The Day With No Currencies

Stephen A. Simonis Sr reflects on his memories of 11 September 2001.

Stephen A. Simonis Sr. is a foreign exchange risk management executive with over 30 years experience in the FX market. 

It was a September Tuesday morning on a 15th floor trading room in downtown Manhattan. My position was under water and I was angry, aggravated and whatever other adjective you might want to add and it wasn’t even 8:30 am. Little did I know that in a short time I would not care in the least.

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A short time later, a colleague watching the TV said that CNN is reporting that a small plane had hit the trade center. Apprehensively we watched the coverage and although unspoken, we all realized that this was no small plane and most likely no accident. As we watched, someone said ‘look they have a replay’, however the hole in the first tower was still burning and it was no replay, it was the second plane. Our building shook so much we thought it we’d been hit.

Traders who make split second decisions on millions of dollars every day were silent. These confident, strong, decisive men and women stood silently wondering what to do. Finally we realized we had to evacuate. The walk down the 15 flights in a dimly lit stairwell was silent. No one spoke. I remember the eerie silence. Only footsteps and some muffled crying could be heard. I’m sure we were all thinking the same thing… what was happening outside? Were there anymore planes? Would we make it out?

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Once outside, people were crying and desperately trying to reach loved ones but cell service was pretty much non-existent. Someone got a call in from our London office who was trying to manage the risk we had in New York and he asked me what my position was. I could not remember. 15 years later I still do not remember. I had 2 goals at that point, to let my family know I was alive and to get out of there so the fact that I was alive did not change.

Looking up at the giant holes up in the sky, we saw people jumping out of the buildings. It is a sight none of us will ever forget. Then the first tower came down. We ran faster than any of us can really run. It was 5 agonizing hours later I was able to inform my family I was okay.  I thought then, what in the world was I so angry about at 8:30 am? How irrelevant it all seemed.

So while this is not an article on charts, currencies, profits or anything financial, it is a note to say that we all need to unite. It’s a note to say, remember to realize what really really matters. Family, friends and colleagues. A note to say we should unite as a human race, and hope and pray that there are never any more days where any of us forget our position.


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