Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Three Commandments of the Successful Forex System Trader

Very often people will ask me what is needed to achieve some success in automated trading. I get asked if it is actually possible to live "making money while you sleep" and to exploit market inefficiencies as the market changes. Often people I explain my line of work to are extremely skeptical. For example a person I met a few weeks ago at my sister's wedding asked how this was possible and that if this was possible, why isn't everyone making a profit from the forex market. Oh well, it certainly is useful when you talk to people who have absolutely nothing to do with trading - as a matter of fact - I had not found myself in such a difficult position to explain something for quite a bit of time. In the end, I told her that - in analogy with getting to heaven and the ten commandments - people do not succeed with the use of automated trading systems because they do not follow some very simple principles. I explained to her that there are simple rules that need to be followed when you trade these systems and that deviations - even if only small - can end up making a person fail to achieve the ultimate goal of long term profitability in automated trading.

On today's post I want to talk to you about these "three commandments" I explained to her and why each one of these simple rules is absolutely vital to get success in trading, specifically with mechanical trading systems. Of course, some of you may disagree and some of you may agree but in the end these are the rules I have found to work for me and what I believe "raises the bar" so that only a few traders are able to get to this point. Evidently I have not been enjoying this position for decades and therefore I am still tempted and strive to stay with my "three commandments of the mechanical system trader", hopefully following these three seemingly simple - yet very complex rules - will keep me in my way towards a few decades of forex automated trading profitability :o). Do you want to know more about these rules and whether or not they apply to your current situation ? Keep reading to find out !

1. You shall understand what you are doing. Perhaps this eliminates most of the people out there who are currently wanting to become profitable in the long term using these systems. Understanding is a vital part of success and achieving a profitable position in automated trading will simply not be possible - from what I have seen and experienced - if you do not perfectly understand everything you are doing, the systems you are using and how automated trading works. Understanding needs to be deep and should NOT be merely superficial. Understanding should cover deep knowledge about your system's logic, the inefficiency exploited, etc. If you have not gone through at least a few years worth of trades of the system you are trading in a trade by trade basis doing a trade by trade in-depth analysis then you still need to go a long way before you can consider that you truly know what you are trading. In the end, any effort you won't do is an effort somebody else will make and that someone will take your place as a profitable mechanical trader. So if you want to avoid efforts, this is not the place to be.

2. You shall know what to expect. After knowing what you are doing comes to know what you should expect. Traders who are successful using automated trading systems know exactly what to expect from their systems, they know all the characteristics of the systems they trade and precisely what their predicted draw down and profit periods are like. People who understand their automated trading systems and analyze them extensively know the accuracy of their simulations, the length of profit and draw down periods and all other characteristics of systems. Again - as with understanding - we are not talking about a superficial understanding of what to expect. Anything that happens with your system that you do not take into account within your plan will make you unsuccessful so you have to be prepared for every possible case. What if your system reaches a draw down deeper than the simulations ? what if the system has double the number of predicted consecutive loses ? You should know what the meaning of these events are related to your system's performance.

3. You shall evaluate your systems. The last commandment of the successful mechanical trader is to evaluate. You cannot be successful if you trade a system with blind faith - because every system can fail - and continuously evaluating the performance of your trading system and the current market conditions is of incredible importance to achieve success. Knowing when a worst-case scenario will be reached, if the current draw down cycle is too long, if the system is now too risky to be traded, etc is one of the most important aspects of successful mechanical trading.

For people who read this blog who are also Asirikuy members the three above mentioned commandments may have sounded very familiar as I refer to them continuously within the Asirikuy website videos as the Asirikuy mantra : understand, expect and evaluate. From my experience these three simple things are the only actual skills you need to be a successful system trader. You simply need to understand, know what to expect and evaluate performance.

Of course, easier said than done :o) Maybe the first point seems to be the hardest - and it probably is- but the second and third are NOT any easier. Knowing what to expect from a system requires extensive analysis and it requires you to have a very clear understanding about the role and limitations of simulations and the whole way in which the system changes as market conditions start to develop, not to mention a deep understanding of system cycles, their extent and composition. Evaluating is also not very easy to do since it requires the confidence to run your system on live accounts and to weather the profit and draw down cycles trusting your expectancy analysis to be right.

My advice for you is therefore extremely simple. If you want to be successful in automated trading, follow the above three rules and I can guarantee that you will - at least- get to the point where I am today :o). If you would like to learn more about my journey in automated trading and how you too can build and trade your own automated trading systems based on sound trading tactics please consider buying my ebook on automated trading or joining Asirikuy to receive all ebook purchase benefits, weekly updates, check the live accounts I am running with several expert advisors and get in the road towards long term success in the forex market using automated trading systems. I hope you enjoyed the article !

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