For years, I’ve heard that 90% of traders lose money trading, and they lose it to the 10% who are making money. More recently, it seems that the numbers I hear are 95-5, so even worse.
FXCM recently released a report showing, according to them, retail fx traders received better executions than institutional or exchange traders. In my experience working for two fx brokers, they are exactly right. Retail traders get ridiculously great pricing and fills.
How is it that retail traders are getting better pricing, but they still lose on a higher percentage of trades than institutional and professional traders? I think there are five reasons why retail traders aren’t as successful as professional traders.
1. Execution of Trading Strategy
Through many years of working on a trading desk and talking to customers and banks, I didn’t see much of a difference in the actual trading strategies between our trading desk, the trading desk at a bank, our institutional/professional traders, or our retail trader. Everyone has the same access to charting, technical analysis and pricing analysis.
Professional traders do not simply limit themselves to technical analysis. They know their own trading very well: their tendencies, how much they are comfortable risking, how to minimize their bad trades while maximizing their good trades. It’s more than even that. Good professional traders have scenario analysis that gives them further analysis on their own trading: expectancy, confidence, equity moving average, etc.
Professional traders also tend to look at a potential trade through the lens of many different trading strategies and many types technical analysis. They also have a pulse on the fundamentals behind the products they are trading. They eat, sleep and breathe the markets.
2. Big Picture Oriented
A professional trader and a retail trader might be trading the same strategy and looking at the same chart to make a trade, but the professional trader is looking at many other things to determine the viability of a trade before entering the trade. There is no fear of missing a trade. The professional trader lets the trade come to them…they are not chasing trades.
So what are professional traders looking at that retail traders often ignore? Professional traders are looking at long and short term charts and analysis…and they ask themselves what could happen…how could this trade go wrong…how much could I lose on this trade?
A professional trader looks beyond this trade and is more concerned with the overall market. What could hinder me from hitting my limit? What could cause the market to move against me? When might I need to cut my losses? They aren’t waiting until they are in position to think through these things…they are asking these questions before making the trade.
3. More Discipline
Enough cannot be said about discipline in trading (or any endeavor). The best traders, professional or retail, are all very disciplined. Looking at the last two things that make people better traders, the best traders do their research before entering the trade.
The best traders know why they are in a trade. They know when they are going to get out of a trade. They work orders. Why? Because they have seen what can happen when you don’t work orders. They work stops and let those stops fill if they are due to be filled.
A less disciplined trader will pull their stop because they just know that the currency, stock, commodity is going to go their direction. They just don’t want to miss out, or maybe, they just can’t stomach losing on another trade.
Most professional traders answer to someone. There is a boss, an investor, another trader. There is almost always someone that a professional trader has to answer to and make a case for each and every trade. Sometimes, they don’t have to make a case of the trade beforehand, but they will need to answer questions if the trade goes bad.
Those questions are almost always around the other points of this article. “Didn’t you see that the daily chart was showing this and was clearly a strong trend in the opposite direction?” “Where was your stop order to protect from this happening?” “You risked 100 ticks to gain 10?” “Why did you take the trade?” “Why did you move your stop?”
Trust me. These are just a tip of the iceberg in terms of questions asked when a trade goes sour. It is a very uncomfortable time, and the trader needs answers to why they did everything.
My point is this: How many retail traders have to make a case to someone before making a trade? Sometimes, it is good to get someone else’s opinions on a product before trading it. After working on the desk for 9 years, I found that my fellow traders hardly ever agreed with my analysis. At the very least, they had very good insight that I was missing.
5. Patient and Calculated
Professional traders are very competitive and very confident. The best traders wait until the odds are stacked in their favor before trading. I love the Jim Rogers quote: “I just wait until there is money lying in the corner, and all I have to do is go over there and pick it up. I do nothing in the meantime.”
Like I said earlier, the best traders let the trades come to them and don’t go chasing after trades. They are patient. They are calculating. They take risks and lose money, but the money they lose is calculated beforehand. The risk of them losing is small, as is the amount of money being risked.
The point of all of this is that you don’t need tighter spreads to be more profitable. You probably don’t even need better charts or a new trading strategy.
Most likely, all you might need is more insight and better discipline on applying that insight. Just like most things in life, more knowledge is a great thing, but discipline can really reap positive rewards.
More Problem for CBN as Naira Approaches N500/US$ at the Black Market
Naira plunged against the United States Dollar to a record low of N495 at the black market on Thursday despite the Central Bank of Nigeria saying it has enough financial means to meet forex demands.
The Naira declined by N12 from N483 it exchanged on Monday amid persistent scarcity and high demands by importers and businesses looking to offset COVID-19 losses with the usual December high demand sales.
Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Tuesday blamed the wide foreign exchange rate at the black market on speculators and hoarders looking for personal gain at the expense of the nation.
He went on to caution experts using black market rates to analyse the local currency performance to stop and claimed that section of the forex only accounts for 5 percent of the nation’s total foreign exchange transactions.
While that might be true, it is also true that majority of manufacturers and businesses have turned to the black market for their forex needs in recent months, especially after it became obvious that the apex bank does not have enough liquidity to service the economy.
The nation’s foreign reserves has been battered by the weak oil prices and the continuous production cut by OPEC and allies to artificially support low prices. Nigeria’s foreign reserves is presently hovering between $35 billion and $36 billion after plunging from $45 billion attained in June 2019, according to the latest data from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Against the British Pound, the Nigerian Naira depreciated by N15 to N635 from N620 it exchanged on Monday. Another indication of chronic forex scarcity as the local currency also plunged to N580 against the European common currency, the Euro.
The wide forex is expected to further weigh on the nation’s inflation rate and consumer spending this December.
On Tuesday, the apex bank left the interest rate unchanged at 11.5 percent and attributed the rising inflation rate to structural policies, the recent #EndSARS protest and a surging fuel price.
Naira Gains N1 to N483 Against US Dollar as CBN Warned Speculators of Impending Doom
The Central Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday warned speculators and hoarders of the United States Dollar against creating artificial forex scarcity for personal gain.
Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, said black market forex rates does not reflect the economic reality of the Nigerian Naira as that section of the forex is tainted with bribes and individuals looking to profit at the expense of the nation.
“We do not agree that the determining factor for our currency should be based on a market that is tainted, where people go to offer bribes,” he stated during a virtual monetary policy committee briefing in Abuja.
The Nigerian Naira gained N1 against the United States dollar to trade at N483 at the parallel market also known as the black market, up from N484 it traded on Monday.
Emefiele said “The black market is illegal where people do not provide documentation to support transactions. It is unfortunate and unfair for analysts to say Nigeria’s exchange rate is at 480 per dollar.”
The Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) agreed with the central bank, saying speculators and currency hoarders are responsible for the wide forex rates. The association warned that speculators are going to lose money given that the apex bank has foreign reserves of $36 billion to support the local currency and meet forex demands.
The apex bank left the interest rate unchanged at 11.5 percent to further stimulate growth in the real sector and speed up the recovery process with cheaper loans. Other ratios were left unchanged as well.
Speaking on the rising inflation rate, Godwin Emefiele attributed the 14.23 percent increase in consumer prices to the rising pump price, the recent #EndSARS protest and structural policies.
Therefore, it looks like the apex bank will damn rising inflation for the first time to focus on economic productivity, new job creation and general growth.
The Naira CBN official rate remains $379 to a United States Dollar while it exchanged at N385 on the Investors and Exporters Forex Window on Tuesday.
Bureaux De Change Association Warns Against Hoarding of US Dollar, Says Speculators will Lose
The Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) on Sunday warned currency speculators and hoarders of impending losses if they do not desist from creating bogus foreign exchange rates for personal gain.
In a statement titled, “ABCON warns speculators will lose money as CBN has enough reserves to fund market, defend naira”, the association said speculators and hoarders are taking a huge risk as the Central Bank of Nigeria has enough liquidity to defend the Naira and maintain stability against global foreign counterparts.
This is coming few days after the local currency plunged to N484 to a United States dollar and N620 against the British Pound at the black market due to the rising demand and persistent scarcity that most hoarders interpreted as lack of financial muscle on the part of the central bank, especially if the nation’s falling foreign reserves is factored in.
However, ABCON said with about $36 billion foreign reserves, the Central Bank of Nigeria has the necessary means to punish speculators and hoarders they described as enemies of the nation.
President of ABCON, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, explained that the central bank is working to unify the nation’s foreign exchange rates and eliminate past challenges that have made market determined forex rates almost impossible.
He said “I think that the CBN by pushing the official foreign exchange rate from N306 to N379 to the dollar is in line with market demand.
“It has also helped to narrow the official-parallel market rates gap that formed the basis of ridiculous speculations among unpatriotic forex dealers and spectators.”
Gwadabe, however, advised the Federal Government to improve security surveillance at the nation’s land borders to checkmate illegal foreign currency cash deals.
He also asked the central bank to raise liquidity ratio of bureau de change operators to discourage dollar holdings.
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