Better System Trader

Synopsis

If you’re looking for inspiration, motivation and practical advice on improving your trading results, Better System Trader delivers every week. Each episode brings you an expert trader who shares their own story, along with the steps, both good and bad, that they’ve taken on their path to success. With a focus on actionable insights, the tips and tricks used by the experts contain loads of value, providing you with insanely practical tips and tools you can start using TODAY. Improve your trading with Better System Trader.

Episodes

  • 144: Building dynamic trading strategies with Trader Janie

    144: Building dynamic trading strategies with Trader Janie

    01/04/2018 Duration: 37min

    One of the biggest issues we have as systematic and algorithmic traders is that the markets are dynamic and constantly changing, however its quite common to build trading strategies that are static and are designed to take advantage of an optimal set of conditions which don’t actually last very long, if at all. This can cause periods of good and poor performance as trading strategies fall in and out of sync with the markets, so it makes logical sense to try including some adaptive elements into trading strategies to help them adjust better to the markets as they change. Our guest for this episode is Jane Fox, aka Trader Janie. Jane runs the website Quantitrader, and is here to share some of the techniques she uses to add  dynamic abilities to her trading strategies, plus we discuss some other important topics too, including: The top 3 components of trading strategies and how adding adaptability to these components can improve a trading strategy, Why static stop losses could be hurting your trading performanc

  • 143: The DNA approach to trading with Bruce Vanstone

    143: The 'DNA approach' to trading with Bruce Vanstone

    18/03/2018 Duration: 48min

    The discovery of DNA as well as the understanding of its function and structure may be one of the most important discoveries of the last century. As researchers continue to unlock its secrets, the applications to the scientific, medical, agricultural and forensics fields has been enormous. From enabling the breeding of animals and crops that are better resistant to disease, to being able to accurately identify criminals and victims, and even to detect diseases early on and create breakthrough treatments for diseases that were previously considered lethal, DNA research is having a huge effect on mankind. But just as scientists are getting a better understanding of DNA and it’s potential applications, can traders apply the same to the markets? One of the topics we discuss in this podcast episode is the 'DNA approach’ to trading. What is it, how can we understand it and what are the benefits? To discuss this topic plus a number of others, we're joined by Bruce Vanstone from Vanstone Trading. Bruce is a trader, c

  • 142: Mastering the Fundamentals with Martin Lembak

    142: Mastering the Fundamentals with Martin Lembak

    04/03/2018 Duration: 35min

    The idea for this podcast episode has its roots in a trip I made to the States last year. I was at a conference and one of the speakers was 1993 Karate World Champion Ricardo Teixeira. Ricardo was explaining how he came about becoming World Karate Champion and he shared his #1 secret to achieving this success, any ideas what it was? It was something that sounds incredibly boring, but it produces big results, and that is: Mastering the fundamentals. Ricardo explained that leading up to the World Championships, he spent months and months just practising the core fundamental moves. He wasn’t practising all those complicated, fancy looking moves you see in the Hollywood films. No. He spent weeks just practising a punch... Until he became so great at it that nobody else could beat him. I think this “mastering the fundamentals” approach has strong applications to trading too. Many traders, especially when starting out, think that the latest software or fanciest indicator is going to guarantee their success, but ove

  • 141: Models are like unicorns - with Kevin Saunders

    141: Models are like unicorns - with Kevin Saunders

    18/02/2018 Duration: 50min

    We have a really interesting one here for you today, one that may challenge your existing thoughts on trading models. I know this episode has certainly made me think about it from a different angle, so I hope you enjoy this. Our guest for this episode is Kevin Saunders from Tribelet Capital. Kevin is a specialist in electronic trading across many international exchanges, co-founding Non Correlated Capital in 2009, which later became a licensed CTA with more than USD 40 million under management. He has won a bunch of awards for his trading and academic achievements, and he also developed a program here in Australia called the “Joey Experiment” which we’re going to talk a little bit about as well. In our chat today you’ll discover: Why traders must disentangle themselves from the requirement that a model must work and produce money – and the alternative approach that uses charts more predictable than the underlying market, Why building a mathematical model is like creating a unicorn that doesn’t represent real

  • 140: Forecasting a Volatility Tsunami with Andrew Thrasher

    140: Forecasting a Volatility Tsunami with Andrew Thrasher

    04/02/2018 Duration: 31min

    In this podcast episode we’re going to be talking about something that can have a huge impact on the markets and on trading strategies. It’s something that can happen very quickly and cause a lot of damage, and that is spikes in volatility. And our special guest to discuss volatility spikes today is Andrew Thrasher, who published a research paper called ‘Forecasting a Volatility Tsunami’, which won the Charles Dow award in 2017. Whenever the VIX is at low levels we here all about in the mainstream media, with the implication that it’s about to rise, however a low level in the VIX alone doesn’t necessarily mean volatility is going to increase, and in our chat today Andrew is going to explain why and he’s also going to share his research and the 3 key factors that can actually improve predictions of volatility spikes. In our chat today you’ll here: How volatility is usually interpreted and why this common approach is unreliable and missing a key part of the picture, Why a low VIX reading alone is not a good pr

  • 139: Generating alpha from institutional activity with Jason Bodner

    139: Generating alpha from institutional activity with Jason Bodner

    07/01/2018 Duration: 46min

    Welcome to the first podcast episode for 2018, happy new year! I hope that you had a great Christmas or holiday season and all the best for 2018. In this podcast episode we’re talking about the impacts that large institutions can have on the markets, especially on stocks, and how certain institutional behaviours can indicate potentially big moves in prices. Our special guest is Jason Bodner from Macro Analytics for Professionals (MAP). His previous experience working some big institutional orders has given him some valuable insights that I’m sure we can all find useful, so in our discussion today you’ll hear: How institutional activity can indicate potentially big moves and the signals to look out for, How the techniques of scouting out players on a sports team can apply to stock selection too, 3 basic factors that can quickly identify when institutions are working a big trade, plus loads of other signals to watch for as well, How mixing technical with fundamental factors can give you a more complete picture

  • 138 - 2017 roundup: the year in review

    138 - 2017 roundup: the year in review

    24/12/2017 Duration: 34min

    Well here we are, another year gone (and so fast too!). I’m glad you could join me for this final episode for 2017, where we’ll be reviewing all of the special guests we had on the show this year, the topics and insights they've shared plus their top trading lessons. I think this is a great way to look back, to be reminded of some of the key points, and all of the amazing knowledge our guests have shared with us this year. Also, thanks for all of the emails of support and appreciation throughout the year, I’m glad that what we’re doing here has been so helpful! I hope you have a great Christmas and holiday season and all the best for 2018... It’s going to be a massive year! Happy trading, Andrew

  • 137: Profiting from persistent market anomalies with Dimitri Speck

    137: Profiting from persistent market anomalies with Dimitri Speck

    10/12/2017 Duration: 35min

    Our guest for this podcast episode, Dimitri Speck, first became interested in the markets as a child when he found gold while diving at the beach. And even though trading isn't usually as easy as just picking up gold off the ground, Dimitri has spent years diving deep into the markets and uncovering hidden and consistent anomalies that traders and investors of all styles can profit from. In this episode he's going to share some of these powerful insights with us, including: How understanding Intraday behaviours can help you to get better prices and additional edge on trade execution, The 4 specific hours of the day that would have given you most of the last 10 years of S&P returns (hint: it's probably not what you think), The 1 market event that has produced almost the entire S&P performance over the past 20 years in just 6% of the days, The challenges of accurately measuring these anomalies which could give you misleading results, The 3 simple techniques traders of all styles can use to apply these

  • 136: Anticipating market action and pain points with John Carter

    136: Anticipating market action and "pain points" with John Carter

    26/11/2017 Duration: 33min

    A few weeks ago we organised a family holiday for December. We booked a luxury villa in Port Douglas and we’re all really excited to get there and start enjoying the holiday. Last year the Huffington Post published an article about vacations, and shared a study in a journal claiming that just planning or anticipating your trip can make you happier than actually taking it. I’m not sure if anticipating a holiday is more fun than actually taking it (I guess that depends on whether you have to take your kids or not...), but there is definitely value in anticipation, which ties in quite nicely with this podcast episode. Our guest today is John Carter, and John is going to share with us the value of anticipation in trading, and how anticipating market action and the “pain points” of other market participants can give us an edge in trading. Some of the topics you'll hear are: How anticipating the actions and pain points of other market participants can give you an edge, A simple but powerful mental switch that can

  • 135: How balance can make us better traders

    135: How "balance" can make us better traders

    24/11/2017 Duration: 08min

    I can’t believe it’s only 4 weeks until Christmas! We’ve got the Christmas ads running on the TV here already... The local grocery store has the Christmas decorations up... And they’re even playing Christmas carols - can you believe that? At home my 5-year-old daughter is already priming me for what she wants from Santa this year, which by the way is pretty much everything on TV right now! 2017 has gone by really fast and we’re coming into a time of reflection and rest, time to take a break if you can, and so I wanted to take a few minutes in this weeks Trading Thought to talk about balance, both in trading and in life. Pretty early on in my trading journey I was absolutely consumed by trading. I lived and breathed it, it was all I could think about and all I wanted to do was quit my corporate job and trade for a living. By day I was working a full-time job in a bank, and at night I was staying up late to day trade the ES. I joined a trading room and my wicked plan was to get a few hours sleep after my day jo

  • 134: Constructing a strong portfolio for higher returns and lower drawdowns

    134: Constructing a strong portfolio for higher returns and lower drawdowns

    17/11/2017 Duration: 08min

    The Petronas towers in Malaysia are the tallest twin towers in the world at 452m (1483 ft) tall. Because of the ground underneath the building site, they had to put in some deep foundations, up to 114m (374 ft) deep. Without these deep foundations, the building would run into problems. In fact, during construction, at around the 72nd floor, they discovered that tower 2 was leaning 25 mm (0.98in) from vertical, so to correct that lean the next 16 floors were slanted back the other way. They even hired specialist surveyors to check the lean of the tower twice a day until the building was completed. Now obviously the foundations anchor the building and keep it from falling over, and even though they’re not visible, they’re probably the most important part of the construction. When you look at constructing a portfolio of strategies, there are a couple of key concepts, or foundations to consider as well, so that you have a solid portfolio, one that will hopefully weather all types of hostile conditions and produce

  • 133: Building Mean Reversion trading strategies with Cesar Alvarez - Part

    133: Building Mean Reversion trading strategies with Cesar Alvarez - Part

    12/11/2017 Duration: 44min

    And we're back for the final episode in this 3-part series on building Mean Reversion strategies with Cesar Alvarez from Alvarez Quant Trading. In the 1st episode we discussed the goal of Mean Reversion trading, how to select a trading universe, a number of effective techniques to measuring Mean Reversion and how to combine indicators to identify better quality trades. In the 2nd episode we discussed market classification, trade ranking, exits, order types, position sizing, risk control and much more. In this 3rd and final episode, Cesar answers all your questions, covering a wide range of topics, including: Mean Reversion in markets outside of Stocks, Controlling risk during market sell-offs, gaps and being overweight in particular sectors, Performance of Large caps vs Small caps, Ranking Mean Reversion setups, Shorting strategies, Readjusting strategy parameters and measuring robustness, Balancing Mean Reversion in a portfolio of other trading styles, Tail risk, leverage, options, performance monitoring an

  • 132: How to track poor strategy performance

    132: How to track poor strategy performance

    10/11/2017 Duration: 10min

    A few weeks ago I got the fright of my life. I found myself in a situation where I could potentially be crushed by a car, or perhaps even a bus or truck. Find out what happens and how it applies to tracking the performance degradation of trading strategies (before they kill your account).

  • 131: What strategies work best in low volatility environments?

    131: What strategies work best in low volatility environments?

    02/11/2017 Duration: 06min

    I’ve just arrived back home from a few weeks in the States, I had a great time there but it’s also good to be home. I’m a bit jet-lagged today so let’s hope what I share today actually makes sense! A few weeks ago I had the honour of speaking at the ATAA members meeting here in Melbourne. I presented for about an hour and the topic of my presentation was ‘7 practical tips to reducing drawdown’. In this weeks Trading Thought I want to share a quick story from that and how it applies to Mean Reversion in low volatility environments. In part 1 of the Mean Reversion series, Cesar made a statement about Mean Reversion strategies not performing so well in low-volatility market regimes, and I received a number of emails asking what type of strategies DO work in low volatility environments, so... In this week’s Trading Thought I want to share a quick little sneak-peek into the next Mean Reversion episode with Cesar, due for release in a few weeks, where he answers this question, plus much more. It’s only short, but l

  • 130: Building Mean Reversion trading strategies Part 2 with Cesar Alvarez

    130: Building Mean Reversion trading strategies Part 2 with Cesar Alvarez

    28/10/2017 Duration: 36min

    And we're back for the 2nd episode in this 3-part series on building Mean Reversion strategies with Cesar Alvarez from Alvarez Quant Trading. In the first episode we discussed the goal of Mean Reversion trading, how to select a trading universe, a number of effective techniques to measuring Mean Reversion and how to combine indicators to identify better quality trades. If you haven't listened to that episode yet, you should check it out first here. In this 2nd episode in the Mean Reversion series, Cesar will be sharing: How to classify market conditions and adjust Mean Reversion strategies to the current market, Tips to choosing trades with a higher probability of success when you have more trades than your account can take, How the maximum number of positions you trade affects the role of luck on trading results and how to produce more 'reliable' results instead, Why it can be a good idea to have different strategies that enter at market and on limit orders instead of just one or the other, The impacts of s

  • 129 - Does it actually make sense to ALWAYS use a stop loss?

    129 - Does it actually make sense to ALWAYS use a stop loss?

    26/10/2017 Duration: 08min

    Have you ever wondered: Why the word "abbreviate" is so long? Why are wise men and wise guys opposites? Why is it called quicksand if it takes you down slowly? Where do forest rangers go to "get away from it all?" Why is it that when we transport something by car it's called a shipment, but when we transport something by ship it's called cargo? I'm sure there are reasons for all of these, but on the surface they don't seem to make sense. What about stop losses, do they make sense? We often hear the trading rule of 'always use a stop loss', no matter what, use it everywhere, but… Does it actually make sense to ALWAYS use a stop loss? Or are there occasions when using a stop loss DOESNT make sense? And if so, how do you handle that? How do you manage your risk? In this week’s trading thought, we’re going to review a chat with Dr Ernie Chan about stop losses, and we discuss these exact points, so let head on over to Ernie and find out if it makes sense to ALWAYS use a stop loss.

  • 128: Where to find phenomenal trade setups

    128: Where to find 'phenomenal' trade setups

    17/10/2017 Duration: 06min

    As you probably know, we’re currently focusing on Mean Reversion trading strategies. In episode 127, Cesar Alvarez shared a number of techniques to measuring Mean Reversion and identifying setups. There was probably close to 10, maybe 12 different ideas Cesar shared with us, so there are lots of ways to measure Mean Reversion when looking for trade setups. Are any techniques better than others? In this weeks Trading Thought I want to add a little bit more to the insights Cesar shared with us on Mean Reversion setups by referencing another very popular Mean Reversion episode I did with PJ Sutherland, episode 62. In this weeks 'Trading Thought' PJ is talking about measuring Mean Reversion setups and a technique where he ‘really started to see phenomenal test results’ -  who doesn’t want that right? So what is this technique? And where did PJ see these phenomenal test results? Take a listen as PJ explains it to us... 

  • 127: Building Mean Reversion trading strategies with Cesar Alvarez - Part 1

    127: Building Mean Reversion trading strategies with Cesar Alvarez - Part 1

    14/10/2017 Duration: 39min

    We’ve got something special organised for you here... This is the 1st episode in a special 2-part series on building Mean Reversion trading strategies. And to discuss Mean Reversion we have a special guest, someone who has been on the podcast a couple of times already - Cesar Alvarez from Alvarez Quant Trading. Those of you who know Cesars work would be aware that he is a Mean Reversion specialist. He has a wealth of knowledge on Mean Reversion trading that he's going to share with us over this special 2-part series, so I’m really excited to be sharing it with you. In this first episode Cesar will be sharing: The high level steps to building a mean reversion trading strategy, Why carefully selecting a trading universe is so important and the factors you need to consider, Simple but highly effective techniques to measuring mean reversion you can start testing today, How to combine indicators properly to identify better quality trades, and Why strategies with a smooth equity curve may not actually be the best

  • 126: Protection in a market downturn

    126: Protection in a market downturn

    13/10/2017 Duration: 06min

    It seems from the emails I’ve been getting lately that more and more traders are becoming concerned about the state of the markets, especially the stock markets, which is understandable. And the concern is really around what’s going to happen when the stockmarkets start falling. What could happen to their strategies and accounts and how can they prepare for it now? How can they protect their portfolios? One form of protection that often comes up is using diversification to reduce portfolio risk. However, a common question that is raised is how to actually go about diversifying? Is there more protection in diversifying across markets, or staying in the same market and diversifying across strategies? In this short piece of audio, Perry Kaufman discusses how he looks at diversification, and it’s something you may want to consider when you’re thinking about how to protect your own trading account and portfolio in a market downturn.

  • 125: Are your trading strategies sick or healthy?

    125: Are your trading strategies sick or healthy?

    06/10/2017 Duration: 09min

    In this weeks ‘Trading thought’ we’re going to discuss an issue that all traders have to face... How do you know when to stop trading a strategy? A common approach is to wait for a strategy to reach the maximum historical drawdown and then either stop trading the system or look at modifying it or optimizing it, but... There are a couple of problems with that approach: Once the strategy has hit that drawdown level, the damage is already done, you’ve already taken a series of losses to get to that level, What if you stop trading the strategy and it recovers from the drawdown, you missed out on the recovery. When we have a system that goes into drawdown, we never really know if it’s the beginning of the end for that strategy or if it will be a drawdown within expectations, so it can be tricky issue to address. Can this be managed differently? Are there warning signs to watch out for that can tell us if our strategy is sick or healthy and can we manage these sick strategies differently without having such an im

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