The Evolution of Commodities Trading (w/ Greg Agran)

Greg Agran, former global head of commodities trading and partner at Goldman Sachs, retired in 2017. In this interview with Tony Greer of TG Macro, he explains how the modern commodities trading environment has evolved over time. Agran also gives his view on global markets and relates an inside view of both the legendary Sumitomo Scandal and the Aluminum Warehouse Conspiracy. Filmed on May 2, 2019, in New York and published on Real Vision on May 16, 2019.

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About The Interview:
The smartest minds in finance sit down for incredibly deep-diving discussions. Peer-to-peer conversations between the rock stars of the financial world.

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The Evolution of Commodities Trading (w/ Greg Agran)
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Transcript:
For the full transcript visit: https://rvtv.io/310p1zG
GREG AGRAN: Should we really basically be unwinding the biggest book ever in history of base metals
markets just on the trading desk while everybody else is sitting there? He really was throwing the kitchen
sink at trying to keep the market elevated. So, there were crazy swaptions on physical. I feel like crude
probably the next five to 10 is up but I’m not $100 crude guy. But to me, it doesn’t feel like the general
market at large feels like gold is as big a barometer as it used to be. If one and a half percent growth is
what we get. But we also only have one and a half percent inflation, I actually think the stock market could
rally pretty strongly into that.
TONY GREER: Hi, this is Tony Greer of TG Macro. I am really excited for my conversation today with
Greg Agran on behalf of Real Vision. Greg is a Harvard graduate, a 26-year veteran of Goldman Sachs.
When he left the firm in 2017, he was a partner, head of commodity trading. We’ve got a lot to talk about,
and I’m excited to get started.
I’m here today with my friend Greg Agran, who’s a Harvard graduate, 26-year veteran of Goldman Sachs.
When you left the firm in 2017, you were head of commodity trading and a partner of the firm. So, we
have a lot to discuss, and I’m looking forward to getting started.
GREG AGRAN: Well, thanks for having me.
TONY GREER: We may as well get started right at the beginning, because I like to see where trader
brains like yours get started. So, why Harvard and how has that impacted your life today?
GREG AGRAN: I think we came from similar backgrounds. I grew up in Central New Jersey, public
school. You don’t really know what you’re capable of. And when I was applying, I didn’t think I was capable
of getting into a place like Harvard, but I was lucky enough to have a coach. He had a nephew that had
gone to Harvard. And he was really passionate about me trying to lift my goals a little bit. And he convinced
me to apply there. And I had a great trip. There were a lot more what I would call normal guys than my
impression was what a place like Harvard would have. I stayed with this awesome guy from Melrose,
Massachusetts. It was just like salt of the earth, Bostonian type. And once I came back from that trip, I’m
like, I’m going to Harvard. It’s what you know. Great opportunity. Great guys.
TONY GREER: Yeah. Are you still involved with the network today?
GREG AGRAN: Oh, yeah. Like I’m pretty involved with the Friends of Harvard Baseball, which is alumni
group that helps try to keep raising money so that they can do cool trips in the spring and pay for the things
that the school doesn’t pay for. And, yeah, I’m pretty involved with the Harvard community at large. I have
a couple scholarships outstanding there and a few cool things. It was a really big formative part of the early
years for me.
TONY GREER: That got you punching above your weight class at a young age.

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