An Insight Into What Forex Trading Used To Be Like Before The Internet

There is no getting away from it, the internet has defined the way that we work, rest and indeed play and nothing has changed more dramatically than the world of Forex trading. Before the internet revolution, trading was specific to sharply dressed city types who worked for large financial institutions and lived on a diet of caffeine and cigarettes. Obviously nowadays this has all changed and the arrival of the internet and of course online FX trading platforms means that Joe Blogs from down the road could be trading from the comfort of their own home.

So going back to the heady days of the 1980’s, let’s take a look into the daily life of a Forex trader…

A typical London trading day at the stock exchange started early with many traders getting into the office before 6.30am. They took their positions at the dealing desk, preparing themselves for what was about to hit them. Surrounded by phones, Reuters and telex machines, they prepared to do battle.

The Reuters machines would deliver news and financial updates. In fact, anything that would have a direct influence on the market itself. This meant that the dealer would have to keep one eye on this. Meanwhile, the telex machines would already be in full flow as messages were frantically being transmitted backwards and forwards. A telex operator (an important part of the process and an all seeing eye) would relay spot prices to and from the dealer as soon as they came up and would also request prices. In amidst all of this, the dealer would be on the phone placing and receiving calls to and from the Hong Kong stock exchange (which was coming to the end of its day) to get the latest prices on a spot deal. All of this could be happening within seconds of the London Stock Exchange opening.

Depending upon how the day was panning out there may well have been a lull in the proceedings and enough time to grab a sandwich, but the chances of leaving the desk could be zero, so a dealer would have to eat on the run. At 1pm (UK time) America and Wall street would wake from its slumber and the whole frenetic process would start all over again. By about 7pm Wall Street would be coming to a close and the dealer could finally hand their dealing sheet in to the back office where admin staff would process the paperwork. Finally they left the place that consumed so much of their time and could reflect on the successes or failures of their day.

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