Better Know A Trader: Mick Buckley, Independent Trader

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Meet Mick Buckley. Mick cut his trading teeth working at Tradescape Securities. After taking a couple of years off, these days he is back at it, working independently from his home in Miami. Mick agreed to share with DealBreaker his thoughts on what makes a trader tick and what makes a trader trip.

In Bonfire of the Vanities, Sherman McCoy attempts to explain to his four-year-old daughter what he does for a living. How would you explain to a four-year-old what you do?

I buy small pieces of companies I think I can sell at a higher price to someone else. I don't think I could explain the short side to a four year old.

How did you get your first job in finance?

After I moved to NY I looked into many broker jobs. Soon I ran into and old friend from school at a party in Queens who told me about a trading firm that was hiring.

Describe your trading strategy.

Buying breakouts and shorting breakdowns with stop losses always in.

If you were starting out in your career now, where would you want to work?

In a boutique firm with an experienced mentor.

What is your favorite career accomplishment/best trade ever?

Getting out of the market at within days of the top in early 2000 and taking a break while it went down.

Who are your heroes or role models, fictional or real?

Jesse Livermore, the real life person behind Larry Livingstone from Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefevre. Livermore ran away from home at fifteen and ended up peaking with $100 Million by, among other things, shorting before the crash in 1929. However, I wouldn't want to emulate the rest of his life which ends like a Greek tragedy.

What is the most important quality a trader should have?

Discipline.
What is the worst character fault for a trader?
Lack of discipline and arrogance. Thinking you’re smarter than the market when it tells you otherwise. Hoping that a stock will come back when you're out of the money instead of having a sound plan.

Tell us about the lowest of low points, the time you thought should just give it all up and take a simpler, easier job?

Getting long the NASDAQ around 2200 in 2001 because I was convinced I'd found the bottom(see previous answer and extrapolate results).

What job would you have taken? What's your 'exit strategy'—how long until you retire or move on?

Real estate investment, but ultimately nothing is as fascinating as the markets. My exit strategy is 'soon as possible'.

What is your motto?

It's nothing new: 'Cut your losses, let your profits run.'

Whose teachings are more useful in your business—Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, Jesus Christ or Marquis de Sade? (Feel free to nominate another choice.)

I think reading about the great traders of our time will help a lot and then you just have to get into it. Making and losing money is the greatest motivation.
(We're still looking for more traders the get to know better. If you think you’d make a good subject, or want to nominate someone else, please email us at tips (at) dealbreaker (dot) com (subject line: “Better Know A Banker”).

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