Fundamental Analysis of Forex Currency Rates FreshForex

Former investment bank FX trader: News trading and second order thinking part 2/2

Former investment bank FX trader: News trading and second order thinking part 2/2
Thanks for all the upvotes and comments on the previous pieces:
From the first half of the news trading note we learned some ways to estimate what is priced in by the market. We learned that we are trading any gap in market expectations rather than the result itself. A good result when the market expected a fantastic result is disappointing! We also looked at second order thinking. After all that, I hope the reaction of prices to events is starting to make more sense to you.

Before you understand the core concepts of pricing in and second order thinking, price reactions to events can seem mystifying at times
We'll add one thought-provoking quote. Keynes (that rare economist who also managed institutional money) offered this analogy. He compared selecting investments to a beauty contest in which newspaper readers would write in with their votes and win a prize if their votes most closely matched the six most popularly selected women across all readers:
It is not a case of choosing those (faces) which, to the best of one’s judgment, are really the prettiest, nor even those which average opinions genuinely thinks the prettiest. We have reached the third degree where we devote our intelligences to anticipating what average opinion expects the average opinion to be.
Trading is no different. You are trying to anticipate how other traders will react to news and how that will move prices. Perhaps you disagree with their reaction. Still, if you can anticipate what it will be you would be sensible to act upon it. Don't forget: meanwhile they are also trying to anticipate what you and everyone else will do.

Part II
  • Preparing for quantitative and qualitative releases
  • Data surprise index
  • Using recent events to predict future reactions
  • Buy the rumour, sell the fact
  • The trimming position effect
  • Reversals
  • Some key FX releases

Preparing for quantitative and qualitative releases

The majority of releases are quantitative. All that means is there’s some number. Like unemployment figures or GDP.
Historic results provide interesting context. We are looking below the Australian unemployment rate which is released monthly. If you plot it out a few years back you can spot a clear trend, which got massively reversed. Knowing this trend gives you additional information when the figure is released. In the same way prices can trend so do economic data.

A great resource that's totally free to use
This makes sense: if for example things are getting steadily better in the economy you’d expect to see unemployment steadily going down.
Knowing the trend and how much noise there is in the data gives you an informational edge over lazy traders.
For example, when we see the spike above 6% on the above you’d instantly know it was crazy and a huge trading opportunity since a) the fluctuations month on month are normally tiny and b) it is a huge reversal of the long-term trend.
Would all the other AUDUSD traders know and react proportionately? If not and yet they still trade, their laziness may be an opportunity for more informed traders to make some money.
Tradingeconomics.com offers really high quality analysis. You can see all the major indicators for each country. Clicking them brings up their history as well as an explanation of what they show.
For example, here’s German Consumer Confidence.

Helpful context
There are also qualitative events. Normally these are speeches by Central Bankers.
There are whole blogs dedicated to closely reading such texts and looking for subtle changes in direction or opinion on the economy. Stuff like how often does the phrase "in a good place" come up when the Chair of the Fed speaks. It is pretty dry stuff. Yet these are leading indicators of how each member may vote to set interest rates. Ed Yardeni is the go-to guy on central banks.

Data surprise index

The other thing you might look at is something investment banks produce for their customers. A data surprise index. I am not sure if these are available in retail land - there's no reason they shouldn't be but the economic calendars online are very basic.
You’ll remember we talked about data not being good or bad of itself but good or bad relative to what was expected. These indices measure this difference.
If results are consistently better than analysts expect then you’ll see a positive number. If they are consistently worse than analysts expect a negative number. You can see they tend to swing from positive to negative.

Mean reversion at its best! Data surprise indices measure how much better or worse data came in vs forecast
There are many theories for this but in general people consider that analysts herd around the consensus. They are scared to be outliers and look ‘wrong’ or ‘stupid’ so they instead place estimates close to the pack of their peers.
When economic conditions change they may therefore be slow to update. When they are wrong consistently - say too bearish - they eventually flip the other way and become too bullish.
These charts can be interesting to give you an idea of how the recent data releases have been versus market expectations. You may try to spot the turning points in macroeconomic data that drive long term currency prices and trends.

Using recent events to predict future reactions

The market reaction function is the most important thing on an economic calendar in many ways. It means: what will happen to the price if the data is better or worse than the market expects?
That seems easy to answer but it is not.
Consider the example of consumer confidence we had earlier.
  • Many times the market will shrug and ignore it.
  • But when the economic recovery is predicated on a strong consumer it may move markets a lot.
Or consider the S&P index of US stocks (Wall Street).
  • If you get good economic data that beats analyst estimates surely it should go up? Well, sometimes that is certainly the case.
  • But good economic data might result in the US Central Bank raising interest rates. Raising interest rates will generally make the stock market go down!
So better than expected data could make the S&P go up (“the economy is great”) or down (“the Fed is more likely to raise rates”). It depends. The market can interpret the same data totally differently at different times.
One clue is to look at what happened to the price of risk assets at the last event.
For example, let’s say we looked at unemployment and it came in a lot worse than forecast last month. What happened to the S&P back then?

2% drop last time on a 'worse than expected' number ... so it it is 'better than expected' best guess is we rally 2% higher
So this tells us that - at least for our most recent event - the S&P moved 2% lower on a far worse than expected number. This gives us some guidance as to what it might do next time and the direction. Bad number = lower S&P. For a huge surprise 2% is the size of move we’d expect.
Again - this is a real limitation of online calendars. They should show next to the historic results (expected/actual) the reaction of various instruments.

Buy the rumour, sell the fact

A final example of an unpredictable reaction relates to the old rule of ‘Buy the rumour, sell the fact.’ This captures the tendency for markets to anticipate events and then reverse when they occur.

Buy the rumour, sell the fact
In short: people take profit and close their positions when what they expected to happen is confirmed.
So we have to decide which driver is most important to the market at any point in time. You obviously cannot ask every participant. The best way to do it is to look at what happened recently. Look at the price action during recent releases and you will get a feel for how much the market moves and in which direction.

Trimming or taking off positions

One thing to note is that events sometimes give smart participants information about positioning. This is because many traders take off or reduce positions ahead of big news events for risk management purposes.
Imagine we see GBPUSD rises in the hour before GDP release. That probably indicates the market is short and has taken off / flattened its positions.

The price action before an event can tell you about speculative positioning
If GDP is merely in line with expectations those same people are likely to add back their positions. They avoided a potential banana skin. This is why sometimes the market moves on an event that seemingly was bang on consensus.
But you have learned something. The speculative market is short and may prove vulnerable to a squeeze.

Two kinds of reversals

Fairly often you’ll see the market move in one direction on a release then turn around and go the other way.
These are known as reversals. Traders will often ‘fade’ a move, meaning bet against it and expect it to reverse.

Logical reversals

Sometimes this happens when the data looks good at first glance but the details don’t support it.
For example, say the headline is very bullish on German manufacturing numbers but then a minute later it becomes clear the company who releases the data has changed methodology or believes the number is driven by a one-off event. Or maybe the headline number is positive but buried in the detail there is a very negative revision to previous numbers.
Fading the initial spike is one way to trade news. Try looking at what the price action is one minute after the event and thirty minutes afterwards on historic releases.

Crazy reversals


Some reversals don't make sense
Sometimes a reversal happens for seemingly no fundamental reason. Say you get clearly positive news that is better than anyone expects. There are no caveats to the positive number. Yet the price briefly spikes up and then falls hard. What on earth?
This is a pure supply and demand thing. Even on bullish news the market cannot sustain a rally. The market is telling you it wants to sell this asset. Try not to get in its way.

Some key releases

As we have already discussed, different releases are important at different times. However, we’ll look at some consistently important ones in this final section.

Interest rates decisions

These can sometimes be unscheduled. However, normally the decisions are announced monthly. The exact process varies for each central bank. Typically there’s a headline decision e.g. maintain 0.75% rate.
You may also see “minutes” of the meeting in which the decision was reached and a vote tally e.g. 7 for maintain, 2 for lower rates. These are always top-tier data releases and have capacity to move the currency a lot.
A hawkish central bank (higher rates) will tend to move a currency higher whilst a dovish central bank (lower rates) will tend to move a currency lower.
A central banker speaking is always a big event

Non farm payrolls

These are released once per month. This is another top-tier release that will move all USD pairs as well as equities.
There are three numbers:
  • The headline number of jobs created (bigger is better)
  • The unemployment rate (smaller is better)
  • Average hourly earnings (depends)
Bear in mind these headline numbers are often off by around 75,000. If a report comes in +/- 25,000 of the forecast, that is probably a non event.
In general a positive response should move the USD higher but check recent price action.
Other countries each have their own unemployment data releases but this is the single most important release.

Surveys

There are various types of surveys: consumer confidence; house price expectations; purchasing managers index etc.
Each one basically asks a group of people if they expect to make more purchases or activity in their area of expertise to rise. There are so many we won’t go into each one here.
A really useful tool is the tradingeconomics.com economic indicators for each country. You can see all the major indicators and an explanation of each plus the historic results.

GDP

Gross Domestic Product is another big release. It is a measure of how much a country’s economy is growing.
In general the market focuses more on ‘advance’ GDP forecasts more than ‘final’ numbers, which are often released at the same time.
This is because the final figures are accurate but by the time they come around the market has already seen all the inputs. The advance figure tends to be less accurate but incorporates new information that the market may not have known before the release.
In general a strong GDP number is good for the domestic currency.

Inflation

Countries tend to release measures of inflation (increase in prices) each month. These releases are important mainly because they may influence the future decisions of the central bank, when setting the interest rate.
See the FX fundamentals section for more details.

Industrial data

Things like factory orders or or inventory levels. These can provide a leading indicator of the strength of the economy.
These numbers can be extremely volatile. This is because a one-off large order can drive the numbers well outside usual levels.
Pay careful attention to previous releases so you have a sense of how noisy each release is and what kind of moves might be expected.

Comments

Often there is really good stuff in the comments/replies. Check out 'squitstoomuch' for some excellent observations on why some news sources are noisy but early (think: Twitter, ZeroHedge). The Softbank story is a good recent example: was in ZeroHedge a day before the FT but the market moved on the FT. Also an interesting comment on mistakes, which definitely happen on breaking news, and can cause massive reversals.

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Trading economic news

The majority of this sub is focused on technical analysis. I regularly ridicule such "tea leaf readers" and advocate for trading based on fundamentals and economic news instead, so I figured I should take the time to write up something on how exactly you can trade economic news releases.
This post is long as balls so I won't be upset if you get bored and go back to your drooping dick patterns or whatever.

How economic news is released

First, it helps to know how economic news is compiled and released. Let's take Initial Jobless Claims, the number of initial claims for unemployment benefits around the United States from Sunday through Saturday. Initial in this context means the first claim for benefits made by an individual during a particular stretch of unemployment. The Initial Jobless Claims figure appears in the Department of Labor's Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report, which compiles information from all of the per-state departments that report to the DOL during the week. A typical number is between 100k and 250k and it can vary quite significantly week-to-week.
The Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report contains data that lags 5 days behind. For example, the Report issued on Thursday March 26th 2020 contained data about the week ending on Saturday March 21st 2020.
In the days leading up to the Report, financial companies will survey economists and run complicated mathematical models to forecast the upcoming Initial Jobless Claims figure. The results of surveyed experts is called the "consensus"; specific companies, experts, and websites will also provide their own forecasts. Different companies will release different consensuses. Usually they are pretty close (within 2-3k), but for last week's record-high Initial Jobless Claims the reported consensuses varied by up to 1M! In other words, there was essentially no consensus.
The Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report is released each Thursday morning at exactly 8:30 AM ET. (On Thanksgiving the Report is released on Wednesday instead.) Media representatives gather at the Frances Perkins Building in Washington DC and are admitted to the "lockup" at 8:00 AM ET. In order to be admitted to the lockup you have to be a credentialed member of a media organization that has signed the DOL lockup agreement. The lockup room is small so there is a limited number of spots.
No phones are allowed. Reporters bring their laptops and connect to a local network; there is a master switch on the wall that prevents/enables Internet connectivity on this network. Once the doors are closed the Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report is distributed, with a heading that announces it is "embargoed" (not to be released) prior to 8:30 AM. Reporters type up their analyses of the report, including extracting key figures like Initial Jobless Claims. They load their write-ups into their companies' software, which prepares to send it out as soon as Internet is enabled. At 8:30 AM the DOL representative in the room flips the wall switch and all of the laptops are connected to the Internet, releasing their write-ups to their companies and on to their companies' partners.
Many of those media companies have externally accessible APIs for distributing news. Media aggregators and squawk services (like RanSquawk and TradeTheNews) subscribe to all of these different APIs and then redistribute the key economic figures from the Report to their own subscribers within one second after Internet is enabled in the DOL lockup.
Some squawk services are text-based while others are audio-based. FinancialJuice.com provides a free audio squawk service; internally they have a paid subscription to a professional squawk service and they simply read out the latest headlines to their own listeners, subsidized by ads on the site. I've been using it for 4 months now and have been pretty happy. It usually lags behind the official release times by 1-2 seconds and occasionally they verbally flub the numbers or stutter and have to repeat, but you can't beat the price!
Important - I’m not affiliated with FinancialJuice and I’m not advocating that you use them over any other squawk. If you use them and they misspeak a number and you lose all your money don’t blame me. If anybody has any other free alternatives please share them!

How the news affects forex markets

Institutional forex traders subscribe to these squawk services and use custom software to consume the emerging data programmatically and then automatically initiate trades based on the perceived change to the fundamentals that the figures represent.
It's important to note that every institution will have "priced in" their own forecasted figures well in advance of an actual news release. Forecasts and consensuses all come out at different times in the days leading up to a news release, so by the time the news drops everybody is really only looking for an unexpected result. You can't really know what any given institution expects the value to be, but unless someone has inside information you can pretty much assume that the market has collectively priced in the experts' consensus. When the news comes out, institutions will trade based on the difference between the actual and their forecast.
Sometimes the news reflects a real change to the fundamentals with an economic effect that will change the demand for a currency, like an interest rate decision. However, in the case of the Initial Jobless Claims figure, which is a backwards-looking metric, trading is really just self-fulfilling speculation that market participants will buy dollars when unemployment is low and sell dollars when unemployment is high. Generally speaking, news that reflects a real economic shift has a bigger effect than news that only matters to speculators.
Massive and extremely fast news-based trades happen within tenths of a second on the ECNs on which institutional traders are participants. Over the next few seconds the resulting price changes trickle down to retail traders. Some economic news, like Non Farm Payroll Employment, has an effect that can last minutes to hours as "slow money" follows behind on the trend created by the "fast money". Other news, like Initial Jobless Claims, has a short impact that trails off within a couple minutes and is subsequently dwarfed by the usual pseudorandom movements in the market.
The bigger the difference between actual and consensus, the bigger the effect on any given currency pair. Since economic news releases generally relate to a single currency, the biggest and most easily predicted effects are seen on pairs where one currency is directly effected and the other is not affected at all. Personally I trade USD/JPY because the time difference between the US and Japan ensures that no news will be coming out of Japan at the same time that economic news is being released in the US.
Before deciding to trade any particular news release you should measure the historical correlation between the release (specifically, the difference between actual and consensus) and the resulting short-term change in the currency pair. Historical data for various news releases (along with historical consensus data) is readily available. You can pay to get it exported into Excel or whatever, or you can scroll through it for free on websites like TradingEconomics.com.
Let's look at two examples: Initial Jobless Claims and Non Farm Payroll Employment (NFP). I collected historical consensuses and actuals for these releases from January 2018 through the present, measured the "surprise" difference for each, and then correlated that to short-term changes in USD/JPY at the time of release using 5 second candles.
I omitted any releases that occurred simultaneously as another major release. For example, occasionally the monthly Initial Jobless Claims comes out at the exact same time as the monthly Balance of Trade figure, which is a more significant economic indicator and can be expected to dwarf the effect of the Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report.
USD/JPY correlation with Initial Jobless Claims (2018 - present)
USD/JPY correlation with Non Farm Payrolls (2018 - present)
The horizontal axes on these charts is the duration (in seconds) after the news release over which correlation was calculated. The vertical axis is the Pearson correlation coefficient: +1 means that the change in USD/JPY over that duration was perfectly linearly correlated to the "surprise" in the releases; -1 means that the change in USD/JPY was perfectly linearly correlated but in the opposite direction, and 0 means that there is no correlation at all.
For Initial Jobless Claims you can see that for the first 30 seconds USD/JPY is strongly negatively correlated with the difference between consensus and actual jobless claims. That is, fewer-than-forecast jobless claims (fewer newly unemployed people than expected) strengthens the dollar and greater-than-forecast jobless claims (more newly unemployed people than expected) weakens the dollar. Correlation then trails off and changes to a moderate/weak positive correlation. I interpret this as algorithms "buying the dip" and vice versa, but I don't know for sure. From this chart it appears that you could profit by opening a trade for 15 seconds (duration with strongest correlation) that is long USD/JPY when Initial Jobless Claims is lower than the consensus and short USD/JPY when Initial Jobless Claims is higher than expected.
The chart for Non Farm Payroll looks very different. Correlation is positive (higher-than-expected payrolls strengthen the dollar and lower-than-expected payrolls weaken the dollar) and peaks at around 45 seconds, then slowly decreases as time goes on. This implies that price changes due to NFP are quite significant relative to background noise and "stick" even as normal fluctuations pick back up.
I wanted to show an example of what the USD/JPY S5 chart looks like when an "uncontested" (no other major simultaneously news release) Initial Jobless Claims and NFP drops, but unfortunately my broker's charts only go back a week. (I can pull historical data going back years through the API but to make it into a pretty chart would be a bit of work.) If anybody can get a 5-second chart of USD/JPY at March 19, 2020, UTC 12:30 and/or at February 7, 2020, UTC 13:30 let me know and I'll add it here.

Backtesting

So without too much effort we determined that (1) USD/JPY is strongly negatively correlated with the Initial Jobless Claims figure for the first 15 seconds after the release of the Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report (when no other major news is being released) and also that (2) USD/JPY is strongly positively correlated with the Non Farms Payroll figure for the first 45 seconds after the release of the Employment Situation report.
Before you can assume you can profit off the news you have to backtest and consider three important parameters.
Entry speed: How quickly can you realistically enter the trade? The correlation performed above was measured from the exact moment the news was released, but realistically if you've got your finger on the trigger and your ear to the squawk it will take a few seconds to hit "Buy" or "Sell" and confirm. If 90% of the price move happens in the first second you're SOL. For back-testing purposes I assume a 5 second delay. In practice I use custom software that opens a trade with one click, and I can reliably enter a trade within 2-3 seconds after the news drops, using the FinancialJuice free squawk.
Minimum surprise: Should you trade every release or can you do better by only trading those with a big enough "surprise" factor? Backtesting will tell you whether being more selective is better long-term or not.
Hold time: The optimal time to hold the trade is not necessarily the same as the time of maximum correlation. That's a good starting point but it's not necessarily the best number. Backtesting each possible hold time will let you find the best one.
The spread: When you're only holding a position open for 30 seconds, the spread will kill you. The correlations performed above used the midpoint price, but in reality you have to buy at the ask and sell at the bid. Brokers aren't stupid and the moment volume on the ECN jumps they will widen the spread for their retail customers. The only way to determine if the news-driven price movements reliably overcome the spread is to backtest.
Stops: Personally I don't use stops, neither take-profit nor stop-loss, since I'm automatically closing the trade after a fixed (and very short) amount of time. Additionally, brokers have a minimum stop distance; the profits from scalping the news are so slim that even the nearest stops they allow will generally not get triggered.
I backtested trading these two news releases (since 2018), using a 5 second entry delay, real historical spreads, and no stops, cycling through different "surprise" thresholds and hold times to find the combination that returns the highest net profit. It's important to maximize net profit, not expected value per trade, so you don't over-optimize and reduce the total number of trades taken to one single profitable trade. If you want to get fancy you can set up a custom metric that combines number of trades, expected value, and drawdown into a single score to be maximized.
For the Initial Jobless Claims figure I found that the best combination is to hold trades open for 25 seconds (that is, open at 5 seconds elapsed and hold until 30 seconds elapsed) and only trade when the difference between consensus and actual is 7k or higher. That leads to 30 trades taken since 2018 and an expected return of... drumroll please... -0.0093 yen per unit per trade.
Yep, that's a loss of approx. $8.63 per lot.
Disappointing right? That's the spread and that's why you have to backtest. Even though the release of the Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report has a strong correlation with movement in USD/JPY, it's simply not something that a retail trader can profit from.
Let's turn to the NFP. There I found that the best combination is to hold trades open for 75 seconds (that is, open at 5 seconds elapsed and hold until 80 seconds elapsed) and trade every single NFP (no minimum "surprise" threshold). That leads to 20 trades taken since 2018 and an expected return of... drumroll please... +0.1306 yen per unit per trade.
That's a profit of approx. $121.25 per lot. Not bad for 75 seconds of work! That's a +6% ROI at 50x leverage.

Make it real

If you want to do this for realsies, you need to run these numbers for all of the major economic news releases. Markit Manufacturing PMI, Factory Orders MoM, Trade Balance, PPI MoM, Export and Import Prices, Michigan Consumer Sentiment, Retail Sales MoM, Industrial Production MoM, you get the idea. You keep a list of all of the releases you want to trade, when they are released, and the ideal hold time and "surprise" threshold. A few minutes before the prescribed release time you open up your broker's software, turn on your squawk, maybe jot a few notes about consensuses and model forecasts, and get your finger on the button. At the moment you hear the release you open the trade in the correct direction, hold it (without looking at the chart!) for the required amount of time, then close it and go on with your day.
Some benefits of trading this way: * Most major economic releases come out at either 8:30 AM ET or 10:00 AM ET, and then you're done for the day. * It's easily backtestable. You can look back at the numbers and see exactly what to expect your return to be. * It's fun! Packing your trading into 30 seconds and knowing that institutions are moving billions of dollars around as fast as they can based on the exact same news you just read is thrilling. * You can wow your friends by saying things like "The St. Louis Fed had some interesting remarks on consumer spending in the latest Beige Book." * No crayons involved.
Some downsides: * It's tricky to be fast enough without writing custom software. Some broker software is very slow and requires multiple dialog boxes before a position is opened, which won't cut it. * The profits are very slim, you're not going to impress your instagram followers to join your expensive trade copying service with your 30-second twice-weekly trades. * Any friends you might wow with your boring-ass economic talking points are themselves the most boring people in the world.
I hope you enjoyed this long as fuck post and you give trading economic news a try!
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The era of artificial intelligence: how robots manage capital

The era of artificial intelligence: how robots manage capital
Interview with Alexander Tatarsky, creator of the quantum fund
How well do you know artificial intelligence? Perhaps you have never heard of it, or maybe it’s quite the opposite and robots are already managing your capital.
We were able to interview Alexander Tatarsky — an experienced trader, co-founder and financial director of the Mercury Foundation — a fund that manages capital through A.I.! Alexander introduced us to the concept of his organization and explained the unique idea behind the project.

https://preview.redd.it/bulvn62tuw021.jpg?width=700&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=7c6357c83fe7c7afd904a8e9718447801fbdc8a1
Alexander, why did you start trading? How did you start and why did you decide to choose this particular field?
Many people know that the Chinese word “crisis” consists of two hieroglyphs. One means “danger”, and the other one — “opportunity.” I considered a global financial crisis of 2008 an opportunity. That’s when I began my professional career in the financial markets. Before those events, I was always very interested in economics (thanks to my economic education!) and financial markets, but I focused on 2 aspects: first is financial markets as an instrument of global management of peoples and their well-being, second — financial markets as an example of the fundamental laws of nature. I always wanted to get closer to understanding the essence of these processes.
However, until 2008, I was just a curious observer. I read books, watched major events, learned to compare facts. I was running a business that had nothing to do with the markets. The events of 2008 encouraged me to make my first profitable deals. And then I realized that this field is not only about self-development and curiosity — it could also become a source of permanent income. With the right approach, this income can be much higher than in other sectors of the economy. So the choice was made.
What were the reasons for creating an Investment Foundation managed by artificial intelligence?
Anyone who is professionally engaged in money management considers automation at some point. Computers are much more efficient than human when it comes to assets management. Robots are taking over, so it was a logical step for us. From the very beginning, we realized the inferiority of the ready-made solutions on the market and did not even consider using other people’s services. We could use the A.I, and we did. It was actually not even a question, it’s like asking an artist — why are you painting? Because we are the best at managing money.
What is the market share (in particular, on cryptocurrency market) of the investment funds (including funds managed by artificial intelligence) and how do you handle the demand?
If we talk about traditional financial markets, then, according to the latest data, the share of investment funds in the total volume of transactions amounts to 70%. At the same time, quantum funds account for at least 27% of all transactions on US exchanges. As for the cryptocurrency market, they are so riddled with fraud and unrealized projects that we have long since ceased to care about the competitors.
There are many ordinary funds, but 80% of them close in a year and 95% of them — in three. We do not consider them competitors, as we are focused on long-term work. All their clients will eventually come to us. In long-term, the manual traders do not stand a chance against the robot.
Are there any companies similar to yours in the world?
Yes, sure. In our industry, only a few succeeded in achieving the degree of automation that we have. The most successful of our colleagues use qualitatively different algorithms that still require regular manual testing and customization. In most cases, those “algorithm factories” constantly have to adapt to the new market conditions. Our algorithms require human participation only at the development stage. Simply put, in most cases, operators with remote controls always follow their robots, but our robot can walk on its own.
The market offers a huge number of different robots that promise to increase your capital in Forex, binary options, cryptocurrency. How are you different from them? Is it possible to earn money with such robots?
Yes, certainly. If you are good at trading and investing. If you have clear money management rules backed by math. If not, you can only lose. And robots have one more limitation — they cannot bring you the profit all the time. Such robots offer a huge number of strategies, half of which is profitable, and the other half is not. Because a person is ultimately responsible for choosing strategies. That is, it is not the robot that makes the decisions, but the user who sets the trading rules. In some cases, it helps to earn quickly, and in others — to lose quickly. Such robots do not guarantee earnings, they only ensure fast trading. We have a radically different approach. Bruce Lee said: “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who had practiced one kick 10,000 times”. Therefore, instead of ten thousand strategies, we have been developing only one strategy for several years.
The robots you are talking about are the first level. There are many of them and to me they are useless. Among our competitors, there are funds that trade in traditional markets using second-level robots. There are not many of them, but they all deliver consistently good results. One of the leaders in our industry is the Medallion Foundation, created by Renaissance Technologies. For several decades, their mathematical model has been continuously multiplying their capital.
We consistently implement the same model of asset management, completely removing a person from decision-making process. Development will take a few more years, but even now, our robot is already trading at the professional level. The robot needs a person only for controlling and learning new functions.
Some believe that technical analysis does not apply to cryptocurrency, what do you think about this statement?
I actually do not care; it is rather a question of how competent is the person who said this. If it works for you, you can use it. I think you will agree that a professional can play even on one string, and the amateur can find a thousand reasons to give up. The only thing I can do is ask in return — what can the market offer instead of technical analysis? Intuitive news trading? Fundamental analysis? Neural network?
Technical analysis is a complex discipline and it takes a lot of time and mental strength to fully master it. It could take a trader 10 years to learn it. Not everyone succeeds, so technical analysis does not work for everyone.
I favor a more specific approach: if it doesn’t work for someone, they should figure out why, because it is working for us quite well.
Where does your Foundation operate?
We advertise ourselves as a global foundation. In today’s world, good business has to be global. Among our clients are representatives of the Russian Federation, the European Union, Great Britain and China. We continue to expand our reach. As for trade, over the next 6 months we will be able to manage capital on all largest exchanges of the world.
Why is there a minimum deposit amount of $ 10,000?
There are several reasons. First, we need funds to maintain client accounts. We do not charge a monthly fee, only a percentage of the profits. Therefore, the size of the deposit has a lower limit.
Second, $10k is not much for our target audience. It also acts as a filter that shows the solvency and how serious the intentions of a potential client are. We do not target the mass market and do not deal with dumping. On the contrary, we provide long-term, high-quality services for those who can afford it.
Third, the robot independently manages risks and simultaneously controls all portfolios. We don’t like it if someone can’t enter the position because the share calculated for him by the robot is not allowed on the exchange due to restrictions.
Are there any differences in the management of different amounts of investment? If yes, what are they and are there any similarities in the management of investments of one quantitative segment?
Our job is to describe all the differences with strict mathematical formulas and test them thousands of times under all possible conditions. Therefore, there is no big difference for us between a 5 mln purchase or 5k purchase. Everything is described, tested, calculated, everything works.
Differences in the management of large capital are even more drastic. The psychological factor in this case becomes critical. The same trader managing a demo account or a million dollar account will behave like two completely different people and make fundamentally different decisions. Our task is to completely eliminate the human factor from the money management process.
What are the chances for new instruments to get into the Foundation’s portfolio? What is the basis of the selection of certain tools? Are there any common priority tools for different segments of investors?
Any promising liquid instrument can be included in the portfolio of the Foundation, and the choice depends on many factors. The robot evaluates and filters the instrument on the basis of special algorithms and determines the share of an asset in the portfolio based on the results of the evaluation. All decisions must be mathematically justified, taking into account the analysis of the maximum possible amount of data. The more data on the instrument we have, the higher the quality of the decisions made and the share of the instrument in the portfolio. The choice does not depend on the category of investor. If the instrument is promising and liquid, all our clients will get profit.
Can you tell more about the terms of settlements between the Foundations and investors?
If someone in our market guarantees you a good profit and even specifies when you could get it, then I in turn guarantee that this is a fraud. We are most interested in customer profits, as this is the only way to offset the costs of managing his account. Imagine the following situation:
The new client opened a 10k deposit and a month later, he had a total of 12k in his account. At the beginning of next month, we will ask you to transfer us 1k as a fee. 11k remains on his account, but a month later, suppose, unsuccessful deals were made and there is 10k on his account again. In this case, we do not require any payments until the deposit exceeds 11k.
Suppose a month later he has 12k again. Then we will charge 50% of the difference between 11k and 12k, i.e. $500. The fact that the entire team of our foundation has long transferred the management of all its assets to our robot could also count as a guarantee. We have a direct motivation to make trading as successful as possible. We do not use the services of other funds or managers. And the second fact is that the portfolios of all clients, including our personal ones, are managed simultaneously.
Can you share the success stories of the Foundation?
We want to implement a demo account for this purpose. We plan to fill it with transactions and statistics from 2017, copied from real accounts, but without disclosing personal data. The demo-account will include a history of the average client from the beginning of 2017.
It will explain how the robot trades and what profit you can expect from it.
Do you believe that private investors, to some extent, are competitors to investment funds? What, in your opinion, is it more efficient and profitable: being a private investor or investing with funds?
No, we consider them not competitors, but clients. The vast majority of our clients already have experience in investing. Beginners often think they are the smartest, that they don’t need to pay someone 50% of the income when they can easily buy and sell themselves. I admit that in the short run a private investor can earn more than a robot — but definitely not over a long period. The robot ensures a stable result day after day, year after year, while people are prone to stress, illness and psychological weakness.
Also, funds, compared with private investors, have more compelling ratio of risk and return. At some time, a private investor may gain the same profit as a fund. However, the fund will achieve the same profit with much less risk. My money is controlled by a robot, although I believe in my capabilities as a trader.
Does the Foundation have an affiliate program?
Yes, we have an affiliate program, and at the same time, we are interested in collaborating with specialists for mutually beneficial cooperation. For example, we could consider providing service for the service for really good experts in design, advertising and marketing. If you have such specialists, let them send me their proposals and CVs. See contact details on our website.
What kind of future do you see for ordinary investment funds and funds like the Mercury Foundation?
It is clear to me that the share of funds managed by robots will grow steadily. Most likely, in a couple of decades only old-timers will manage money manually.
Robotization applies to all spheres of life and investment has already come into play. For example, the head of Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund — the world’s largest pension fund — believes that artificial intelligence will soon completely replace asset managers. And I fully agree with him.
And the largest hedge fund Bridgewater Associates is developing a decision-making algorithm that can replace all management personnel over time.
How do you look at the cryptocurrency market from a global perspective? Will the Bitcoin climb to 20,000$ again? And what will happen to the altcoins?
If we talk about the long term prospect, like 3–5–7–10 years, then I’ll say that today we see the early stage of the cryptocurrency market. Over time, its capitalization will be measured in trillions of dollars. The best projects of this field will become an integral part of our lives. Many of them will become new Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.
However, this will happen gradually. In order to become a mature sector of the economy, this market will have to go through many challenges. It will face issues of legislative regulation and technical problems. The scaling and bandwidth issues of most networks are still relevant, as well as legal issues. Most states are just beginning to explore the risks and opportunities associated with these technologies. And the promotion of such technologies is still very dependent on states and supranational bodies. If we talk about the short and medium terms, the prospects are not very bright.
I think that in the near future the bitcoin will certainly not reach the 20,000$ mark. We are witnessing the strongest bear market and must act accordingly. The time for positive medium-term forecasts has not yet come. The industry was severely overcrowded in 2017. There was too much hot money, many economically unfeasible projects and excessively high expectations. The market will need time to stabilize and consolidate. Most likely, we are in for a rather complicated and dangerous period of instability in the market. Obviously, this will be accompanied by some cleansing of the market from weak, incompetent and unclaimed participants.
This is a necessary stage on the path towards development. I think that 80% of altcoins known to us will depreciate and disappear in the next year or two for objective reasons. It will be a time of natural selection. However, strong players will only strengthen their positions in the market. Unfortunately, there will not be many of them. Therefore, in the near future, all investors will need to take a good care of the management of their portfolios. Despite the rather grim short-term and medium-term expectations, there will be some positive developments on the market. Some cryptocurrencies are likely to exceed their all-time peaks next year. And some will just look stronger than the market. This will be enough to generate profitability even under such difficult conditions. Therefore, the main task for the near future is to manage risks in a competent and very conservative manner and select the best ones on the market for investments.
From a professional point of view, what would you wish to partners of our club?
Depends on their goals. If they invest for the sake of emotions, then I wish them good luck and health. If they do it to earn money, I advise you to consult with professionals. This applies not only to investments, but also to any area of life. If you want the task to be solved as accurately as possible — always contact the best professionals available. And always keep learning. Your knowledge is your most reliable asset.
What books would you recommend for beginner traders?
If you decide that you are ready to turn trading into your profession, then start eagerly exploring everything available to you. Everything about financial markets, about macroeconomics, about psychology, about analysis and forecasting. Do not forget that money management skills play a huge role here. Ralph Vince will help you figure it out. Even if your analysis of the markets is very good, you will lose everything eventually if your money management skills are subpar. Now is a great time to learn, you have hundreds and thousands of books available on all aspects of this profession. Someone will enjoy the works of John J. Murphy or Jack Schwager, someone will learn from William D. Gann or Robert Prechter. And remember: knowledge is more important than capital!
We thank Alexander for such a detailed story about the Foundation, as well as for his sincere desire to share his opinions and forecasts. If you want to entrust the management of your funds to the Mercury Foundation, type “I want to invest in the Mercury Foundation” in the personal messages of the group.
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