David Neubert ran the largest trading desk in the world.
At 32, he was the youngest Managing Director at Morgan Stanley that year, and he helped negotiate the firm’s Brazilian trading license in Portuguese. When the company asked him to move again to head trading in Japan, he quit the corporate world, radically changing his life’s course. He decided to publish the socially responsible investing magazine The Panelist, reconciling his knack for finance and passion for a greener world. David Neubert has been in the financial markets his whole adult life. Starting with first trade in college on borrowed money and culminating in a fifteen-year career in global financial markets where he traded bonds, derivatives and equities. He says he is done working for "The Man" in the corporate world. Often a contrarian, his analysis attempts to provide a fresh and independent understanding that only an ex-Wall Street trader would possess.
Previously, he worked in trading management positions in the equity divisions of Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers and as an analyst and trader for Chemical Bank (now JP Morgan Chase).
He has lived in Argentina, Brazil, Britain, Japan, California, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New York, and collects languages like currencies. He loves to blog about his exploits, whether he’s roughing it at the Burning Man Festival in the Nevada desert, grooving at the New Orleans JazzFest, blasting through the hills of the Berkshires on his bike, or taking in alternative-theater at the Edinburgh Fringe Fest.
He currently splits his time between New York City and Western Massachusetts.
Read his Finance Blog Neubert’s Trades
Ten Questions for David Neubert:
When did you realize that you wanted to get out of the rat race?
About 1999. But I’d just been promoted to Managing Director and they kept doubling my pay every year. The greedy bastard part of my personality was still stronger than the save my soul part for another 5 years.
Why don’t you just move to a beach somewhere and live a life of leisure?
Yeah right. I need too much stimulation. Beaches are a low stress, low stimulation lifestyle. I think I’d go more insane than I already am and ruin the low stress low stimulation environment for all the other people hanging at the beach. Now that wouldn’t be very good for the world would it?
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Rich and powerful. First, I wanted to be a firefighter, then an actor, a scientist, a mathematician.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Not having to sleep.
What’s the best decision you ever made?
In 2002 I took a sabatical. I was going to climb the himalayas. A friend told me that I was a pompus jerk and that I should come work with her and her husband at a summer camp in The NorthEast Kingdom of Vermont. I believe her exact words were, "You pompus jerk. I don’t know if you like kids, want kids, or ever were a kid. But you have to do this, it will be great for the kids and it will save your life." I took the resident director job and it changed my life.
What’s your biggest regret?
Not having children of my own.
Who do you most admire?
Teachers – all of them.
Who’s the smartest person you’ve ever met?
It’s a tie between Bill Gates and this guy I knew in college who quit after his freshman year to work on rich people’s yachts between New York and theCaribbean (I can’t even remember his name).
What is your favorite quality in people?
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned so far?
Forgiveness (still learning).