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Trend Following Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is trend following exactly?
A: Read.

Q: What are the origins of trend following?
A: Read.

Q: What are the requirements to start?
A: These prerequisites are required either in advance or at the same time. You will also need daily and or weekly price data. Questions: Ask.

Q: Why are there two versions of your product?
A: My Flagship Premium gets you there faster. That is the main benefit. Of course, no small feature.

Q: Who is trend following for?
A: Everyone (almost):

  • New or private traders trading their own account.
  • All account sizes.
  • Hedge fund managers, commodity trading advisors, floor traders and locals.
  • Professional traders looking to establish money management businesses.
  • Those who trade 401K, IRA, or other retirement vehicles.
  • Those burned by buy-and-hope strategies and trusting the U.S. Federal Reserve.
  • Those who want to trade all markets with the same rules.
  • Those who want to make money in both bull, bear and black swan markets.
  • Those who don’t know where to start.

Michael’s service is for brand new to pro traders. It is for traders who trade global markets and for those that trade only their home country markets. It is for retirement, speculative accounts, Registered Investment Advisors, fund managers and college students. This is the true location independent, desert island trading strategy.

Q: Who is trend following training not for?
A: The list:

  • Those expecting millions instantly.
  • Day traders.
  • People who think they can predict tomorrow.

Q: What is your expertise?
A: Michael Covel’s quantitative investment and behavioral economics research can be seen across books, a documentary film and an internationally known podcast with over 1.9M listens. Michael has invested over 1M building his investment research firm Trend Following™. The firm’s foundation is centered on capturing profit opportunities grounded in a deep understanding of human behavior. His clients receive world class trading systems and education built around proprietary trend trading rules, psychology and philosophy. His investment research clients span 70+ countries.

Q: What are the performance possibilities?
A: For more than 5 decades trend following traders have captured global opportunities delivering massive profit outcomes. Michael’s clients receive an objective strategic plan with exact rules to immediately and dramatically capture those outcomes. Trend following is also for those seeking to not trade as trend following traders, but rather use Michael’s systems to hedge their traditional portfolios*.

Q: When does trend following work?
A: The investment objective of Michael’s trading programs is to extract profits from up, down and black swan markets (rare or surprise events), resulting in an above average return stream. Michael’s programs can be applied to long only and long/short portfolios and all programs are quantitative and 100% systematic. One of trend following’s benefits is that it acts as an inverse Warren Buffett, an investment strategy that finds value in rare and often disastrous phenomena. It is the only proven strategy for all investing climates.

Q: What type of markets can be traded?
A: Michael’s systems are for stocks, bonds, commodities, currencies (FX), energies, agriculturals, metals and softs. Can you trade stocks only, for example? Yes.

Q: What market instruments can be traded?
A: Systems are for equity ETFs, LEAPS options and or futures.

Q: Talk about the philosophical process?
A: You will focus only on daily trading activities relevant to above average results. That means no fundamentals, no economic reports and no news. Unnecessary complexity is eliminated. This is trading where the checklist, the process, is central to the great outcome.

Q: How do others feel?
A: Review Michael’s teaching track record with extensive social proof. There are, however, also critics. If Michael’s work made the manipulative Federal Reserve, CNBC, Wall Street and EMH academia happy–he would not be following his truth telling mandate.

Q: How specific is your product?
A: Michael’s service is an overall trend trader education with exact trend following systems that can be applied immediately to your investment account. That means you will receive:

  • Exact rules for selecting your tracking portfolio.
  • Exact rules for entering your trades at the right time.
  • Exact rules for exiting your trades with a loss at the right time.
  • Exact rules for exiting your trades with a profit at the right time.
  • Exact rules for how much money to bet on each trade based on your unique situation.

Q: How has your firm evolved?
A: Michael’s Trend Following™ services have evolved significantly since inception. The original focus from 1997-2003 was assisting clients with only Turtle trading. Over the last decade, however, services have grown to include a much wider expertise in trend following trading. The current Trend Following™ Premium Flagship edition is Michael’s most comprehensive solution yet.

Q: Is trend trading only for U.S. traders?
A: My students are in 70+ countries trading on exchanges from Europe to Asia to the Middle East to South America to North America.

Q: Are your systems and training for the individual investor? For the new or beginner trader?
A: The majority of students are individual traders and investors. Many are new with no experience. Some have experience, but the wrong kind of experience. Some only know buy and hold. Some only know value investing (i.e., Buffett) or fundamentals. Whether you are age 21 and in college, age 30 working a job, or age 60 in retirement, you can learn the techniques of great traders.

Q: Are your systems and training for market professionals?
A: Systems and training are used by experienced traders worldwide. Hedge fund managers to CTAs to CFAs (Chartered Financial Analysts) to CMTs (Chartered Market Technicians) to brokers to financial advisers on every continent have become clients.

Q: How were your systems and training assembled?
A: The great traders, along with their trading rules, are not easily accessed. However, Michael Covel has dedicated his life to assembling their trading systems and lessons. Covel has spent the last 15 years on the ‘inside’ learning from the greatest traders of our time. View Covel’s trading mentors.

Q: Are your trading systems just “Turtle Trading”?
A: No. Michael Covel’s The Complete TurtleTrader explains the Turtle story and system in detail. It is the definitive Turtle resource, but Flagship systems and training go much farther. Human interaction with Michael and his staff, the live teaching element, is entirely different than a book alone.

Q: The top end of your trading systems and training is $3000?
A: Paying for trading education is far less expensive than losing a fortune with no trading plan. The price is negligible if you consider it an investment in your future wealth.

Q: I’m a business student and I have always disliked the way professors downplay anything but fundamentals. I’m considering ordering your systems and training to continue my education in trading and I just had one question. I’m curious as to whether the systems in your training can be applied to shorter time frames like hourly or 4-hour charts?
A: No. Day trading is fool’s gold. My systems and training will be worth millions to you over a lifetime if you simply understand that day trading is a waste. More on the subject: Read.

Q: How do I know you can help me to become a profitable trend trader?
A: Read and here.

Q: I am concerned about having the right exit strategy.
A: Traders without an exit plan always lose. Applying explicit exit protocols to limit damage during market declines is the name of the game. That means having an exit strategy for all of your positions at all times. That means deliberately, consistently and mechanically ‘cutting losses short’ while letting your winners ‘run.’ Students learn how.

Q: What starting capital is needed?
A: Read.

Q: What is the difference between your books and systems/courses?
A: My books are great resources filled with thousands of details, and they have helped many people learn, but systems and training with support are different. Questions come up. Students need help. Personal instruction gives insights that a book can’t give. Additionally, there are many proprietary trading systems in the courses not included in the books.

Q: Will too many trend followers make it less profitable?
A: No. A great example is 2008. Trend followers made a fortune. The profitability of trend following shows absolutely no sign of slowing down. Also, review chapter 11 of my book Trend Following.

Q: Can I trend follow in my retirement account?
A: Yes. 401ks, IRAs, Keoghs, Seps, etc. You can trade stocks, futures and ETFs in retirement accounts.

Q: So trend trading works on stocks?
A: Yes. Always.

Q: This is not only for futures trading?
A: No. Trend following is not instrument specific. Trend followers can and do trade all types of instruments. Some trade futures. Some trade ETFs. Some trade LEAPS® options. Some trade stocks. Some trade commodities. For example, today trend following traders can trade ETFs and get exposure to commodities markets without having to trade futures. You will learn what is the best option for your situation.

Q: Is trend following risky?
A: Life is risky. You might get hit by a car crossing the street. All trading is risky. However, if you have a concrete plan, risk is manageable. That is the key to the success of great trend following traders. As you have seen in the last decade buy and holders, mutual funds, fundamentals, etc. don’t control risk at all.

Q: I am currently a financial adviser and will be going back to school for a 4-year degree in the summer. As far as school is concerned what type of courses would be most advantageous for me to take or learn that would help in trend following?
A: Most finance departments ignore trend following. If they do, they call it ‘luck’. In fact, many of the greatest traders had little to no experience trend trading before starting. Trend following legend John W. Henry, for example, did not have a college degree. However, the great trend traders have been motivated to learn and work hard.

Q: How much math is involved in trend following for success?
A: +, -, *, / — the basics. A degree in math, statistics, or economics is not needed to trade trend following techniques. Staff, premises, and expensive overhead are not required.

Q: Is trend following trading black box system trading?
A: This is not ‘black box’ trading. All rules and philosophies are fully disclosed.

Q: Do the great trend followers watch the markets during the day?
A: Some trend followers only trade once a week using weekly bars. Forget the nonsense of day trading and 5 minute bars.

Q: How much time is required to trade as a trend following trader?
A: You can spend a minute or two per market each day. For example, let’s say you check prices in the evening, then with one trade on your PC in the morning, you place or change any orders in accordance with rules. Use your iPhone or Blackberry to do it. Flagship trend following trading systems use daily data to determine buy and sell signals. This is not day trading or high frequency trading. Orders can be placed before the market opens and do not need hourly monitoring. Most top traders manage their trades in 10 to 30 minutes per day. Trend follower Richard Donchian once said: “If you trade on a definite trend-following loss limiting-method, you can trade without taking a great deal of time from your regular business day. Since action is taken only when certain evidence is registered, you can spend a minute or two per [market] in the evening checking up on whether action-taking evidence is apparent, and then in one telephone call in the morning place or change any orders in accord with what is indicated. [Furthermore] a definite method, which at all times includes precise criteria for closing out one’s losing trades promptly, avoids…emotionally unnerving indecision.” Each day you determine entries and or exits for the following day. You can then buy or sell “at the market” on the open the next day.

Q: Why is money management needed?
A: Money management, also called risk management or position sizing, is a critical component of trend following trading success: read more.

Q: Are markets different now?
A: Markets are the same because they always change. Trend following trading adapts to change. That’s the key.

Q: Isn’t 24-hour news needed?
A: No. You can use the internet to get closing price quotes. You don’t need real-time data or news. In fact, you don’t need news at all.

Q: Is leverage used in trend following?
A: Yes. All great trend following traders use leverage. It is a tool to be used correctly. You learn how. Keep in mind, this is not the use of leverage that sunk so many Wall Street banks. This is different.

Q: Once I complete your training will I need my personal broker or financial advisor to help me trade successfully?
A: No.

Q: What do you think of Gann and Elliott Wave?
A: Nothing.

Q: Once training is completed what additional expenses will be needed to start?
A: You need money to trade and daily price data (about $20/month). You will receive a special discount set up with a leading provider. All clients receive 10% off CSI Data’s advertised prices.

Q: I’m in the beginning stages of starting a fund and I have a lot of questions, but I really haven’t been able to talk to anyone about it, mostly because I haven’t met anyone in the business. I was wondering if I put a few questions together if you could forward it to someone you think could be helpful in answering them?
A: A critical feature of Flagship systems and training is support. These are the types of questions you will have answered. You can receive help on introductions, along with hints on how to break into the business or just advice on trading your own account.

Q: I currently work in a Fortune 500 company as a Finance Director. I was reading your book on The Turtles and got more interested and read your web site. I’m interested in your training courses, but I have to be honest, it seems strange that someone is willing to train or give away a process that works. This is one of my questions.
A: Think about the Turtles. Think about all of the trend followers with decades of trend following trading results. Most people don’t want to change. Most people are happy losing with buy and hold. Sad, but true. This issue is also addressed in the last chapter of the book Trend Following.

Q: Does your trading systems and training explain exactly which markets to trade and why?
A: Yes. A key to the consistency of trend following is diversification across markets. Trend following exposure to all markets allows profits from trending markets to cover losses from other markets. Big moves, and the profits from those, offset losses. Additionally, using the exact same rules and parameter values across markets is a key factor in keeping trend following trading systems robust.

Q: Are chart techniques and studies used to pick entry & exit levels and where to place stop levels? Do you teach a one-size-fits-all method of level picking and using indicators or do you tailor it to the individual?
A: You will learn how to make all trading decisions regardless of your situation. Rules adapt. You learn it all.

Q: I read about fancy software and all kinds of complicated trading strategies that seemingly only rocket scientists can trade. Is that what this is?
A: No. The real risk in today’s age is over-doing a trading system. There is so much computing power available and so much data available, but the reality is that great trend following can be explained on the back of a napkin. You learn to navigate these issues.

Q: Will I learn how to successfully make money in foreign markets with no fundamental knowledge of those markets?
A: Yes.

Q: Does your trend following training provide actual trend following systems?
A: Yes.

Q: Does your trend following training provide exact rules/instruction for selecting a portfolio?
A: Yes.

Q: Can I put myself in a position to profit during the next crash?
A: Yes. That is core to trend following.

Q: Can I see a map of where your clients live?
A: Yes.

Q: Can I read about the traders that have influenced you and your trading principles?
A: Yes.

Q: Can I compete against the big guys?
A: Yes. The big guys don’t stop the little guys from trading. The idea that the big trend followers block the small trend followers is nonsense.

Q: Can I use this intra-day?
A: No. Anyone who speaks of trend following intra-day, 5-minute bars, etc. is a huckster. That stuff is something else, but it’s not trend following.

Q: Are there too many people trading this way?
A: No. This is a common misperception.

Q: I see you use a lot of ratio mathematical formula. Do you teach those formulas or is that something one needs to get additional outside teaching for?
A: All formulas, rules and systems included. My training also includes email support. That human interaction will be as much as you want to make it.

Q: Are markets trending much the same today as they did 50 yrs ago?
A: Markets are the same going back 200 years at least: http://arxiv.org/abs/1404.3274 (PDF).

Q: What are your main criteria to identify a trend?
A: Main criteria to ID a trend? In trend following you don’t do that. In trend following you take entry signals, and have exit signals. After an entry and then the exit is the only time one can historically ID a trend. Anyone out there saying they can spot/predict trends is incorrect.

Q: In using your methods do they perform in today’s markets with the global financial crisis, Government manipulation and high frequency trading?
A: Trend following performs when markets trend. Trends can take place in all types of environments. An environment you might describe today, can change tomorrow. Trend following adapts. Always. To preserve capital is rule number one.

Q: Are there any free resources you can recommend in order to enlighten me on your methods and whether they will suit me? I have watched the free videos.
A: Yes. See here.

Q: Would living in [any country] make a difference in accessing study information and tutors?
A: No. My clients are everywhere. Location is irrelevant. I have students in 70+ countries.

Q: Does your service include code?
A: The Flagship content is not code for Tradestation®, for example. It includes rules you can calculate via paper/pencil or in an Excel spreadsheet or if you want to code the rules into Tradestation® you can do that too. My firm does not teach coding. Also, keep in mind that coding is just automation, it is not system.

Q: Having completed a few different courses in the past and have not found them that great and the content is basically taught via a bunch of videos with very little human personal teaching. What makes your course different?
A: I have no marketing pitch for that question, nor do I care to compare my trend following world to unnamed others. The best bet is to check out some of my books and or podcast (and review every last link on this page). That will give you more of a feel for me and my world.

Q: Guarantee.
A: Read.



• Flagship: $2997.00: More
• Standard: $2397.00: More
• TREX Trend System: More
• Triceratops Trend System: More
• Consulting: More

Note: Michael Covel's loyal students include new traders, college students, pro traders, commodity trading advisers, commodity pool operators, hedge funds, family offices, venture capitalists, retirement plan sponsors, RIA's, CPA's, CFP's, financial planners, brokers, CFO's, web designers, SEO experts, lawyers, universities, consultants, authors, farmers, and just about everyone else in-between.


"I have been trading for many years and doing okay but my method was not systematic enough and too stock focused. I decided that I needed to up my game and ran across a reference to Trend Following while reading another book. I decided to contact Mike after reading the book and decided to work with him one on one. This experience has put me in a new league and really helped me focus on my weak areas which were risk management and portfolio selection. I would recommend any trader who is not where they want to be to start with Mike and the Trend Following book, website and course material."
Best Regards,
Steve Beamer

More testimonials.