words Al Woods
As far as British archetypes go, few evoke as many stereotypes like that of the City trader. Those who work for the financial behemoths of Threadneedle Street are constantly caricatured in media, often depicted as slick, young wheeler-dealers who approach everything as a competition and party just as hard as they work.
However, while there is undoubtedly a small element of truth to this, the reality is that the City traders are a fairly diverse bunch, with a wide variance of ages, backgrounds, skill levels, and day-to-day occupations within this label. There are, however, some characteristics that are common to most, if not all, City traders. If you want to know how this gilded strata of society lives, here’s how you can copy them in five simple steps.
1. Look the Part
One of the most important parts of living like a City trader is to ensure that you have the right look. This is fairly easy to follow, given that virtually every single one of London’s biggest banks and financial institutions has specific dress codes that must be followed by all staff. A monotone, muted colour palette for your suit is an absolute necessity. Pin-stripes and paisley are a big no-no. Never wear a blue suit with brown shoes. Despite what they might have you believe in films like Wall Street, never, ever wear braces. You get the picture.
2. Always Be ‘On’
Many people labour under the misconception that City traders clock out and stop working as soon as markets close on a weekday. However, this is rarely the case. Many traders not only clock up long hours in the office but also continue trading and following markets in their free time, often because they are so passionate about what they do. With the advent of mobile-friendly CFD broker platforms that allow people to trade CFDs and other assets on-the-go, City traders are switched on virtually every second of the day. While we don’t recommend working all day long, it’s noteworthy how many City traders seem genuinely passionate about markets and finance.
3. Stay Up Late
The images of hedonism and debauchery in films such as The Wolf of Wall Street do not really apply to the more humble lifestyles of the City traders, but it is absolutely true that a strong ‘work hard, play hard’ ethos permeates the office culture there. After-work drinks at the nearest pub is a treasured ritual, one that frequently spills over into dinner and the occasional bit of clubbing. In the City, many of the pubs are claimed by workers from certain banks. For Lloyd’s staff, The Grapes is the after-work go-to. Barclays staff can be found at the Golden Fleece. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is a favourite haunt of the Deloitte crowd. The list goes on.
While this is hardly an in-depth guide to the life of a professional working in one of the most demanding and high-pressure environments around, it certainly describes the rules and ethos that still govern the City of London’s biggest companies today.