Foreign exchange trading – is one of the largest commodities markets within the financial sector. Fast-paced, dynamic and hugely volatile, it is also one of the most profitable – especially if you have what it takes to become a profitable trader. So, if you’re patient, diligent and good with numbers, why not consider a career in this potentially lucrative field? This is how to become a professional currency trader.
Currency traders focus on the foreign exchange market – also known as the Forex market – and look to execute trades based on the performance of two types of currency against each other.
Although the basic concept is simple – you are essentially trying to sell for a higher price than what you paid – knowing and understanding the political and socio-economic factors behind market shifts (and developing a proven strategy to exploit them) are what separates profitable traders from the rest.
Many investment banks, equity firms and Forex companies employ dedicated traders and there are also a significant number of ‘amateur’ and part-time participants in the market, with many looking to supplement their income or simply to learn trades and economy.
Either way, your day-to-day responsibilities may include:
1. identifying and executing potentially profitable trades
2. developing and adhering to responsible trading strategies that minimize loss
3. researching market conditions and keeping abreast of any external factors that may affect currency rates, either negatively or positively
4. building positive relationships with brokers and other industry players
5. meeting profitability targets (if employed by a bank or investment firm).
Important Skills and Qualities
Forex traders are usually people from wide variety of background – both in terms of education and exposure but regardless below are the some of the most essential qualities they should acquire.
· Patience – Many experienced traders assert that patience and discipline are hugely important aspects of the role; after all, when things are slow, it can be all too easy to get itchy fingers and make a poor – and potentially very costly – trade
· Diligence – Profitable traders don’t buy or sell on a whim; they look at every possible angle of every trade and weigh up the pros and cons before executing.
· Attention to detail – Whether it be spotting something in the charts that others may have missed or picking up on an obscure news story that could have far-reaching consequences, it’s vital to keep your eye on the ball and take everything in
· Research skills – If you want to understand why a certain currency may be on the way up or down, then you need to consult a variety of resources; the ability to conduct effective and reliable research can often give you a competitive edge
· Global awareness – Often, currency peaks and troughs are a direct result of political actions or socio-economic circumstances; keeping on top of developments relevant to your chosen currencies and, more importantly, understanding how they might have an effect, is a highly useful skill
· Mathematical Skills – it may go without saying, but your trading career will be a lot easier if you have a firm grasp of numbers, including how to read and analyse data and make quick calculations.
One of the most appealing aspects of currency trading is its flexibility, meaning that, depending on your circumstances, you can work as little or as much as you like. If you are self-employed or choose not to trade on behalf of a company, then you can be a lot more flexible.
Forex, like most markets, can be accessed entirely online, with knowledge of and access to a trading platform the only requisite; therefore, many decide to work from home or, if they are particularly successful, to embrace the digital nomad lifestyle and execute trades while travelling the world.
Many hobbyists and casual participants trade part-time, either before or after work. While this may entail a different strategy, the advent of automated and semi-automated software programs and platforms makes it easier to adopt this low-risk, low-reward approach, with many simply trading for the thrill.
As you would expect, earnings for currency traders are heavily dependent upon how successful they are and how well they perform, although much also depends on how you choose to work.
Remember Independent traders are reliant upon their own profit margins to provide income.
However, if you are employed with any firm, bonuses and commissions can also make a significant impression on your earnings, with six and even seven-figure sums not uncommon at the top firms
Financial markets play a key role within global economies, meaning that there will always be jobs within the sector and currencies to trade. During recessions, pandemic and periods where there are tough market conditions, it is likely that there will be smaller margins for profit and even a temporary lack of appetite for trading; as the recent global banking crisis showed, though, these effects are usually only temporary.
How far you go in your currency trading career is down to your own motivations and circumstances. For instance, if you wish to work for an investment organisation, then there is the scope to progress beyond the trading floor and into executive management or strategy. As you develop your network of contacts, other career opportunities may arise, too, such as working in an advisory capacity for industry clients or government organisations.
Once you have a proven and established reputation and a consistently healthy profit margin, you might also be approached by investors to trade on their behalf. If this is the case, there are lots of platform that are seeking for good traders to copy trade etc.
If you are a beginner and you have limited time to focus on trading, then you can put up a small amount of capital and try to get a little return on your investment each month. While the percentage of profitable Forex traders is generally low, there are numerous online guides that can provide tips and assistance in how to formulate a strategy that yields results, and with discipline and know-how, you could gradually transition from your hated 9-to-5 job to a viable and more exciting alternative.
That’s the key, though: it really is up to you.
Currency trading is a hugely risky and complex market, but if you play it right, then the potential rewards can be life changing. If you think that you have what it takes, then start learning as much as you can (in fact, don’t think of investing a single penny until you understand what you’re doing), and who knows? A simple evening hobby could potentially lead to one of the most lucrative career paths.
By Suren Subramaniam | 4 September 2020