"In this age of disruption, everyone can and should create their own standalone economy. Financial markets offer tremendous opportunities regardless of the state of the real economy."
Most started their careers in their chosen field by design and there are some who just stumble into one. Daniel is the latter.
What started off as accompanying a classmate for a job interview in early 1985 ended up as a lifelong career for Daniel instead. He ended been accepted as a commodity broker trainee. The world of commodity trading was completely alien to him, but he persevered and by 1987, he was handpicked to by one of the directors of the firm to set up a new operation in Auckland, New Zealand.
That assignment ended up totally changing the trajectory of his life. At that time, the New Zealand Futures and Options Exchange was the first futures exchange to go fully electronic and for the eager 27-year-old Daniel, it was an adventure and what an adventure it was.
However, the NZ exchange was hampered by the lack of liquidity. The fact that it was and still is the first exchange to open for business everyday did not help. Eventually, Daniel switched from trading the NZ Equity Index and Government Bonds futures to trading the one of most popular futures in Asia then – the Hang Seng Index futures.
When Black Monday hit on Monday, October 19, 1987, Daniel has the good fortune of having sold short a couple of the Hang Seng Index futures. Regulators in Hong Kong decided to close both their stock and futures exchanges to calm nerves. It had the opposite effect. Stock markets in Asia reacted by closing limit down – the maximum down move for any given day. London followed through and by the time the US markets opened, they too closed the day in limit down moves. This persisted for an entire week. Daniel was sitting pretty, and the rest is history.
He emerged from the experience financially richer and more determined to pursue trading as a career.
He returned to Singapore and started his journey which lasted to this very day. Upon his return, he secured his licenses from both the Singapore Monetary Authority, Singapore’s de facto central bank, and the Singapore International Monetary Exchange (SIMEX) as a Registered Representative. His first job was that of a gold dealer with one of the oldest and original founder members of the Singapore Gold Exchange – the precursor of SIMEX which was later renamed the Singapore Exchange (SGX).
In 1992, he joined the futures arm of Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore and for the first-time experienced what it was like trading foreign exchange. That was the time when retail participation in FX trading was limited to a privileged few who were high net worth clients of the bank.
By the time he left Standard Chartered at the start of the millennium in 2000, he was well versed in trading financial futures, gold, and FX. He next joined the smallest bank in Singapore - Keppel Bank - in the belief that he can be the ‘biggest fish in the smallest pond’ That panned out very well for him as his monthly income was consistently in the 6-figure bracket.
That did not last long though. End 2000 saw Keppel Bank merged with OCBC Bank - one of the Big Four banks in Singapore then.
Daniel left to join the brokerage arm of the French bank Société Générale, FIMAT. The turn of the millennium was a period of rapid changes and advances in 3G technology in communication upended a wide swath of businesses. By the end of 2006, Daniel decided it was time to move on. He became a bona fide full-time trader.
In the years that followed, he continually received offers to teach and speak. This took him all over Asia from Dubai to Tokyo and especially Greater China. In 2012, he set up Traders Academy International Pte Ltd.
In late 2018, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group appointed Daniel as their external and independent trainer/speaker for the Asia Pacific region.
2020 was to be another life-changing experience as global travel grinded to a total standstill. From a globetrotter, he like the rest of the world, is confined to work from home. He decided to write his first book. “The Accidental Trader” was published in August 2020.
The Pandemic is unlikely to be eradicated anytime soon and travelling is still not an option. So, like everyone else, he has turned to leveraging on emerging technology to broadcast his messages and views on global markets.
Welcome to the New Normal. Physical distance is no longer a barrier and what 2020 has taught us is to be resilient and the need to evolve by pivoting online. Life goes on.