Ep. 529: Annie Duke #2 with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Annie Duke
Annie Duke

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Annie Duke is on the podcast for the second time. She is a poker player, author, decision making expert, and cognitive scientist. Her understanding of how luck, skill and uncertainty all play a role in life is fascinating.

Donald Trump has made some unusual cabinet choices, especially for getting elected by such a small margin. Annie breaks down her perspective on why Trump chose the way he did. One of the hardest people to play against is someone playing aggressively across the board, such as Trump. She relates Trump’s aggressive political playing to poker, giving insights as to how Trump opposition might be playing their cards to beat him.

Annie moves on to decipher luck and skill in decision making and outcomes. Black and white thinking can be harmful. Decisions that don’t go your way are not always the wrong choice. You may have taken the right direction, the cards just didn’t fall in your favor. You need to be able to move on and know that another chance is around the corner. Fixating on decisions that were wrong can easily start to snowball and make things personal. The key is to learn to move on from one hand dealt to another quickly because life won’t pause for anyone. Take the time to reflect later, but don’t get caught up in the moment and dwell on what mistakes you may, or may not have made.

The world of poker is a male driven sport. Focusing her purpose on winning the game rather than getting people at the table to like her enabled her to get over discrimination and actually use it to her advantage. Not caring about the approval of peers instantly gives the person being discriminated against the upper hand. Once you view something as a challenge rather than adversity you become a stronger person and begin creating a positive narrative for that situation and your life. Shying away from adversity is a way of giving up on yourself and falling victim. Facing adversity as a challenge provides self power and confidence.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Quality of outcome vs Quality of your decision
  • Game theory and math
  • Applying poker decision making to life decision making
  • Cognitive science

Mentions & Resources:

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Ep. 525: Martin Bergin Interview #2 with Michael Covel on Trend Following

Martin Bergin and Bill Dunn
Martin Bergin and Bill Dunn

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Martin “Marty” Bergin is the President and owner of DUNN Capital Management. Bergin began working with DUNN in 1997. He took over the day-to-day operations of the firm in 2007 and became owner in 2015 (Bill Dunn remains Chairman). DUNN has an outstanding track record that spans over 40 years. Bergin first met Dunn while he was tasked with doing an audit of the company over the course of 7 years. Once the audit was over, Dunn offered him a job.

There has been ongoing dialogue since 2008 that trend following has been a negative. DUNN Capital’s track record does not reflect that. They have been doing things different. They are 100% systematic. They do not have an army of traders staring at screens. All emotion has been removed from the equation and traders use algorithms that have already been put in place to make day to day trades. They take positions strictly based on what the system tells them to do.

Managed futures (read: trend following) was the only strategy that stood out during the 2008 crisis. Historically DUNN has been able to outperform the S&P over their 40 year track record. I argue that when looking at their performance side by side with S&P performance, there could be a whole class taught on the chart. Bergin says that with all the changes in America (mostly political) there is no telling if the new policy’s that are said to come will crash the S&P or double the S&P. He has no way to predict the future and neither does anyone else.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Management fees
  • How the financial industry works
  • Systematic trend following strategies
  • Trading off of price data
  • The advantages of diversity in your portfolio

“What has more information in it than price? It is the accumulation of all information in the marketplace, and that is all we trade.” – Marty Bergin

Mentions & Resources:

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Ep. 523: Tom Asacker Interview with Michael Covel

Tom Asacker
Tom Asacker

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This is Tom Asacker’s second appearance on the show. His newest work is “I Am Keats: Escape Your Mind and Free Your Self.” The title of his book spawned from a conversation he had with a friend whose 20-something year old son was still living at home. Tom told his friend “Too bad we can’t wipe his memory clean and start over.” All actions come from your memory so Tom figured if he could wipe the 20 something’s memory clean, he could rewrite his life. After that conversation Tom had a sequence of serendipitous moments that lead to the writing of “I Am Keats.” Tom gives a unique perspective on the human condition that will no doubt give all listening something to think about.

Tom’s work allows people to think of themselves as being in a “mental cell,” to think clearly outside that, and learn how to make better decisions. There is a powerful misconception among people that they have a predisposed identity. Asacker says, “Who you are is what you create.” Just because you choose to go one direction, doesn’t mean that you won’t have some serendipitous event that changes your course of life. Just enjoy your journey, whether it is a journey full of struggle or journey full of success. The process is the goal, not where you think you are going to get to in the future.

There is no linear path to success and happiness. This illusion of stability causes people to wake up when they are 40 or 50 and think to themselves, “What happened with my life?” Life is not predetermined. It unfolds as you live it. What you do in the past sets you up for the future. How do you compete with the Steve Jobs of the world by staying in your office cube? Stop hedging your bets, and jump off the ledge.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Taking a leap of faith
  • Traveling for the sake of traveling
  • Serendipity
  • Hypocrisy on the Internet
  • What are your “beliefs”
  • Cognitive dissonance
  • Being driven by inspiration vs. data
  • Bring the engineers in after you have the design

“People in general already believe that they are better and smarter than average. It is a cognitive bias called illusionary superiority and the internet is making this bias even more extreme. It is supercharging peoples pre-conceptions and solidifying their false assumptions.” – Tom Asacker

“I want life to be like an Easter egg hunt.” – Michael Covel

“You can’t create from data, you create from the soul.” – Tom Asacker

Mentions & Resources:

Want a FREE Trend Following DVD? Get it here.

Ep. 516: Wesley Gray Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following

Wesley Gray
Wesley Gray

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Michael and Wesley Gray cover wide territory today across the subject of momentum in the markets. Wesley Gray served as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps and taught as a finance professor at Drexel University. He earned an MBA and a PhD in finance from the University of Chicago and graduated magna cum laude with a BS from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Wesley is founder of Alpha Architect, an asset management that delivers affordable active exposures for tax-sensitive investors. He has published four books including: “Quantitative Value,” “DIY Financial Advisor,” “Embedded” and his newest book “Quantitative Momentum.” He is a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and the CFA Institute.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Efficient Market Hypothesis
  • Cross-sectional momentum
  • Time-series momentum
  • Trend following
  • Behavior
  • Career risk

Mentions & Resources:

Want a FREE Trend Following DVD? Get it here.

Ep. 512: Tim Price Interview #3 with Michael Covel on Trend Following

Tim Price
Tim Price

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Tim Price has worked in capital markets for over 25 years across three management firms. His book is “Investing Through the Looking Glass.”

Tim thought Brexit would be the biggest thing in politics during his lifetime, until Trump. People love a narrative and those behind Brexit and Trump produced a great one. People were so fed up with the establishment that even though they may not have agreed with the idea of Brexit or the agenda of Trump, they wanted a vote against the establishment.

“What was the driving force behind wanting to write your first book?” The seminal event for him was the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which led him to think: “How on earth did we end up in this mess?” Interest rates are still at zero eight years post crisis and central banks are still printing money out of nowhere. He has spent the years since 2008 researching what the causes were and essentially the “Who done it” in the bailouts. Michael and Tim talk about the economy and the avalanche that is building on the horizon. Michael asks, “How did we get to the point where so many of us have just accepted that there are these show figures making decisions for us that we have no choice in?”

In Tim’s work he takes people on a detailed journey through the banking system, bailouts, bond market, stock market and the solutions. “What other options in trading exist after you have value, momentum and gold?” Michael and Tim discuss why there aren’t really any other options beyond those.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Trusting central planners
  • Going against the establishment
  • Banking system
  • Owning gold
  • Lehman Brothers collapse
  • 2008 bubble
  • The Brexit and Trump narrative

“Mankind has survived because of our ability to believe in things that do not actually exist.” – Tim Price

Mentions & Resources:

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Ep. 510: Milton Friedman Returns with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman

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Milton Friedman is one of Michael’s favorite dead guests to bring on the podcast. He takes complicated subjects and breaks them down clearly. Today, Michael curates two interviews between Phil Donahue and Milton Friedman. These interviews were recorded back in the 1980’s, but many of the points made are more relevant today than ever. Milton foreshadows Uber, talks about the deep state (without mentioning the deep state), brings up airline service and monopoly. His solutions to problems in government 35 years ago were to cut government spending, hold monetary growth back and cut regulations. The same solutions to government are at the forefront of American politics today.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Government spending
  • Liberty in trading
  • Government regulation
  • Unknowingly supporting private interests
  • How to prevent monopoly
  • Legalizing drugs
  • Prohibition

“I don’t believe government is the mother of children, I don’t believe it is the father of children, I believe government is a way in which you and I and our fellow citizens achieve certain things jointly that we can’t achieve separately.” – Milton Friedman

“The private market system is a system of profit and loss. And the loss part is just as essential as the profit part.” – Milton Friedman

Mentions & Resources:

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Ep. 509: Van Tharp Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following

Van Tharp
Van Tharp

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Van Tharp is on today’s podcast. It is his third appearance on the show. Van runs the Van Tharp Institute and is the author of four acclaimed books published by McGraw Hill: Super Trader, Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom, Safe Strategies for Financial Freedom, and Financial Freedom Through Electronic Day Trading. His new book is called Trading Beyond the Matrix. He was also featured in Jack Schwager’s Market Wizard’s: Interviews with Great Traders. Van Tharp received his Ph.D. in psychology, is a certified Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), a Certified Master Time Line Therapist, a certified Modeler of NLP, and an Assistant Trainer of NLP.

Michael starts the podcast asking Van how he felt the year Eugene Fama and Robert Shiller won the Nobel Prize. Van has a long standing theory that those who win the Nobel Prize are just supporting the ideas of the status quo. It is meant to propel the majority into believing they are in the right. Trend following does nothing to support the status quo, therefore Van says that Michael and himself will not be winning the Nobel Prize anytime soon.

People looking for help constantly approach Van. Michael asks, “What is it like to observe the learning of people who come into your world?” Van goes into the steps he takes new students through when teaching them how to trade. He shares some typical biases that new traders have when starting their training. He first teaches people to understand that they need to take total responsibility for what happens to them while trading. If was easy to make money in the markets then big money would make it hard to participate in the game, but since it is not easy to make money in the markets, they make it easy to join.

Michael switches gears and asks, “When were you first exposed to the ‘how much’ question?” Van says that it was at a workshop with Ed Seykota. Seykota asked, “What is the most important factor in your trading?” Van responded, “Well, It’s you.” And Seykota said, “No, it’s how much.” It all starts with how much you are willing to lose and how much you can afford to lose. Michael moves on to ask “Are there anymore interesting things that you learned from working with Ed Seykota?” Van shares a story about Seykota and the psychology behind what makes him such a legendary trader. He moves on to share some stories about another legendary trend following trader, Tom Basso. Van shares personal stories about how he conducted his business and trading.

Discretionary trading is the next topic. Van says, “If you are a pure discretionary trader, it seems to me that it would be very difficult to implement some of the position sizing methodologies that are in your work.” A trader needs to know when something is not working anymore. You need to be aware of market changes, and subtle changes in that market that no longer works.

Michael ends the podcast asking, “Who changed your thinking in your life? Who helped to send you down this path?” Van started his business around 1982, which coincidentally was probably the low point in his life. He went to a life science church that helped him work on himself. He can’t pinpoint a specific event or person that has molded him into who he is right now, it was a collaboration of events and people.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Systems theory
  • Money management vs. Position sizing
  • Ed Seykota’s trading and psychology strategies
  • Tom Basso’s trading and psychology strategies
  • Yoga
  • Training your brain how to think

Mentions & Resources:

Want a FREE Trend Following DVD? Get it here.