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Larry Hite on Risk

Some wise views from Larry Hite:

“We don’t really trade silver…we don’t trade the S&P…we trade the differences. We really are risk managers. We take on risks, try to exploit them and we leave when they turn against us. That is what we get paid for. Basically we are in the risk transfer business. We take on what people want to sell, sell what people want to buy and hope to make a profit. The reason why one goes to a portfolio is because there are real limits to perfect knowledge. I’ll give you an example. Say you knew which commodity, stock or currency would appreciate the most in the following year, and you knew exactly what its price would be. We did this experiment looking backwards in fact in our database. The question of when you take a position is how are you going to trade the line…how much of a position are you going to leverage. Now, if you have perfect knowledge, would you leverage 5 to 1, would you leverage 10 to 1, 2 to 1? Well it turns out that if you leverage more than 3 to 1 that you are a loser. Because we found that if you did 3 to 1 you would have, even with perfect knowledge, you could go down a third. So that, the only perfect knowledge you could have, would be if you knew every wiggle on the line. Then you would know exactly how much to leverage. But you don’t.”

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