Chat With Traders
Aaron Fifield

Chat With Traders is your key to the minds of trading's elite performers. Start listening to learn how a diverse mix of traders went from zero to hero, how they successfully trade markets today, and get their best tips 'n pointers for profitable performance, plus much more. Note: You are responsible for your own trading decisions—this is not financial advice.

Dan David is the founder of Wolfpack Research, a short-biased firm that goes to great lengths to meticulously understand the business operations, technical aspects and financials of listed companies. When uncovering a disconnect between what a company announces to the market and what Wolfpack deems to be the truth, the firm may build a short position and publish their findings in a detailed research report (commonly regarded as short activism). Dan also hosts the “I Hung Up On Warren Buffett” podcast and was featured as the lead protagonist in The China Hustle—a documentary about the key players who revealed egregious cases of fraud by Chinese companies that were listing on U.S. markets through the process of a reverse-merger.

Active equities trader and managing partner of proprietary trading firm Seven Points Capital, Michael Katz, returns for a third appearance on Chat With Traders. As we’ve previously done a 'regular' interview and an episode analysing how Mike traded the Lyft IPO, we’ve tweaked the format again and this time Mike’s answering questions submitted by listeners of the show. There were many brilliant questions sent in, which I’ve sorted into four categories: Strategy, Trade Management, Trader Development and Prop Trading.

Three years ago, Brian Lee—a former esports professional—took a leap into day trading equities. Having since developed a talent for shorting the backside of inflated moves, paired with a great emphasis on risk management, Brian’s experienced tremendous growth, both financially and in terms of market knowledge. In this chat with Brian, we go over; his first year challenges and overcoming such challenges, the time he lost it all and how he bounced back, his most frequently traded setup, and a detailed discussion about the use of R as a risk model, plus more…

Casino floor or trading floor, Bob Bright has forever sought an edge for favorable odds… Counting cards in Las Vegas at blackjack tables, calculating three-way options at the Pacific Exchange, pairs trading correlated stocks, exploiting the tracking error of leveraged ETFs; Bob’s always pursued a mathematical advantage to win the game. Also considered by many as a pioneer of proprietary trading, Bob and a partner formed Bright Trading in 1992—at its peak, the firm was home to 490-traders across 42-offices in the U.S. Today, at 80-years of age and undoubtedly a market legend, Bob remains an active trader and a serious high stakes poker player.

Wayne Himelsein begun his career on a proprietary trading desk at Carlin Financial Group in the mid-90’s, doing statistical arbitrage—complimentary to his mathematical nature. Come 1999, Wayne launched his first fund to begin managing money for clients and institutions. Then in 2011, Wayne founded Logica Capital Advisers, where he currently takes the role of Chief Investment Officer. Logica, as a quantitative investment firm, relies on rigorous research to develop its various model-driven strategies. For the most part, these are mean expansion strategies that generate alpha from being long volatility.

For the past 5-years, Hayden Beamish has been a portfolio manager and director at Endeavor Asset Management—a hedge fund based in Melbourne, with ~$300m AUM. The Hedge portfolio that Hayden manages ended the 2020 financial year up 28% after fees—in comparison, the benchmark Australian All Ordinaries ending down 7%. The main purpose of speaking with Hayden was to gain insight to his institutional investment process. This includes talk of; researching companies and prerequisites for investing, the role of analysts and brokers in providing information and flow, and managing investments. It also includes a detailed discussion about the various types of execution algorithms he’ll use for buying and selling large volumes of stock.

As an extension of the previous episode, I present to you the second installment for the ‘Best of Trading Psychology.’ Taken from past episodes of Chat With Traders, this is a compilation of snippets on psychology and mindset—an important topic to highlight, given the psychological aspect can truly make or break many traders. With any of the snippets, if you’d like to hear the full episode, direct links are listed in the show notes at: chatwithtraders.com/200

Much like the recent Best of Risk Management episodes, here is another compilation. Except this time, I’ve compiled the best clips on trading psychology, for you to hear how varying types of traders deal with mindset maters to stay focused and competitive. Again, I dug up way too much from the back catalogue of almost 200-episodes to pack into a single episode, so this is only part one—part two will follow shortly. Besides creating a go-to trading psychology resource, I hope this might also highlight some past episodes that you’ve not yet heard. If you’d like to hear the full interview with any guest featured, you’ll find a link in the show notes: chatwithtraders.com/199

In her early-20’s, after graduating from MIT, Christina Qi and two classmates; Luca Lin and Jonathan Wang—who had collectively been trading futures from a campus dorm room—founded Domeyard. It was 2012, and Domeyard was to be one of the few high frequency trading hedge funds… As Christina states during the interview, “By all means we should have failed,” given the three of them had little trading experience and minimal insight to the hedge fund industry. Not to mention, the three had almost no money, so Domeyard is also one of the few hedge funds that went out and raised money from VC’s (such as Softbank and a RenTech co-founder) as a necessary means to launch. Now eight years on, the Boston-based fund is well-established and well-passed the start-up phase. Domeyard trades thousands of times daily, sometimes exceeding 10,000 trades across various futures products. And during its single biggest day this year, the fund did turnover in excess of $7-billion dollars.

Featuring on this episode is Haim Ben Ami; CEO of Raft Technologies. Having constructed shortwave radio towers in Chicago, Frankfurt and London, Raft have established ultra-low latency connections between various exchanges, which are leased to algorithmic trading firms who seek a speed advantage. In talking with Haim, we discuss why some firms are prepared to pay big bucks in order to be a few milliseconds quicker than other market participants. Haim also draws comparisons of the various technologies used to transmit data (shortwave, microwave and fibre optic cable), and going beyond the connection, how firms further optimise for speed, plus what’s next in the race to zero.

For this third episode in the My First Year Trading Full-Time series, I speak with Ryan Trost. At the time of recording, Ryan had recently crossed 12-months as a junior equities trader at SMB Capital in New York City. Our conversation begins with Ryan speaking to how he was trading the massive intraday ranges of TSLA during it's parabolic run in February. From there we chat about Ryan’s trajectory in life prior to trading, how he landed a seat on a proprietary trading desk, lessons from losing money month after month, how he began to develop an edge, Ryan’s take on trader psychology, a recap of his best and worst days, and ares in which he’s trying to improve upon.

Ilan Israelstam’s a co-founder of Australian ETF manager BetaShares and a principal at VC firm Apex Capital Partners. Betashares first begun trading in 2010, and currently, it manages approximately $10-billion dollars in assets, across 61 funds—all of which trade on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). The motive in asking Ilan to be on the podcast was to learn more about how ETF managers operate and to delve into some of the technical aspects of ETFs. In summary, the topics we cover: risks for ETF managers, how ETF managers make money, the necessity of designated market makers, how ‘short’ and ‘leveraged’ ETFs trade as intended, tips for investing in ETFs and researchable ideas for trading ETFs.

Liam Vaughan is a finance author and senior reporter for Bloomberg. His latest book Flash Crash tells the story of Navinder Singh Sarao, a London trader, living at his parents house, who made ~$70M from his bedroom and was later accused by the U.S. government of playing a role in the 2010 Flash Crash. For anyone unaware, this was a deeply perplexing event in which the U.S. stock market, one afternoon, plunged approximately 9% and then almost completely rebounded, all in the space of just 30-minutes. While Liam speaks on many interesting moments from Nav’s life in this episode—from beginning as prop trader in 2003, through to when he was extradited to the U.S. in 2016—it’s only a sample of what’s covered in the book (an absolute must-read!)

Returning guest, Greg Newman, is a founding partner and the CEO of Onyx Commodities—a London-based proprietary trading firm, prominent in market making of oil derivatives. This episode focuses on recent events pertaining to the global oil market. More specifically, Greg talks through; key themes impacting prices, supply and demand dynamics, why Crude and Brent futures alone aren’t entirely a true reflection of the oil market, how lower prices affect producers and corporates, etc. Given the subject matter, this episode won’t be for everyone—it’s very specific to oil. But if the energy sector interests you, believe me, Greg’s an incredible wealth of knowledge. Episode recorded: 2nd April 2020.

As we’ve seen making headlines recently, reserve banks around the world have been adding liquidity to the market in an effort to stabilize economies. While some listeners will already understand how reserve banks conduct these operations, I figure there will be others who don’t completely grasp what takes place below the surface… To get clarity on the subject, I kindly asked Kevin Muir to appear on Chat With Traders for a second time and to explain the actions of reserve banks during this market downturn. Because, in my opinion, Kevin has a gift for analyzing and explaining complex subjects in a way which is easy to follow. Kevin was a derivatives trader for a Canadian bank during the 90’s, and has been an independent trader from 2000 onward. He also writes a brilliant financial newsletter, The MacroTourist, and co-hosts The Market Huddle podcast.

This is an episode to cover the extreme volatility in markets, following the recent outbreak of coronavirus… Joining me is Nishant Porbanderwalla, returning for a second time on Chat With Traders and here to discuss how he’s been navigating through the turmoil of a global pandemic. Nishant is a proprietary equities trader at Kershner Trading Group, with well over a decade of experience behind him. For the purpose of a timestamp, please note this conversation was recorded immediately after the U.S. close 18th March 2020.

In a recent episode, I mentioned that I'd be doing a few more interviews with less-experienced traders, who begun with $20,000 or more, have completed 12-months of full-time trading and are making a real effort to get better. Here's another one in the series... My guest is Christian Castillo, he resides in California and trades the foreign exchange market using methods of technical analysis. Although Christian is relatively fresh as a trader, he put up—what I would consider to be—a solid first year. He made money 9 of 12-months, and finished 2019 with a profit just shy of $20,000. We speak about Christian funding his account from driving Lyft, his experience going full-time (favorable and adverse moments), the premise of his trading strategy, the forex market in general, among other things too.

Welcome back, as we continue from where we left off last time—here's the Best of Risk Management, Pt 2. Again, this is a compilation of highlights from past interviews, all of which are applicable to managing risk and staying in the game. My hopes in compiling this 'best of' episode is that you'll have a go-to reference for anytime your risk controls require attention, as well as drawing your focus to a few episodes that may have gone unnoticed. If you'd like to hear the full interview with any guest featured, you'll find the link in the show notes: chatwithtraders.com/189

After sifting through the archive of near-200 episodes, I’ve compiled some of the best bits pertaining to risk management. As there were many bits I deemed fitting for a ‘best of’ episode, it made sense to split the compilation across two parts—this is part one, and part two will follow next (Episode 189). The idea behind creating this compilation, is to reinforce the instrumental role that risk management plays in a traders’ ability to stay in the game. It can also serve as a go-to reference for anytime you find trading loses getting out of hand. One other reason, is to highlight some past interviews which you have missed or skipped over. If you’d like to hear the full interview with any guest featured, you’ll find the link in the show notes: chatwithtraders.com/188

I recently had an idea, I thought it may be an interesting exercise to have a few less-experienced traders on the show. On Twitter, I wrote that I’d like to chat with someone who: 1. Has just completed their 1st year of full-time trading 2. Started with a minimum of $20,000 3. Is or isn’t profitable (not important), as long as he/she is taking deliberate action to improve From this tweet I received many DM’s for consideration, and after filtering through them, I’ve asked several people who fit this general description to share their experiences on the podcast… The first cab off the rank is Josh Evans; 30-something years of age, living in Melbourne (Australia), and actively trading ASX equities. This conversation with Josh follows his progression from newbie investor to intraday trader—including his motivation and preparation for going full-time. A few specific things which have helped Josh to get his equity curve pointing in the right direction. Plus, deliberate processes Josh has implemented for improvement, one piece of advice he received that made a difference, and that’s not all!