Stocks & Commodities V. 25:6 (50-56): Interview: In Synch With Steven Primo by Jayanthi Gopalakrishnan
Are you trading according to your trading personality? Steven Primo can give you a clue about that. A nearly 30-year Wall Street veteran, Primo is the director of education for TradingMarkets. Currently, he also heads a private investment partnership where he is general partner and head trader. Previously, Primo was a nine-year specialist for Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette (DLJ), one of the premier investment firms on Wall Street. STOCKS & COMMODITIES Editor Jayanthi Gopalakrishnan interviewed Steven Primo on April 12, 2007, by telephone.
Q: Steve, how did you get involved in trading?
A: That’s a funny story. I don’t have any background in finance. In fact, I graduated from Loyola University with a degree in music. But my father was a stockbroker. He was always trying to get me involved in the markets, but I had no interest in the subject. The summer I graduated from college, I was in downtown Los Angeles looking to buy a cheap saxophone, and I saw the Pacific Stock Exchange. I thought, “My dad always talked about this place!” So I went up to the visitors’ gallery and saw the paper on the floor and all the people screaming and making hand signals —and I was hooked. So I got a haircut and applied for a job the next day.
Q: When was this?
A: The summer of 1977. I got hired as a runner, where you stood in front of the specialist and literally wrote down all the trades on a piece of paper and once a trade occurred, you wrote down the share size, the name of the stock and the price, and then took it over to the teletype operator and she put it up on the tape. I started out doing that and seven years later I became a specialist for Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette (DLJ).