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Better Know A Trader: Nelson Medina, Institutional Sales Trader

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Sponsored by Chicago Board Options Exchange
An institutional sales trader with Divine Capital Markets LLC, Nelson Medina, Jr. is the latest star of DealBreaker’s new Better Know A Trader feature.
(If you missed the last installment, focusing on independent trader Peter Milman, click here. And 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”).
Here Nelson talks about what he does, how he was affected by September 11, and the ingredients of a good trade.

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 work on Wall Street and carry a big net, trying to scoop up trades.

How did you get your first job in finance?

I was day trading in college and when I graduated, my friend knew an investment banker at May Davis group. I was offered a job on my first interview.

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

If I was starting out now, I would want to go to an active and aggressive hedgie.

What is your favorite career accomplishment/best trade ever?

My accomplishment has been to grow every year, building relationships across the street. Any trade where the customer is happy and commissions are good is a great trade.

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

Harry Ramos, head trader at May Davis Group was a mentor and role model in business and in life. Unfortunately he passed away on 9/11.

What is the most important quality a trader should have?

Concentration is most important. Mistakes are something that cannot happen.

What is the worst character fault for a trader?

Chubby fingers are a big one. No one wants to be the next Mizuho Securities guy.

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

I actually left the business after 9/11. It was an extremely tough time to be on the sell side, or any side for that matter. I came back a few months later hungrier than ever. It's an addictive business, what can I say?

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

I haven't paid too much mind to when I'll retire or move on. As long as it's exciting and profitable I'll be on the street.

What is your motto?

“Who the hell is this bid guy that everyone is talking about?”
Whose teachings are more useful in your business—Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, Jesus Christ or Marquis de Sade? (Feel free to nominate another choice.)
Machiavelli for this business is the most appropriate. Need to be always moving, adapting, and trying to make things happen for yourself.