Arnaud Lorioz is a brilliant commodity trader specialising in agri-business and a business manager in digitalization. With many years of experience as a physical sugar broker, he runs a quant research desk and a web development team to digitize commodities trading processes. As an entrepreneur by vocation. Today, at only 34 years old, Arnaud Lorioz is the founder and CEO of The Deepcore, a Paris-based commodities brokerage and Digital solution company which helps the pure players in the industry by developing tools for tomorrow's markets.
1# What is the best moment you can remember in your career?
When I first saw this question, I thought it was an easy one… But, actually, when I started thinking about my commodities journey, quite a few good memories came to mind.
I will tell you about one of my top three: this amazing business trip to Asia in 2016. I had been working on a “secret project” since 2015. It was a sugar-trading digital platform, designed and built to facilitate and accelerate trades between our clients. For strategic reasons, we had decided to launch the first version of the platform in Asia, focused on the Thai raw sugar markets. Of our clients involved in this market, 90% were based in Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok and Tokyo. We had managed to keep the project under wraps throughout the development process. So, after a year of development, we announced to our clients that I was coming to visit them the following week to present “something big”.
I remember that, on the day I left, I was preparing all the technical and commercial aspects of the presentation and then running through them “one more time” – it was very exciting to finally be so close to what we had been working towards for the previous year or so.
In a week, I visited all the major trading houses and it is an incredible memory. I can still picture their faces, and hear them saying “Wow!” – they had such positive comments and feedback when they first saw our disruptive platform for the industry.
I had the first meeting, then the second, then a third in another city, and so on… The comments got more and more positive, with the resulting boost to my self-confidence, naturally! After an exhausting week, I headed back to Paris and officially launched the system. The first cargoes traded online within days and, a few months later, we had captured some 70-75% of the brokerage market share.
Since that project, I have been determined to focus my career on every aspect of the commodities business that could be disrupted/improved in the same way using digital.
2# If you had to give just one piece of advice to a junior starting his/her career, what would it be?
Be ready to learn continuously and remember that the only certainty is that nothing is certain.
I think that the commodity markets business has changed a lot lately. I have noticed the pace of change really picking up since I started working. I have had to adapt some habits I had six or seven years ago because the market has moved on. Some correlations between futures markets and physical commodities do not exist anymore and we have to find some new ones.
I can also see from my brokerage position that your mentor will shape the commodities professional you will be in 10 years’ time. Pick the right one and your career will be amazing and full of surprises. Also, I reckon you should always be on the lookout for new opportunities. In our industry, every skill, piece of knowledge and network has to be regularly refreshed.
Lastly, enjoy what you do; enjoy every day at the office. See every interaction with experienced colleagues as a chance to shape the professional you want to become.
3# Do you have a Motto/Lucky charm?
There are a few phrases that I always keep in mind; I often repeat them to myself when I am in various situations. Some come from Nassim Nicholas Taleb (NNT) and others from… Daft Punk!
When a market sessions is hard, or when I have accomplished something challenging, something I considered impossible, these four words often run through my mind: “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”.
As for NNT, I love and share his views about the power of randomness in life. As I mentioned in response to one of the earlier questions, the only certainty is that nothing is certain.
4# What do you enjoy the most in your day to day job?
I enjoy three aspects of my job every day: the cultural, the social and the financial.
Culturally, we in the company are lucky enough to be able to talk to so many different people worldwide every day, and to share life experiences and habits. Despite the fact that we are standing in front of our trading screen for much of the day, we also travel around the world to see our clients a lot and that is always an opportunity to discover new cultures.
Socially speaking, our job is to help out the traders! It is a constant source of satisfaction to hear positive feedback from our clients when we helped them to swap origin X with origin Y, to bring forward a 25,000 mt vessel and swap it with another one in order to make a decent profit. When two traders rub each other up the wrong way, we use diplomacy to smooth off the rough edges. We also give them advice if they ask us for “recommendations” when they want to move from one trading desk to another.
Financially, we have a big responsibility. As we operate in an OTC market, prices can be volatile, uncertain, manipulated, etc. We have to follow a strictly ethical approach to our job and guarantee that our price settlement reports are accurate. They are often forwarded to the accounting desks, internal control desk, etc. The book value is also calculated on the basis of the OTC value of sugar worldwide. If we made a mistake by $2/ton, the P&L of a client with a long of 200,000 mt on that origin/shipment period would be hit hard! There is no room for error. I get satisfaction every day from realising that our job is so important to our clients, which forces us to keep the standard of our service as high as we can.
5# If you had to do it again would you chose the same career path?
Absolutely! I have always gone in whichever direction the (favourable) winds sent me. As a student, I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I discovered finance and trading very late. If someone had told me I would be a sugar trader one day, I would have said two things: “Is there really a sugar market!?” and “I don’t think so”. I got here through opportunities and random events!
6# Where is your favorite place on earth and why?
Paris and the Alps.
I am Parisian, but my parents were diplomats and I had never lived in Paris before my 19th birthday. Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, where I have always felt lucky to live. Walking past the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre or the Champs Elysées on my way home, to the office or just to grab a coffee makes me feel positive and inspired at work. In complete contrast with Paris, I love cold winters in the Alps: walking in the snow with my wife and children, far from the crowds, from trading quotes and mobile signals!
7# How could you qualify your relationship with Ampersand World?
I would like to thank you, first of all. It is also nice that you believe in The DeepCore project, working hand in hand with us to find the next top commodities brokerage talents. I have never considered AW like a headhunter in the classic sense, but more like a JV advisor.
The Deepcore Is the gathering of a physical commodities broker and a web development team , joining their skills in order to deliver to the Commodities markets the best trading experience possible. From the price discovery to the trade itself, our objective is to make the trading process in phase with the digital era.
For more details please visit The Deepcore Website