SGX 728x90 Banner

Open Outcry Traders History Project Podcast: From Trading Floors to Life’s Crossroads, Tom Gould’s Journey Through Trading and Giving Back

John Lothian

John Lothian

Executive Chairman and CEO

In this podcast version of the Open Outcry Traders History Project video interview, Tom Gould reflects on his trading career and the life-changing experience of a heart attack that led him to give back to the community. Gould’s journey began unexpectedly when he took a summer job at the Chicago Board Options Exchange and then after a second summer received a call from his boss with an offer to forego law school and join the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE). His time on the trading floor had been eye-opening, filled with excitement and learning opportunities, so he took the job.

Gould’s early trading days were marked by dealing with volatility and trading both calls and puts. He embraced the brashness and inquisitiveness required to succeed as a floor trader, often making split-second decisions. Gould recalls the competitive yet camaraderie-filled atmosphere on the floor, where mentors like Peter Michaelson helped him hone his trading skills.

The economic opportunities on the trading floor during the late ’80s and early ’90s were vast, with fewer regulations allowing traders to have a competitive edge, he said. Gould said his insights into reading order books gave him an advantage over institutional traders.

He vividly recalled the crash of ’87 when his gutsy trading decisions paid off, but he was also humbled by the ’89 crash when a trade on IBM options went awry. Despite these challenging moments, Gould treasures his floor experience, even the humorous pranks and antics that added levity to their daily routines.

In the podcast Gould candidly discusses some illicit activities on the floor, mainly after hour trading, and shares an amusing tale of a showdown that ended with karate moves.

His best day as a floor trader was during the crash of ’87, where he made a substantial profit in IBM puts. However, Gould admits he was more of a steady trader than a high-risk swinger.

Conversely, his worst day was during the ’89 crash when he underestimated the market’s reaction to United Airlines’ failed buyout. He recalls fellow traders profiting from buying cheap puts while he endured significant losses.

Gould’s most vivid memory of the floor is the ’87 crash, where even seasoned traders were overwhelmed by the panic and uncertainty. This experience shaped his perspective on life and risk-taking, he said.

Reflecting on his trading career, Gould wished he had sought more advice and brought his later technical analysis knowledge to the floor. He values the lessons in trust, relationships, discipline, and adaptability that he learned from trading.

Eventually, Gould decided to leave the trading floor in 1994, seeking a change in his life. He recalls the night of his heart attack vividly, how he collapsed while talking to his son, and how his family’s quick actions, along with state legislation changes, saved his life.

His heart attack became a catalyst for change, and Gould, along with his son, now speak to high school students about the importance of CPR training and awareness. In the talks, he and his son emphasize the critical role timely intervention and education plays in saving lives.

Gould’s experience led him to become an advocate for heart health and CPR training, joining the Illinois Advocacy Committee for the American Heart Association, where he continues to give back and share his story to inspire others to take their health and safety seriously.

 

Crisis memory, geopolitics and the risks of financial contagion

Crisis memory, geopolitics and the risks of financial contagion

First Read Hits & Takes John Lothian & JLN Staff When Jack A. Wing died in 2011, I realized the industry was losing some of the pioneers of the financial futures era. Wing founded the masters program in financial engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology,...

We visit more than 100 financial news websites daily (Would YOU do that?)

The Spread

More Trader History Videos

Veteran Trader George Hanley Reflects on Trading Career and Family Legacy in Part Three of Open Outcry Traders History Project Interview

Veteran Trader George Hanley Reflects on Trading Career and Family Legacy in Part Three of Open Outcry Traders History Project Interview

In the third installment of the Open Outcry Traders History Project interview series, veteran trader George Hanley dives deeper into his trading career, family legacy, and the evolution of his business ventures. Conducted by John Lothian News for the MarketsWiki Education series, this segment offers a comprehensive look at Hanley’s experiences and insights from his time on the trading floors.

George Hanley Reflects on Trading Career in Second Interview Segment of Open Outcry Traders History Project Interview

George Hanley Reflects on Trading Career in Second Interview Segment of Open Outcry Traders History Project Interview

In the second part of the Open Outcry Traders History Project interview with veteran trader George Hanley for the MarketsWiki Education series, Hanley shares insights into his dynamic trading journey.

Hanley was trading every month of soybeans at the MidAm and he was one of the few people at the exchange who figured out how to trade the expiring contract and take delivery, if need be. He opened the necessary banking lines, and one time the last day before expiration, he bought the market limit down and sold it limit up because others were afraid to get caught and have to take delivery, he said.

Veteran Trader George Hanley Shares Family’s Legacy in Trading at CBOT in Open Outcry Traders History Project Interview

Veteran Trader George Hanley Shares Family’s Legacy in Trading at CBOT in Open Outcry Traders History Project Interview

May 16, 2024 — In an interview for the Open Outcry Traders History Project, veteran trader George Hanley recounted the rich history of his family’s involvement with the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). The interview, part one of three parts conducted by John Lothian News for the  MarketsWiki Education video series, explored the Hanley family’s deep-rooted connections to the trading world, dating back to the early 20th century.

Sam Gaer’s Open Outcry History Was a Path To Electronic Trading

Sam Gaer’s Open Outcry History Was a Path To Electronic Trading

Sam Gaer’s foray into the futures industry began at the age of 15 when he sought a summer job and was recruited as a runner on the COMEX. Initially hesitant to wake up at 7 a.m. and commute from his suburban New Jersey home to New York, he swiftly relented upon learning of the $5 cash hourly wage.

His first day saw him working in the COMEX gold pit, running orders to brokers. Despite not really knowing what he was doing, by the end of the summer he had figured out how to chart prices. He also knew about taking orders from phone clerks, running them where they needed to go, what types of orders there were and where the more important orders went. He said, “I just kind of took to it.”