Macro Trader Colin Lancaster Discusses Fed Up
ValueWalk’s Raul Panganiban interviews Colin Lancaster, a 25-year Wall Street Professional. In this part, they discuss what made Colin switch to macro trading, his book Fed Up!: Success, Excess and Crisis Through the Eyes of a Hedge Fund Macro Trader” and who the book is meant for.
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What Led Colin Lancaster To What He Currently Does Today?
Boy, I’ve had such an interesting background. I am a lawyer by original training, you’re talking 30 or so years ago now. And for the last 25 years I’ve been working for what are some of the most famous hedge funds. So I’ve had this really unique career in that really started off by providing legal advice to these types of organisations, I found myself really engrossed by what it is that they do and really passionate about and trying to learn everything about them that I could and also trying to get a bit closer to the centre of the action to trading floors. So for the better part of 25 years now I’ve been running very large businesses within these organisations all focused on global macro investing.
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What Made You Switch To Finance And Macro Trading?
Well, I think for me, it was so interesting, I went to to law school, thinking that I was going to follow in the shoes of my father, who was a corporate lawyer in Detroit, Michigan, working for one of the large auto companies. And as I got into that process, I started speaking to my former roommates and friends from college who had gone down a different career path, and they had gone to work for one of the large investment banks are trading gnosis. And I was just obsessed by what they were doing and what they were telling me and, and you know that that was kind of a defining moment for me thinking that way, I really want to find a way to kind of Reel myself into this business and, and be doing that. And I was very fortunate in that. I had great mentors over the course of my career and people that gave me the opportunity to do that. Just that. But you know, I’m one of these really lucky people because I look back over the course of my career and I say, geez, I’m just really lucky. I love what, what I do. I think markets are sort of the ultimate puzzle to try to solve. And, and I’ve worked for just some some really amazing people in individuals who are really some of the icons of, of the hedge fund world now.
Has The Background With Law Has That Help With Your Investing?
Well, I think I think a legal background is really it’s been important for me in in a number of ways. I think that they teach you How to do incredible amounts of research into communicate clearly and to solve problems. And a lot of these things are easily translatable into what I do now for a living. Now, what law school certainly doesn’t teach you in what I’ve had to work very hard to either teach myself or make sure that that I’m working alongside great people is, is in the maths department, right. And you think about the quantitative skills and the coping skills in the math skills, that you need to be successful at that. And that’s the side that I’ve had to work really hard. But for me laws of background was what was, you know, an amazing start, because I feel like it gave me a great background and great options over over my career.
What Was The Inspiration Behind Fed Up? And Why Did You Write It?
Well, I, I have always been just an incredibly avid reader that there always sort of five or six books on on my nightstand. And I’m a very eclectic reader. So I’ll kind of go down different paths, different rabbit holes, in terms of what I’m reading at any given point in time. But is, is I’ve mentioned earlier, when I was making this leap into the business into this new world of hedge funds, I became this avid consumer, I read everything about that world in Wall Street. And a couple of my favourite writers, you know, are people like Michael Lewis, for example, and, you know, his his book, liars, poker, you know, you’re really chronically in his years at Salomon Brothers, they, at the same time that I was starting to think about this decision, what really impactful to me. And so this was my attempt to do something similar to kind of it’s a was a tip of my hat to some of these great people who had influenced my own decisions and to get into this business. And, you know, if I think about what they what people like that have done so well, they can take this, what is essentially a really complicated story. But but by by including in a really interesting cast of characters and making it readable, you know, that they turn it into this page turner that you don’t want to turn down. And I really admire that.
And I wanted to do the same thing. You know, if you think about books about Wall Street, or hedge funds, or these things, a lot of times, they’re their historical look backs, that they’re telling what happened in where I want it to be differentiated in this is to really have it come from, from a first person’s perspective to someone who is making these decisions in real time. So someone, you know, is a reader can really understand both the frenetic pace of life, the types of things that we’re looking at, to inform our decision making, but also, hopefully, so so readers can can could see my passion for for the markets. And it was a unique view, because I don’t think any other book, you know, does that same thing. But it was also in this incredible challenge, because, you know, I’m accustomed to writing about the markets, you know, in writing investor commentaries or investor letters, but but to turn it into a novel to have a cast of characters to make it more readable, so that it doesn’t wasn’t just a bunch of technical jibberish for people, what was was the real challenge. And, you know, I’ve never had to focus on character development before. And it was fun. It was a really great project.
Reading The Book Through One Session Without Getting Bored
Yeah, I wanted it to be exactly that something that you could get through on a plane ride or, you know, over a couple of sessions that, you know, in the evening, and, you know, I had this kind of debate to myself, but, you know, I thought to myself, you know, if you if you made it more technical and called it the history of quantitative easing, you know, only nerds like you would ever read this, you know, you have to put this in a format that, that people can really appreciate and take, again, take this complicated subject matter, but boil it down so that people can really understand it and understand the significance of it, because I not only wanted to chronicle this extraordinary period of time, you know, this market crash and a global pandemic, in the fear and isolation, everything that went into it. But I also wanted to explain, you know, some of the monetary tools that are really impacting work, it’s now so subjects like quantitative Using in the role of central banks in current markets in similar topics, and it was important for me to also to be able to address the those items.
Who Is This Book Meant For?
Boy, I think it will really resonate with people who are curious about the markets. You know, as I thought about my experience in reading, liars, poker, I wanted it to be the same. So you have someone who’s thinking about this as a career path, I think it’s kind of perfectly set for for those individuals, you look up on a bit of a broader platform, it’s, it’s those that do just, for whatever reason, are interested in markets interested in this period of time, because at the end of the day, this is a snapshot of probably the most extraordinary period that any of us have lived through over the course of our lives.