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Former investment bank FX trader: some thoughts

Former investment bank FX trader: some thoughts
Hi guys,
I have been using reddit for years in my personal life (not trading!) and wanted to give something back in an area where i am an expert.
I worked at an investment bank for seven years and joined them as a graduate FX trader so have lots of professional experience, by which i mean I was trained and paid by a big institution to trade on their behalf. This is very different to being a full-time home trader, although that is not to discredit those guys, who can accumulate a good amount of experience/wisdom through self learning.
When I get time I'm going to write a mid-length posts on each topic for you guys along the lines of how i was trained. I guess there would be 15-20 topics in total so about 50-60 posts. Feel free to comment or ask questions.
The first topic is Risk Management and we'll cover it in three parts
Part I
  • Why it matters
  • Position sizing
  • Kelly
  • Using stops sensibly
  • Picking a clear level

Why it matters

The first rule of making money through trading is to ensure you do not lose money. Look at any serious hedge fund’s website and they’ll talk about their first priority being “preservation of investor capital.”
You have to keep it before you grow it.
Strangely, if you look at retail trading websites, for every one article on risk management there are probably fifty on trade selection. This is completely the wrong way around.
The great news is that this stuff is pretty simple and process-driven. Anyone can learn and follow best practices.
Seriously, avoiding mistakes is one of the most important things: there's not some holy grail system for finding winning trades, rather a routine and fairly boring set of processes that ensure that you are profitable, despite having plenty of losing trades alongside the winners.

Capital and position sizing

The first thing you have to know is how much capital you are working with. Let’s say you have $100,000 deposited. This is your maximum trading capital. Your trading capital is not the leveraged amount. It is the amount of money you have deposited and can withdraw or lose.
Position sizing is what ensures that a losing streak does not take you out of the market.
A rule of thumb is that one should risk no more than 2% of one’s account balance on an individual trade and no more than 8% of one’s account balance on a specific theme. We’ll look at why that’s a rule of thumb later. For now let’s just accept those numbers and look at examples.
So we have $100,000 in our account. And we wish to buy EURUSD. We should therefore not be risking more than 2% which $2,000.
We look at a technical chart and decide to leave a stop below the monthly low, which is 55 pips below market. We’ll come back to this in a bit. So what should our position size be?
We go to the calculator page, select Position Size and enter our details. There are many such calculators online - just google "Pip calculator".
So the appropriate size is a buy position of 363,636 EURUSD. If it reaches our stop level we know we’ll lose precisely $2,000 or 2% of our capital.
You should be using this calculator (or something similar) on every single trade so that you know your risk.
Now imagine that we have similar bets on EURJPY and EURGBP, which have also broken above moving averages. Clearly this EUR-momentum is a theme. If it works all three bets are likely to pay off. But if it goes wrong we are likely to lose on all three at once. We are going to look at this concept of correlation in more detail later.
The total amount of risk in our portfolio - if all of the trades on this EUR-momentum theme were to hit their stops - should not exceed $8,000 or 8% of total capital. This allows us to go big on themes we like without going bust when the theme does not work.
As we’ll see later, many traders only win on 40-60% of trades. So you have to accept losing trades will be common and ensure you size trades so they cannot ruin you.
Similarly, like poker players, we should risk more on trades we feel confident about and less on trades that seem less compelling. However, this should always be subject to overall position sizing constraints.
For example before you put on each trade you might rate the strength of your conviction in the trade and allocate a position size accordingly:
To keep yourself disciplined you should try to ensure that no more than one in twenty trades are graded exceptional and allocated 5% of account balance risk. It really should be a rare moment when all the stars align for you.
Notice that the nice thing about dealing in percentages is that it scales. Say you start out with $100,000 but end the year up 50% at $150,000. Now a 1% bet will risk $1,500 rather than $1,000. That makes sense as your capital has grown.
It is extremely common for retail accounts to blow-up by making only 4-5 losing trades because they are leveraged at 50:1 and have taken on far too large a position, relative to their account balance.
Consider that GBPUSD tends to move 1% each day. If you have an account balance of $10k then it would be crazy to take a position of $500k (50:1 leveraged). A 1% move on $500k is $5k.
Two perfectly regular down days in a row — or a single day’s move of 2% — and you will receive a margin call from the broker, have the account closed out, and have lost all your money.
Do not let this happen to you. Use position sizing discipline to protect yourself.

Kelly Criterion

If you’re wondering - why “about 2%” per trade? - that’s a fair question. Why not 0.5% or 10% or any other number?
The Kelly Criterion is a formula that was adapted for use in casinos. If you know the odds of winning and the expected pay-off, it tells you how much you should bet in each round.
This is harder than it sounds. Let’s say you could bet on a weighted coin flip, where it lands on heads 60% of the time and tails 40% of the time. The payout is $2 per $1 bet.
Well, absolutely you should bet. The odds are in your favour. But if you have, say, $100 it is less obvious how much you should bet to avoid ruin.
Say you bet $50, the odds that it could land on tails twice in a row are 16%. You could easily be out after the first two flips.
Equally, betting $1 is not going to maximise your advantage. The odds are 60/40 in your favour so only betting $1 is likely too conservative. The Kelly Criterion is a formula that produces the long-run optimal bet size, given the odds.
Applying the formula to forex trading looks like this:
Position size % = Winning trade % - ( (1- Winning trade %) / Risk-reward ratio
If you have recorded hundreds of trades in your journal - see next chapter - you can calculate what this outputs for you specifically.
If you don't have hundreds of trades then let’s assume some realistic defaults of Winning trade % being 30% and Risk-reward ratio being 3. The 3 implies your TP is 3x the distance of your stop from entry e.g. 300 pips take profit and 100 pips stop loss.
So that’s 0.3 - (1 - 0.3) / 3 = 6.6%.
Hold on a second. 6.6% of your account probably feels like a LOT to risk per trade.This is the main observation people have on Kelly: whilst it may optimise the long-run results it doesn’t take into account the pain of drawdowns. It is better thought of as the rational maximum limit. You needn’t go right up to the limit!
With a 30% winning trade ratio, the odds of you losing on four trades in a row is nearly one in four. That would result in a drawdown of nearly a quarter of your starting account balance. Could you really stomach that and put on the fifth trade, cool as ice? Most of us could not.
Accordingly people tend to reduce the bet size. For example, let’s say you know you would feel emotionally affected by losing 25% of your account.
Well, the simplest way is to divide the Kelly output by four. You have effectively hidden 75% of your account balance from Kelly and it is now optimised to avoid a total wipeout of just the 25% it can see.
This gives 6.6% / 4 = 1.65%. Of course different trading approaches and different risk appetites will provide different optimal bet sizes but as a rule of thumb something between 1-2% is appropriate for the style and risk appetite of most retail traders.
Incidentally be very wary of systems or traders who claim high winning trade % like 80%. Invariably these don’t pass a basic sense-check:
  • How many live trades have you done? Often they’ll have done only a handful of real trades and the rest are simulated backtests, which are overfitted. The model will soon die.
  • What is your risk-reward ratio on each trade? If you have a take profit $3 away and a stop loss $100 away, of course most trades will be winners. You will not be making money, however! In general most traders should trade smaller position sizes and less frequently than they do. If you are going to bias one way or the other, far better to start off too small.

How to use stop losses sensibly

Stop losses have a bad reputation amongst the retail community but are absolutely essential to risk management. No serious discretionary trader can operate without them.
A stop loss is a resting order, left with the broker, to automatically close your position if it reaches a certain price. For a recap on the various order types visit this chapter.
The valid concern with stop losses is that disreputable brokers look for a concentration of stops and then, when the market is close, whipsaw the price through the stop levels so that the clients ‘stop out’ and sell to the broker at a low rate before the market naturally comes back higher. This is referred to as ‘stop hunting’.
This would be extremely immoral behaviour and the way to guard against it is to use a highly reputable top-tier broker in a well regulated region such as the UK.
Why are stop losses so important? Well, there is no other way to manage risk with certainty.
You should always have a pre-determined stop loss before you put on a trade. Not having one is a recipe for disaster: you will find yourself emotionally attached to the trade as it goes against you and it will be extremely hard to cut the loss. This is a well known behavioural bias that we’ll explore in a later chapter.
Learning to take a loss and move on rationally is a key lesson for new traders.
A common mistake is to think of the market as a personal nemesis. The market, of course, is totally impersonal; it doesn’t care whether you make money or not.
Bruce Kovner, founder of the hedge fund Caxton Associates
There is an old saying amongst bank traders which is “losers average losers”.
It is tempting, having bought EURUSD and seeing it go lower, to buy more. Your average price will improve if you keep buying as it goes lower. If it was cheap before it must be a bargain now, right? Wrong.
Where does that end? Always have a pre-determined cut-off point which limits your risk. A level where you know the reason for the trade was proved ‘wrong’ ... and stick to it strictly. If you trade using discretion, use stops.

Picking a clear level

Where you leave your stop loss is key.
Typically traders will leave them at big technical levels such as recent highs or lows. For example if EURUSD is trading at 1.1250 and the recent month’s low is 1.1205 then leaving it just below at 1.1200 seems sensible.

If you were going long, just below the double bottom support zone seems like a sensible area to leave a stop
You want to give it a bit of breathing room as we know support zones often get challenged before the price rallies. This is because lots of traders identify the same zones. You won’t be the only one selling around 1.1200.
The “weak hands” who leave their sell stop order at exactly the level are likely to get taken out as the market tests the support. Those who leave it ten or fifteen pips below the level have more breathing room and will survive a quick test of the level before a resumed run-up.
Your timeframe and trading style clearly play a part. Here’s a candlestick chart (one candle is one day) for GBPUSD.
If you are putting on a trend-following trade you expect to hold for weeks then you need to have a stop loss that can withstand the daily noise. Look at the downtrend on the chart. There were plenty of days in which the price rallied 60 pips or more during the wider downtrend.
So having a really tight stop of, say, 25 pips that gets chopped up in noisy short-term moves is not going to work for this kind of trade. You need to use a wider stop and take a smaller position size, determined by the stop level.
There are several tools you can use to help you estimate what is a safe distance and we’ll look at those in the next section.
There are of course exceptions. For example, if you are doing range-break style trading you might have a really tight stop, set just below the previous range high.
Clearly then where you set stops will depend on your trading style as well as your holding horizons and the volatility of each instrument.
Here are some guidelines that can help:
  1. Use technical analysis to pick important levels (support, resistance, previous high/lows, moving averages etc.) as these provide clear exit and entry points on a trade.
  2. Ensure that the stop gives your trade enough room to breathe and reflects your timeframe and typical volatility of each pair. See next section.
  3. Always pick your stop level first. Then use a calculator to determine the appropriate lot size for the position, based on the % of your account balance you wish to risk on the trade.
So far we have talked about price-based stops. There is another sort which is more of a fundamental stop, used alongside - not instead of - price stops. If either breaks you’re out.
For example if you stop understanding why a product is going up or down and your fundamental thesis has been confirmed wrong, get out. For example, if you are long because you think the central bank is turning hawkish and AUDUSD is going to play catch up with rates … then you hear dovish noises from the central bank and the bond yields retrace lower and back in line with the currency - close your AUDUSD position. You already know your thesis was wrong. No need to give away more money to the market.

Coming up in part II

EDIT: part II here
Letting stops breathe
When to change a stop
Entering and exiting winning positions
Risk:reward ratios
Risk-adjusted returns

Coming up in part III

Squeezes and other risks
Market positioning
Bet correlation
Crap trades, timeouts and monthly limits

Disclaimer:This content is not investment advice and you should not place any reliance on it. The views expressed are the author's own and should not be attributed to any other person, including their employer.
submitted by getmrmarket to Forex [link] [comments]

APIs offered by brokers and data platforms

I’ve been looking for a broker that has an API for index futures and ideally also futures options. I’m looking to use the API to build a customized view of my risk based on balances, positions, and market conditions.
Searching the algotrading sub I found many API-related posts, but then when I actually read them and their comments, I found they’re often lacking in real substance. It turns out many brokers or data services that have APIs don’t actually support index futures and options via the API, and instead they focus on equities, forex, or cypto. So here’s the list of what I’ve found so far. This isn’t a review of these brokers or APIs and note that I have a specific application in mind (index futures and futures options). Perhaps you’re looking for an API for equities, or you just want data and not a broker, in which case there may be a few options. Also, I’m based in the US so I didn’t really look for brokers or platforms outside the US.
If you have experience with these APIs, please chime in with your thoughts. Also, I may have missed some brokers or platforms. If I did or if you see anything that needs correction please let me know.

Platform Notes
ADM Investor Services No API
Ally Invest Does not support futures instruments
Alpaca Only supports US Equities
Alpha Vantage Does not support futures instruments
AMP Broker with a huge number of platforms available including some with APIs
ApexFutures No API
Arcade Trader No API
AvaTrade Does not support futures instruments
Backtrader Not a data feed; otherwise looks cool but also looks like a one-man shop
Cannon Trading Broker with a variety of platforms, some have API access such as TT
Centerpoint No API
Charles Schwab API does not support futures instruments
Cobra No API
Daniels Trading No API
Discount Trading Broker with a variety of platforms including CQG, Rithmic, TT, some with APIs
Edge Clear Broker with a variety of platforms including CQG, Rithmic, TT, some with APIs
Eroom Now part of Dashprime. Offer a variety of APIs including CQG, TT, CBOE's Silexx, and others via FIX.
ETNA Trader Only supports equities, options (including multi-legs), ETFs, Mutual Funds (Forex with cryptocurrencies coming soon)
ETrade API seems robust but OAuth authorization needs to be refreshed via login once per 24 hours
Futures Online No API
Gain Capital Futures API available, based on .NET; unsure if they are open to retail clients
GFF Brokers Broker with a large number of platforms including some with API access
High Ridge Futures Broker with a variety of platforms including CQG, Rithmic, TT, some with APIs
iBroker API available; contact them for more info
IEX Cloud Looks great but does not support futures instruments
Infinity Futures JSON API available; contact them for more info
Interactive Brokers Client Web API looks promising if clunky
Intrinio Supports futures instruments but is expensive
Koyfin No API
Lightspeed C++ API available
marketstack API for equities available. Does not support futures instruments.
Medved Trader Windows app with a streaming API to various data sources and brokers. See comment below about API beta access.
NinjaTrader Does not support futures options
Norgate Data Not a broker; supports futures data for $270/year
Oanda Forex only; API last updated in 2018
Optimus Futures Broker with a large number of available platforms including some with API access
Phillip Capital Broker with a large number of available platforms including some with API access Expensive but looks slick; does not support futures instruments
Quandl API looks solid; $49/monthly for personal use, does not allow distributing or sharing data; not a broker
Quantconnect Does not expose raw data
Quantopian Does not expose raw data
Quantower Software that connects to multiple brokers and data feeds; API to their software via C# interface
Saxo Markets Broker with extensively documented API
Stage 5 Trading API available through Trading Technologies
Straits Financial Broker with several platforms available including some with APIs such as CQG, R
Sweet Futures Broker with a large number of available platforms including some with API access
TastyWorks There's an unofficial Python API Does not support futures instruments
ThinkorSwim Does not support futures instruments via the API
Tiingo Free account tier but does not support futures instruments
TradePro Broker with a number of platforms available; unclear if any are available with API access
Tradier Free developer API account for delayed data but does not support futures instruments
TradeStation Nice looking API docs and supports futures instruments; requires opening an account and a minimum balance of $100k and there’s no trial available
TradeFutures4Less Broker with a variety of platforms including CQG, Rithmic, TT, some with APIs
TradingTechnologies API looks robust; pricing starts at $700/month
TradingView Does not expose data API
Tradovate Technologies API exists, documentation unknown; need to talk to their account team
Wedbush Futures Broker with several platforms offered, a few of which have API access
WEX .NET/COM only; pricing not disclosed on website
Xignite Pricing not disclosed on website but they do support futures instruments
Yahoo Finance API Available through RapidAPI or via direct access; but it’s discontinued and unreliable
Zaner Broker with a variety of platforms including CQG, Rithmic, TT, some with APIs

Wow, this list grew longer than I originally thought it would be. If you spot a mistake, please let me know and I’ll correct it.
- added Lightspeed API - updated Dashprime to indicate some of the APIs available - added Medved Trader to table - added marketstack to table
submitted by theloniusmunch to thewallstreet [link] [comments]

The Mouthbreather's Guide to the Galaxy

The Mouthbreather's Guide to the Galaxy
Alright CYKAS, Drill Sgt. Retarded TQQQ Burry is in the house. Listen up, I'm gonna train yo monkey asses to make some motherfucking money.

“Reeee can’t read, strike?” - random_wsb_autist
Bitch you better read if you want your Robinhood to look like this:
gainz, bitch

Why am I telling you this?
Because I like your dumb asses. Even dickbutts like cscqb4. And because I like seeing Wall St. fucking get rekt. Y’all did good until now, and Wall St. is salty af. Just google for “retail traders” news if you haven’t seen it, and you’ll see the salty tears of Wall Street assholes. And I like salty Wall St. assholes crying like bitches.

That said, some of you here are really motherfucking dense & the sheer influx of retardation has been driving away some of the more knowledgeable folks on this sub. In fact, in my last post, y'all somehow managed to downvote to shit the few guys that really understood the points I was making and tried to explain it to you poo-slinging apes. Stop that shit yo! A lot of you need to sit the fuck down, shut your fucking mouth and listen.
So I'm going to try and turn you rag-tag band of dimwits into a respectable army of peasants that can clap some motherfucking Wall Street cheeks. Then, I'm going to give you a mouthbreather-proof trade that I don't think even you knuckleheads can mess up (though I may be underestimating you).
If you keep PM-ing me about your stupid ass losses after this, I will find out where you live and personally, PERSONALLY, shit on your doorstep.
This is going to be a long ass post. Read the damned post. I don't care if you're dyslexic, use text-to-speech. Got ADHD? Pop your addys, rub one out, and focus! Are you 12? Make sure to go post in the paper trading contest thread first.

  1. Understand that most of this sub has the critical reading skills of a 6 year old and the attention span of a goldfish. As such, my posts are usually written with a level of detail aimed at the lowest common denominator. A lot of details on the thesis are omitted, but that doesn't mean that the contents in the post are all there is to it. If I didn't do that, every post'd have to be longer than this one, and 98% of you fucks wouldn't read it anyway. Fuck that.
  2. Understand that my style of making plays is finding the >10+ baggers that are underpriced. As such, ALL THE GOD DAMN PLAYS I POST ARE HIGH-RISK / HIGH-REWARD. Only play what you can afford to risk. And stop PM-ing me the second the market goes the other way, god damn it! If you can't manage your own positions, I'm going to teach your ass the basics.
  3. Do you have no idea what you're doing and have a question? Google it first. Then google it again. Then Bing it, for good measure. Might as well check PornHub too, you never know. THEN, if you still didn't find the answer, you ask.
  4. This sub gives me Tourette's. If you got a problem with that, well fuck you.

This shit is targeted at the mouthbreathers, but maybe more knowledgeable folk’ll find some useful info, idk. How do you know if you’re in the mouthbreather category? If your answer to any of the following questions is yes, then you are:
  • Are you new to trading?
  • Are you unable to manage your own positions?
  • Did you score into the negatives on the SAT Critical Reading section?
  • Do you think Delta is just an airline?
  • Do you buy high & sell low?
  • Do you want to buy garbage like Hertz or American Airlines because it's cheap?
  • Did you buy USO at the bottom and are now proud of yourself for making $2?
  • Do you think stOnKs oNLy Go uP because Fed brrr?
  • Do you think I'm trying to sell you puts?
  • If you take a trade you see posted on this sub and are down, do you PM the guy posting it?
  • Do you generally PM people on this sub to ask them basic questions?
  • Is your mouth your primary breathing apparatus?
Well I have just the thing for you!

Table of Contents:
I. Maybe, just maybe, I know what I’m talking about
II. Post-mortem of the February - March 2020 Great Depression
III. Mouthbreather's bootcamp on managing a position – THE TECHNICALS
IV. Busting your retarded myths
VI. The mouthbreather-proof trade - The Akimbo
VII. Quick hints for non-mouthbreathers

Chapter I - Maybe, just maybe, I know what I’m talking about
I'm not here to rip you off. Every fucking time I post something, a bunch of dumbasses show up saying I'm selling you puts or whatever the fuck retarded thoughts come through their caveman brains.
"hurr durr OP retarded, OP sell puts" - random_wsb_autist
Sit down, Barney, I'm not here to scam you for your 3 cents on OTM puts. Do I always get it right? Of course not, dumbasses. Eurodollar play didn't work out (yet). Last TQQQ didn't work out (yet). That’s just how it goes. Papa Buffet got fucked on airlines. Plain retard Burry bought GME. What do you fucking expect?
Meanwhile, I keep giving y'all good motherfucking plays:
  1. 28/10/2019: "I'ma say this again, in case you haven't heard me the first time. BUY $JNK PUTS NOW!". Strike: "11/15, 1/17 and 6/19". "This thing can easily go below 50, so whatever floats your boat. Around $100 strike is a good entry point."
  2. 3/9/2020: "I mean it's a pretty obvious move, but $JNK puts."
  3. 3/19/2020, 12pm: "UVXY put FDs are free money." & “Buy $UVXY puts expiring tomorrow if we're still green at 3pm. Trust me.”
  4. 3/24/2020: “$UUP 3/27 puts at $27.5 or $27 should be 10-baggers once the bill passes. I'd expect it to go to around $26.”
And of course, the masterpiece that was the TQQQ put play.
Chapter II. Post-mortem of the February - March 2020 Great Depression
Do you really understand what happened? Let's go through it.
I got in puts on 2/19, right at the motherfucking top, TQQQ at $118. I told you on 2/24 TQQQ ($108) was going to shit, and to buy fucking puts, $90ps, $70ps, $50ps, all the way to 3/20 $30ps. You think I just pulled that out of my ass? You think I just keep getting lucky, punks? Do you have any idea how unlikely that is?
Well, let's take a look at what the fuckstick Kevin Cook from Zacks wrote on 3/5:
How Many Sigmas Was the Flash Correction Plunge?
"Did you know that last week's 14% plunge in the S&P 500 SPY was so rare, by statistical measures, that it shouldn't happen once but every 14,000 years?"
"By several measures, it was about a 5-sigma move, something that's not "supposed to" happen more than once in your lifetime -- or your prehistoric ancestors' lifetimes!
"According to general statistical principles, a 4-sigma event is to be expected about every 31,560 days, or about 1 trading day in 126 years. And a 5-sigma event is to be expected every 3,483,046 days, or about 1 day every 13,932 years."

On 3/5, TQQQ closed at $81. I just got lucky, right? You should buy after a 5-sigma move, right? That's what fuckstick says:
"Big sigma moves happen all the time in markets, more than any other field where we collect and analyze historical data, because markets are social beasts subject to "wild randomness" that is not found in the physical sciences.
This was the primary lesson of Nassim Taleb's 2007 book The Black Swan, written before the financial crisis that found Wall Street bankers completely ignorant of randomness and the risks of ruin."
I also took advantage of the extreme 5-sigma sell-off by grabbing a leveraged ETF on the Nasdaq 100, the ProShares UltraPro QQQ TQQQ. In my plan, while I might debate the merits of buying AAPL or MSFT for hours, I knew I could immediately buy them both with TQQQ and be rewarded very quickly after the 14% plunge."
Ahahaha, fuckstick bought TQQQ at $70, cuz that's what you do after a random 5-sigma move, right? How many of you dumbasses did the same thing? Don't lie, I see you buying 3/5 on this TQQQ chart: