Profit & Loss talks
to staff at Bull and Bear, a trader training centre located in Mexico City, about
their plans to promote FX trading in Mexico.
“Our mission is to form the biggest active traders community
in Mexico by offering high-impact education services and trading facilities.
There is a big social aspect to our programme and we’re trying to do something
that will actually benefit the Mexican economy and culture,” says Angel
Amancio, one of the head traders at Bull and Bear.
This mission was originally proposed by Bull and Bear CEO,
Carlos Reyes Zurita, when he founded the firm two years ago. Zurita then
recruited three former FX dealers – Miguel Blando, Jose Luis Morales and
Amancio – and operations officially began at Bull and Bear in December 2014.
The business is divided into two parts: a training academy
teaching individuals to effectively trade the foreign exchange markets, and a
“coffee trading room” designed to give traders a social environment in which to
come together and trade.
The trading academy courses consist of 10 hours of training,
delivered in two-hour sessions over a five-day period. Initially the academy
offered 25 positions on the first floor of the Bull and Bear building, but the
firm is now expanding to offer another 25 positions on a different floor.
The training course is open to anyone and has this far
attracted a mixture of intermediate level traders with some FX experience and
complete newbies that are having to learn how to trade this market from
The course starts with a basic education on the FX market,
before the attendees of the course then begin trading on a demo account and
then the instructors teach them how to conduct a technical analysis on currencies.
“The hardest part of the course is for traders to learn the
discipline that trading requires, the understanding that trading is not a bet
but a strategy designed in order to earn money. But in implementing this
strategy traders need to accept that there will be losses and develop an
understanding of when they should stop trying to recover theses losses,” says Georgina
Tellez, digital marketing manager at the firm.
Although there are other similar training courses open to
individuals in Mexico wishing to learn about how to trade the foreign exchange
market, the institutions offering these courses are also brokers, according to
Tellez. In contrast, although Bull and Bear has some partnerships with various
brokers, they are focused purely on the trading academy and trading room.
“There is a lot of information online, but what we offer is
the feeling of trading with a head trader that has more than twenty years
experience in the FX markets,” she says.
Building a community
Miguel Fuentes, finance and administration officer at Bull
and Bear, explains that once an individual has completed the 10 hours training
course they should have the basic skills and knowledge needed to operate
effectively in the FX market. However, although they might have the skills to
trade FX, some of the academy’s graduates will need somewhere to go in order to
do so. This is why Bull and Bear also has the coffee trading room, where
members of the room can go to trade.
“Individuals can call up or come in and ask for a position
in our coffee trading room and if there is a position available they can have
it. We then provide all the tools that the trader needs to trade FX – we have
high speed internet, we have a phone service, we have a
meeting room for ten people and a coffee and snack service. We have everything
needed to enable people to work as if this was there office, or indeed they can
make this place their office. That’s the concept of the coffee trading room,”
The aim, beyond simply providing a good space for people to
trade FX, is to try and build the coffee trading room into a trading community.
This is why on the third Thursday of each month Bull and Bear hosts a trading
nights evening for the members of the coffee trading room, where they are
encouraged to meet other traders and to share experiences and information.
In addition, Bull and Bear is promoting various social media
channels as a way to help build this community and allowing members to exchange
information about the markets or discuss various elements of trading.
“This networking and use of social media is a big part of
our mission to create this big trading community,” says Tellez. “A lot of
traders just sit at home and trade, they’re not active in a social environment.
We think that we can benefit them by providing a forum for them to network and
meet other traders to share experiences and knowledge.”
To this end, Fuentes says that Bull and Bear is working hard
on its outreach programme to young people that might be interested in learning
how to trade FX.
“We want to reach out to younger people to help them
understand a way to make their own money because financial conditions for young
people in Mexico will be changing with regards to retirement funds,” says
Tellez adds: “We want to help young people learn that
through trading they can create a fund that can help them throughout their
life. In this country we are currently suffering from a change to the current
pension system, which will mean that some people will have to depend purely on
life savings to support themselves when they’re older. So if we can teach a
young person to trade then they may be able to effectively sustain themselves,
even when they’re older, with the skills that they can learn here.”
The point about pension systems highlights what could be a
serious problem for the next generation of Mexican citizens. After 1997 reforms
were introduced that significantly altered the Mexican pension system, doubling
the amount of time that people had to work before they could claim their
pension and requiring all of that pension to be derived from the workers’
contributions to it.
According to Tellez, for a good quality of life after
retirement, it is recommended that Mexicans save $100 MXN daily between the
ages of 18 until 65. But, given that the Mexican minimum salary is $73 MXN
daily, there could be a whole swathe of young people who find it impossible to
contribute the necessary amount to enable a comfortable retirement.
Therefore the ability to increase earnings through trading,
either as a primary or supplementary income, could have tremendous value to
young people in Mexico, according to staff at Bull and Bear.
This desire to instill young people with a working knowledge
of how to trade financial markets is why Bull and Bear is currently working
with various universities in Mexico City to try and create a trading class
based on their academy programme.
But the plan is to eventually expand beyond the Mexican
“Right now we are focused on teaching people who are
interested in learning to trade in Mexico City, but we have demand from people
in the rest of Mexico who are asking us when we’re going to come to Monterrey
or Guadalajara. We’re working on the first step, which is local training, but
as we grow we will start sending people to other cities in the country where
there is demand and we will use the internet to expand our community even
further,” says Fuentes.
Bull and Bear funds itself by the fees that it charges
members of the coffee trading room and the attendees of its training course,
but the staff there are also keen to emphasis how the firm is striving to be a
socially responsible institution.
As well as working with the universities, the staff point
out that all the furniture in its office is recycled and that a plan is in the
works to make the street in front of their office more ecological by planting a
“We want to be a socially responsible enterprise,” says
This desire to be socially responsible, the obsession with
“networking”, the use of social media and the on-demand nature of the trading
room marks Bull and Bear as a very modern start-up business. Hopefully this
will stand them in good stead as they look to attract the next generation of
traders towards the FX market.