Peter Warren stumbled into the financial industry by chance. The result was Norway’s first stock exchange statistics and options market.
Two slightly morning-press people dig their way through the forest on Bygdøy in Oslo in search of a financier and manager Peter Warren early Monday morning.
He is a busy man – if we are to get pictures taken, it must be possible to combine it with the daily morning jog. And the light should be excellent at the tsunami memorial between Huk and Paradise Bay, Warren has stated.
He’s absolutely right. E24 gets a little less grumpy when we meet a very obvious Warren with the dog Barkey in glorious morning sun well down by the beach.
It’s not a drop of sweat to catch a glimpse of the jogger – we wonder if he has not started the jogging trip yet, or is just in unbearably good shape.
In defense of the uncle challenge
Based on his CV, we suspect the past – Five years as a professional soldier may have left a good foundation. Or 3,000 parachutes have completely emptied the man of his sweat – Warren has a strong fear of heights, he says in E24’s podcast Voksenpoeng.
Nevertheless, he enlisted as a paratrooper in the British military, one year after high school. It was only there that he discovered the fear of heights.
– Not by jumping in planes, but when we were sent on a climb. We were going to learn to climb mountains, and I do not think we were more than three meters above the ground before I got my rock foot from hell, that is. It was cruel.
The military was not a deeply thought-out career start. In high school, he had no plan. He got up at four o’clock every morning to deliver newspapers and make money, which did not work wonders for concentration.
– I was so tired. If you sleep only five hours a night, you are not cognitively able to absorb learning. Everything we know now, we did not know then – but I had to contribute and make money, that was just it, says Warren.
After high school, the friends went into first-time service. As a British citizen, he was not called in, and he rented an office, which was basically quite profitable. But in a family party, he was almost challenged by an uncle, who thought he had not spent a day in the military.
– This was probably on a Friday or Saturday. On Monday I boarded the plane to London.
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Dentist and gold trader
It was five years in the service of the British military. He was considered a giant nerd – always had books on assignment. The Armed Forces helped him into political science studies alongside. Later there were also studies in economics – but never finance.
The road there was created by chance. And an enterprising dentist.
– A friend of mine had read an article about a dentist – at that time gold was used as a filling in the teeth. He was annoyed at how much he paid and thought that here he was cheated. So he started buying gold on the stock market himself. Then it turned out that he became so good at buying and selling gold that he quit his dental practice and became a gold thread. Then I thought it sounds like something to me, says Warren.
Browse the gallery to read Peter Warren’s school diary.
He called the metal exchange in London, just as well. He did not know that they did not trade gold – it took place on a completely different stock exchange.
– I got to talk to someone there. He invited me to lunch and thought I had an interesting background. He put me in touch with some traders, and one of them asked me to show up at the office the next day. So I was there at eight o’clock, and then I had a job.
It was a brutal encounter with finance, says Warren. Fresh traders traded for their own capital and very little of the firm’s capital, before they could prove that they were good enough. Warren’s savings ran out on a few daring trades in the beginning. In retrospect, he is happy that the bang came then, and not later – then it could have quickly been about more money.
– But I got more capital. Then it was on again, and then it went better.
Wrote stock market prices manually
Another coincidence brought Warren back to Norway. During a holiday, he went to the Oslo Stock Exchange to see what was going on there. This is how he gained access to the stock exchange’s library – a place he continued to visit in the next few days.
– It was so rare for someone to be there that the stock exchange commissioner was informed about it.
The stock exchange commissioner, who was then Erik Jarve, came down to talk to Warren every day that week. On Friday, he received a job offer and accepted. The insight he gained from there, led to an innovation when he went on to the analysis company Vogt & Vogt. Warren wanted to make it easier to analyze using time series.
– There were no time series on the Oslo Stock Exchange, there was no database of stock exchange prices. So I came up with the idea to make it. We bought a computer, and then we sat down and entered ourselves, says Warren.
Three years of daily stock prices became Norway’s first chart book with price graphics of Norwegian shares. It came out every 14 days, and cost 9,600 kroner a year in 1981.
– Our result was tripled thanks to this. In ’83, the company was sold to Kreditkassen, which today is Nordea.
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– Even more important that you guts
Later followed years in the banking industry and the start-up of the Norwegian options market, before he began managing himself in his own company Moorgate.
– You have been to almost all parts of the financial industry – how did you do it without any education in finance?
– I learned from being in the markets all the time and absorbing information, and being curious, says Warren.
He also emphasizes that a number of contacts helped him learn – he recommends young people who want to advance in any industry to get a mentor. For Warren, an American financier he met on a course played a major role.
– He invited me to New York to introduce me to people. He knew I was interested in options, and I did it myself.
The American turned out to have a huge network. He arranged meetings with US financial leaders in minutes, and he sent Warren by train and night plane to go to meetings in both Chicago and Philadelphia.
– I got to meet the best out there who shared their knowledge with me. I thought about it afterwards, why were they willing to treat me so nicely? I think that is a humility I had towards the knowledge they had – then they thought it was all right to share, says Warren.
He believes he has saved himself many mistakes by having skilled mentors and access to good people. And then he has never given up.
– It’s about motivation, but it’s even more important that you guts. That you really want to try to get better all the time, says Warren.
Listen to the full interview with Peter Warren in E24’s podcast Voksenpoeng where you usually listen to podcasts, or in the player further up in the case.