The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2021 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.
Foreign Exchange

Trading rooms: Hormonally yours, or mine

A piece of academic research from Cambridge University, which examined the hormone levels of a group of male traders, garnered a lot of media coverage this week.

The report’s lead author, John Coates, apparently used to work as a trader at Deutsche, although I haven’t been able to find out in which area.

Following his return to academia, Coates decided to examine whether there was a hormonal influence on the way traders behaved. Explaining why, Coates wrote in the Financial Times: “This was a question I asked while working on Wall Street during the dotcom bubble. Many traders at this time displayed manic behaviour and a sense of infallibility. Equally telling was that women appeared relatively unaffected. Both facts implicated a chemical such as testosterone.”

Coates and his colleagues did find that traders’ daily testosterone levels were higher when they made above-average profits. “We found that a trader’s morning testosterone level predicts his day’s profitability. We also found that a trader’s cortisol (a stress hormone) rises with both the variance of his trading results and the volatility of the market. Our results suggest that higher testosterone may contribute to economic return, whereas cortisol is increased by risk,” they say in the report.

The report is quite interesting for several reasons. Coates and his team sampled 17 male traders from a mid-sized trading floor of 260 dealers, of whom just four were female.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree