Chocolate Milk and the Manager of the Million Dollar Club

Roni Stern of 10Markets talks to TradingPeople about the exciting world of commodities trading.

Who you are and what do you do?

roni 1My name is Roni Stern, I am 28 years old and I am the manager of the million dollar club at 10markets. Basically, that means that I am in charge of all the premium portfolios in the company, the asset allocation in those portfolios, and the strategies taken. Our offices are located in London, Berlin and the Middle East. Given our global presence, I travel to the other offices frequently at least once or twice a month for meetings with clients.

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I think that is the main difference between the regular retention in most companies and us- we actually sit down with clients and get to know them face to face.


Describe a typical work day.


Well, first of all the only thing that doesn’t change from one day to another is the time when I arrive at the office at 9 AM. From that moment on, you never know what’s IMG_7710going to happen. I guess it’s the nature of the business we work in that keeps me ‘on the move’ all the time.

I usually start my day with a morning brief, then I have some time to really speak to my clients according to our scheduled meetings. Most of my day I spend with my analysts, finding the right strategies, and since our working environment is so dynamic you basically start over day after day. One thing that doesn’t change is the ever-present adrenaline on our trading floor, especially when we have an announcement coming up and the entire floor is waiting for the data to be released- the best is during NFP when our traders are watching it live with us.


How is what you do important for the trading industry?


I think that the one thing that I do differently is that I make long-term commodities outlooks. A lot of people trade commodities, a lot of people trade long-term, but not many combine them in the way that I do. For example, I love researching about the demand in China for agricultural commodities, it always gives me really good opportunities in the market. I started buying cocoa when it was below 2600 earlier this year and to be honest, I still recommend buying it. So far, that has been my biggest effect while trading, and also the number one reason why people want me to trade for them.


Never in my life did I think that I could make more than the quarterly revenues of a branch of Starbucks in one trade


What do you love about your work?


The number one thing that I am grateful for at my work is the adrenaline, knowing that every single move I make has an influence on someone’s portfolio. Every week, I spend so much time speaking with lawyers for my clients’ contracts, and I’ve actually come to realize that at the end of the day, I have a say, and to be honest, it’s a big say. It’s like, when a lawyer gives his opinion nothing changes, but even when I whisper my thoughts, profits are created. Still, as nerve-racking as my job could be because of that, I cannot imagine myself doing anything else in my life.


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What is the quintessential experience of working in the trading industry?


There are so many things that become a routine because of this job, so it’s always nice to get a vacation from it from time to time. Because of my specific role in the company I get this sort of vacation all the time. At least once a month I meet with a client and every time it’s in a different place in the world. That being said, I do admit that it’s still mainly work, with just a tiny bit of fun.


How old were you when you had your first paying job?


The first job I took was when I was 13 years old, when I became my father’s adviser on exchanging money when he was on business trips. I would tell him to which currency he should exchange his HKD and at the end of every trip if I was right, he used to give me 10% of the ‘profits’.


Who do you admire?


Honestly, the person I admire most is Sir Alex Fergusson. I know, some might expect more of me, but truth be told, I think he is one of the most motivated and successful people in England and I dare say in the world.


Please share an anecdote that is unique to our industry.


I only have one weakness in life, and it’s my love for chocolate milk- I drink about 3 cups a day. Never in my life did I think that I could make in one trade more than the quarterly revenues of a branch of Starbucks. When I first started investing with cocoa contracts I was sure it would generate a nice yield, but I never thought that the investment would treble in just one quarter, simply because of demand growth in china. That can only happen in our market!


What advice would you like to share here that has been important to you?


One of my professors once told me- “It’s not about how many times you are right, it’s about how you deal with the times you are wrong.” I think that especially in our industry the constant pressure forces us to be on our A-game all the time, but we are all humans, from time to time we will be wrong, and we have to keep that in the back of our minds if we want to succeed. And that applies to any field in my opinion.

roni 2


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