Prop Trading Hours and Lifestyle
The hours in prop trading could be described as “normal-ish, but very intense and stressful.”
The average is probably 50 hours per week, though this varies by group, firm, and seniority.
The nice thing about trading is that if you produce, your hours don’t matter.
All the firm cares about is your P&L – you don’t get a higher bonus for working 10 extra hours.
The bigger issues are the markets you trade and your geographic location relative to those markets.
For example, if you’re in London, but you cover both U.S. and European markets, your lifestyle will be bad because you’ll have to wake up at a normal time, work European hours, take a break, and then trade U.S. markets that are 5-6 hours behind.
So, you might be working more like 12-14 hours per day rather than 8-10.
If you’re a junior trader, you’ll also have to stay after the market closes to do wrap-up work.
Your day will usually start with a morning meeting to go through overnight happenings.
Then, you’ll read the news and start trading once your markets open.
If you’re in more of a discretionary role, you’ll spend time doing the buying and selling and talking with other traders to get ideas.
If you’re more of a “Quant Trader,” then you’ll spend time tweaking trading parameters and working with the developers and quants to come up with more efficient strategies.
You tend to be busiest at market open and market close, with a lull in the middle of the day.
After the market closes, everyone gathers to discuss the major trades, who might have been behind them, and overall market activity and expected events for the week.