself in 5 years – then 10 years?
TROY – The 5 year vision for myself and Wall Street Bound is one where the mission will have been scaled with university and corporate partners outside of NYC and storefront proprietary trading rooms (envision the ticker tape next door to the bodega) with talent sourced and trained by Wall Street Bound are established in inner city “hoods” across America. In 10 years, Wall Street Bound and our “prop shop” social venture sister company, Prometheus Capital will be national and international organizations with Wall Street Bound continuing its mission to recruit and train underutilized and under-represented talent wherever it may be and Prometheus Capital trading rooms serve as community investment platforms that reinvest trading profits into the mission and local businesses, startups, real estate etc.
QUESTION – When you have lost your mojo or focus , what do you do to get back on track?
TROY – Take a break. For me, it’s where detachment becomes important and I’m reminded that it’s better to walk away than to try and force results.
QUESTION – If you could have a big billboard with your favorite saying or message on it, what would it be?
TROY – “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” – Aristotle & “Just do it”
QUESTION – Thank you for taking the time for our readers to get to know you. How can our readers contact or follow you on social media?
TROY – Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share a bit of my story and that of Wall Street Bound with your community. Everyone should feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, on LinkedIn or follow me on twitter at @wallst_bound