Faster, better, smarter: how proprietary trader PowerMart uses Montel to navigate fast-paced energy markets
We spoke to Dragan Rajcetic, one of the co-founders of proprietary trading firm PowerMart, to understand the mindset of a proprietary intraday trader, hear about the legacy of working for a true innovator, and to find out why his traders read Montel instead of the sports pages in the morning.
This blogpost is authored by a member of Montel's content marketing team.
15 years ago, most of the European energy market didn’t think a company like PowerMart could exist. A small proprietary trading company based in Denmark, covering all major European power markets? Almost inconceivable. Energy markets were the preserve of the big players, and the idea of such a venture operating – and thriving – in such markets felt ludicrous.
In December 2007, Dragan Rajcetic – one of the three co-founders of PowerMart – was hired by Danske Commodities as a trader. His focus would be the intraday power market, widely seen as “garbage” by the majority of the market – who were focused on lucrative futures contracts – at the time. “All the other traditional players and big players, they never thought that the intraday market was something that could be profitable.” Dragan and the other traders had other ideas. By focusing on the spreads between individual intraday markets, Danske was one of a few companies that pioneered cross-border intraday trading in Europe – and became very successful in the process. They helped prove that if you had access to market information and the vision to exploit opportunities, there was a place for specialised proprietary traders in the European energy market.
All the big players never thought that the intraday market was something that could be profitable."
The three founders of PowerMart – Dragan, Emil Meincke and Anders Rasmussen – were all part of the intraday team Danske Commodities during this era, and Dragan smiles when asked if their new company, also based in Aarhus, is a child of their former employer. “It’s just about being curious and taking steps that nobody else dares to take,” he says about the spirit which he’s carried over to PowerMart. The first year of the company was a ‘pilot project’, but the three founders quickly realised that they were on to something. “We were as successful as we were at Danske Commodities, but with smaller volumes.”
As a small company in a world that’s still dominated by larger players, PowerMart's success is dependent on being able to obtain and process market information rapidly. Whilst Dragan affirms that energy markets are more open than ever, he notes that transparency hasn’t necessarily kept pace, despite attempts – such as REMIT – to remedy the situation. It’s why services like Montel help them keep pace with the market. His quantitative analysts get hold of market data via Energy Quantified and all PowerMart traders are subscribed to Montel Online. “Instead of reading the sports news or about politics, you open Montel and read all the news," explains Dragan. While his traders make extensive use of price predictions and fundamental data in the platform, he also encourages them to read the newswire more widely. “You can always find out new things just by being curious,” he says, “things you didn’t even know existed.”
As a trader, instead of reading the sports news or about politics, you open Montel."
Now PowerMart has 20 employees, covering all major European power markets from intraday to futures, and has just last year launched a gas desk. As well as pure traders, they now have a small quantitative team, and make use of algorithms, like many European proprietary traders. Part of the reason behind their success has been their collective experience, despite their small size. “Our intraday department has on average, 10 years of experience,” says Dragan, “A lot of success stories, and a lot of stories where traders lost money but learnt from it.”
Working as a trader isn’t for everyone, Dragan acknowledges. “The job is very challenging, it’s stressful, and it can be very, very tough.” Which is why there’s another important element to the PowerMart story – competitive spirit. It’s not a coincidence that PowerMart’s employees share a passion for sports from skiing to kitesurfing and triathlon. Dragan was a former professional footballer and coach; one of his senior traders was a member of the Danish Olympic Sailing team. “It's not about making money,” says Dragan - a little surprisingly, “it's about winning against other guys.” He admits that his team is a little “crazy”, checking prices and market movements at night from their homes, trying to get an edge in a 24/7 game that starts fresh every day, but never really stops. “Every day we play in the Champions League,” adds the former footballer, “Every day is a game where you compete against the best European power traders.”
Every day is a game where you compete against the best European power traders."
Being prepared is, of course, half the battle, as any sportsman will tell you. And that’s why Dragan is happy to endorse Montel Group’s services, which make it easy to find whatever he might need. He compares it to a favourite coat: “Instead of having five jackets, you have one jacket, with ten pockets, and it's easy to reach all those pockets.”
Want to get access to the same information that Dragan and his team have? Sign up here for free trial.
You can also learn more about Montel Online and Energy Quantified on our Services page....
...And read more about PowerMart and their story on their website.