I had never heard of Paul Rotter until I interviewed Rafael Veron (one of his trading heroes). But the more that I found out about him, the more interesting and inspirational it got. I don't know him, nor have I ever spoken to him, so this is just based on my online research.
However, I did my best to piece together his story and find credible resources that could shed some light on who he is and how he has been able to achieve such amazing returns. He trades bonds, not Forex. While I find bonds rather boring, his story is so incredible that I decided to write about it.
After all, trading is trading, right?
While I certainly don't promote trading like Paul, his story serves as an inspiration to what is possible in the trading world. I hope you find this information as interesting as I did.
Some consider Paul Rotter one of the best traders in the world. If that is really true or not is anyone's guess. But there is certainly no doubt that he is one of the best.
He became known as “The Flipper” because of his unique trading style on the Eurex exchange that involved placing a huge order on the opposite side of the market that he really wanted to take. Then when other traders tried to jump in to take a ride with the big position, he would withdraw the order and take the opposite side of the trade to suck in all the bad trades and scalp a few ticks.
You could call it scalp trading.
By some accounts, he was trading as many as 180,000 contracts per day in 2005. That made him the largest trader of German debt futures on the Eurex. This “flipping” style was so successful that the exchange may have changed the tick size of their contracts in an attempt to level the playing field.
In 1998, he helped form a Dublin-based prop trading firm that started with $1.3 million. At the end of three months of trading, they were up to $6.5 million.
But this did not come without a scare. Given the size that Rotter was trading at the time, the firm could have gone under if they had one bad trading day. Luckily, things worked out and they were able to build their trading account.
For about a year, nobody knew who he was, but other traders just knew that there was an Ireland-based trader out there that had a unique trading style and was making a lot of money trading German bond futures. Rotter was despised by many traders who blamed him for their losses.
Some say that he was making as much as $5 million per month. This cannot be confirmed, but it would make sense, given the size he was trading.
According to one of his interviews, he is a Czech native who moved to Germany when he was 9 years old. He started his trading career on the bond desk of a German bank and soon after almost going broke, began trading again with Daiwa Securities. Within three months at Daiwa, he was trading 5 lots well, with the help of some trading mentors at the firm.
He mentioned in an interview that is biggest strength in trading is the ability to trade bigger when he has the advantage and to scale back when he doesn't or isn't trading well. This is a trait that I have seen often in very successful traders.
To find out more about Rotter, you can check out this interview on Trader Daily, but I'm not sure how long that website will be around because since being purchased in 2010, nothing has been done with it. You can read the original article about Rotter from Trader Daily here (PDF).
You can also visit his website. In typical investment management website fashion, there isn't much there, but you can get a feel for his investment philosophy.
Or learn German.
I hope that this post has given you some insight into possibly the most successful trader of all time. Even though he is not a Forex trader, good trading is good trading and there is always an opportunity to learn from it. His story is a great example of a small guy who went on to become one of the biggest players in a market.
If his story interests you, then dig into it and find out if anything about his story can help you trade better. Again, I'm not promoting that you trade like him, but extreme success is always educational. Much of this information comes from sources that were written back in 2004-2005, so I'm not sure how he trades now.
Also check out his firm, Rotter Invest. It gives you a little insight into how he trades.
To learn from other professional traders, be sure to listen to the Forex trader podcast interviews.
Do you know anything else about Paul Rotter that you can add to this post?