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David has been in markets for 10 years and has been featured on GBNews, TRT World and the Investing Channel. He runs the Macrodesiac newsletter.
What attracted you to trading?
I just kind of fell into it. I watched a YouTube advert when I was 17 and opened up a demo account. Went to uni, did the economics nonsense, and realised it was all largely bullshit since markets and the economy don’t react the way textbooks teach you.
How do they react if not in a ‘textbook’ fashion?
Markets and the global economy are chaotic. There are infinitesimal variables that can affect what occurs, and we are making our best guess when it comes to just weighing a handful of them when trading.
Markets and the global economy are chaotic.
How long have you been trading and what markets have you traded over your career?
I've been trading for 10 years, some better than others. Some with different capital sizes than others. And some with more risk tolerance than others. It’s weird - as your personal situation changes, your trading stays the same but a lot differs. I used to be far more active than I am now for example. Now I sit and wait quite a bit, with much smaller initial position sizes. Now I probably make 5-10 per month when previously that might have been 5-10 per week. My favourite markets are and always will be FX, with my ultimate favourite being AUDJPY - I just love how it shits the bed when it gets going.
my ultimate favourite being AUDJPY - I just love how it shits the bed when it gets going.
How long did it take you to become profitable?
For me to say now that I will be profitable at the end of the year is something I won’t do since absolutes in don’t exist in trading. I can say I’ll probably make money, but no one knows when that left tail will sneak up on you and chew your arsehole. In terms of things ‘clicking’, there is an element of that that starts to come in at maybe year three - where your subconscious recognises past similar events and you just have the ‘feeling’. I’ve mentioned this feeling a lot, it’s when you see things so clearly and it just feels absolutely right to execute - within a minute or two the market is already going your way.
no one knows when that left tail will sneak up on you and chew your arsehole.
Does that mean you have less tolerance for downside in your trading?
Not at all. I am happy to sit offside until the story in my head changes because my first position is always tiny. I don’t care about being right off the bat, I care about the market eventually making me feel comfortable with my view.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Up at 6 am, scroll Twitter for news while sitting with my 2-year-old. I won’t check positions til 8-ish, probably have a lot of TradingView emails to catch up on overnight from other countries/timezones. Then I check in with the Macrodesiac guys to make sure everyone has an inkling of what the market is doing at the moment (or to ask them questions if I don’t have a fucking clue). Then it’s pretty much the same for the next 12 hours. Usually would throw a 1-2 hour gym session in there as well.
Tell us about Macrodesiac:
Macrodesiac aims to give a no-nonsense understanding of the markets and what’s driving them.
Would you say being kept busy away from the charts has made you more effective when you are at your screen?
100%. Doing less trading and building a view means that when I do have to build a view, I’m looking at the most important aspects due to time constraints.
Who did you look up to when you first started trading?
No one specifically. I think Tom Dante, who’s a mate of mine, provided some sage advice to do with remaining level-headed. I don’t think you should idolise anyone, but you should take information from multiple different places and see what fits with you. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve had was from a dealer at a large firm here in London. He said, ‘always think about what others aren’t,’ and that has stuck with me since it tends to lead to being able to model convex ideas and where ‘cheap’ trades might lie.
Tell us about your most memorable trade.
Selling AUDJPY for 8 months in 2019. Every rally I sold came off. It was unbelievable.
Did you learn much from that trade?
I learnt that the pair absolutely flies when shit goes risk off.
I learnt that the pair absolutely flies when shit goes risk off.
If you weren’t trading in finance what do you think you’d be doing?
I’ve always kind of liked law but then my lawyer friends say it’s soul destroying until you’re like 35 or something and earning big bucks.
Would you say you’ve ‘made it’? If not, what does ‘making it’ look like to you?
I have a family that I love and we do OK. I’m still only 29. It’s too early to say if I’ve made it or not in my opinion. That’ll come when I’m 50-odd and I can say that I am proud of everything I’ve done.
What's the most important quality in a trader?
Information filtering - be able to understand what is important at that moment and where others are caught out based on unimportant information. Start with interest rates. They are the market’s weighing mechanism.
How would you describe the way you trade?
Macro. 1 week + hold times, boring. I prefer not having to be completely on it 24/7. Longer hold times give me some breathing room. I prefer studying sentiment and what’s going on that pertains to the particular trade than actually executing. Executing is awful, I still get stomach pangs when I click bid or offer.
Executing is awful, I still get stomach pangs when I click bid or offer.
Has the way you trade changed over time?
Much less activity but with more success. Happy to cut a trade 20 times to wait for better timing.
Why do you think you have success trading?
I try not to do what others do as much as possible. I am contrarian but stop before conspiracies. Most conspiracies can be put down to confirmation bias, the Dunning Kruger effect and the fact that elitist overlords are so stupid that they wouldn’t be able to come together to wipe their own arses if they tried.
elitist overlords are so stupid that they wouldn’t be able to come together to wipe their own arses if they tried.
What's the worst thing about trading and why?
It consumes your life. Everything you think about relates back to the market in some way. ‘Oh, there’s a pretty butterfly’! Shit, now all I can think about is what price a 2s10s30s fly is trading at.
What's something you've learned in the last 6 months that has made you a better trader?
The DAX is a pile of shit. There’s a tonne of fraud in Germany - it’s almost inherent. A few days ago Germany had been found to be using 26 ‘special funds’ to hide their deficit, amounting to like EUR 360 billion.
This will surely have a knock on effect onto the index and German economy eventually.
What's the mistake you find hardest to avoid when trading?
Remembering when there is a tipping point, that the book is very one-sided. The contentedness of the market currently thinking the trend HAS to continue is usually a bad thing, and means there’s a sharp reversal pending.
The contentedness of the market currently thinking the trend HAS to continue is usually a bad thing, and means there’s a sharp reversal pending.
If you could give someone starting trading tomorrow one piece of advice what would it be and why?
Don't. It’s fucking hard.
What goals do you set for your trading?
None, I expect nothing. Being net positive inclusive of commissions at the end of the year is the only goal. This ain’t a hobby or practise round at the golf course. It’s the most competitive game in the world and being net positive EoY is better than 95% out there who tried it. This goes back to contentedness.
This ain’t a hobby or practise round at the golf course. It’s the most competitive game in the world and being net positive EoY is better than 95% out there who tried it.
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