After-Action Report: RVM #62 with Victor Perez

Many thanks to this week’s guest speaker Victor Perez (USNA ’10) for his introduction to Veterans on Wall Street (VOWS), an initiative dedicated to honoring former and current military personnel by facilitating career and business opportunities in the financial services industry. 

Vic lives and works in Charlotte, NC, where he is Wells Fargo’s VP of Credit Derivative Trading. In 2017, Vic co-founded the Charlotte chapter of VOWS, the very first one outside New York City. In his talk, Vic shared the path that took him from the bridge of a submarine to the CDS trading floor.

There was a LOT of back-and-forth in this session! We got deep into the weeds about the qualities that suit both veterans in general and some veterans in PARTICULAR for life on the trading floor. We talked career paths—including non-trading careers in finance—and Vic connected the dots between a very particular set of military skills and their trading-floor analogues.

Have you got the patience to monitor a set of reactor valves for an entire starboard watch? Then you might have the make-up of a great CDS trader! 😁

As a bonus, we then dove DEEP into financial geekery. Vic addressed questions like:

  • Just exactly what IS a Credit Default Swap?
  • What role does a market maker play in the market ecosystem?
  • How does he think about different levels of risk: Taleb’s “risk of ruin” vs. the more mundane variety?
  • How does a trader approach risk, and how does that approach differ from firm-wide risk management?
  • How does a professional trader remove emotion from the equation and focus on the process, not the outcome?
  • How does a trader make hundreds of critical decisions per hour for hours on end?
  • What is the role of Artificial Intelligence in the trading world?

There were lots more… including a few we needed to cut from the Full Video in order to protect the innocent AND the guilty! So if you weren’t at the Meetup this week, shipmates, you missed out!

So if you’re headed into finance and want a hand up, or are already there and have a hand to spare, click over to VOWS and get involved! And if you just want a master class in what it takes to trade the CDX, check out the video. It’s a wild ride.

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