Steve Brechtel Interview; Trend Following Manifesto with Michael Covel

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Summary: Michael Covel talks with trader Steve Brechtel. Over the past 20 years Brechtel has worked as a trader for three of the top 100 hedge funds in the world: Trout Trading (now Tewksbury Capital) in Chicago and Bermuda, Crabel Capital in Milwaukee, and now Two Sigma in NYC (a $10 billion fund) — all short-term systematic funds. Considering the often secretive nature of hedge funds Brechtel’s candid talk about Two Sigma required internal clearance from his company and is a rarity in the hedge fund world. Covel and Brechtel cover Brechtel’s history, from his beginnings roughing it as a Pizza Hut manager while working an insurance job, to finding his way to Monroe Trout, to working at Crabel, to his career at Two Sigma today. They also discuss their mutual history in Virginia; why he was hired at Monroe Trout in the first place as a new trader and the advantages of having a beginner’s mind; the difference between the short term/systematic traders that Brechtel worked for and the longer term trend following Covel talks about; the six strategies Brechtel learned trading the pits; what’s changed and what’s the same now that technology has evolved; Ayn Rand, objectivism, and Trout; Brechtel’s transition from Trout to Crabel, and the differences between these two firms; and his work at Two Sigma today. Brechtel also has written a screenplay (“Unhedged”) using hedge funds and high finance as its backdrop. He shares his experience in writing the script, how his movie differs from other Wall Street movies, and Covel talks with him about his experience in making his own documentary, “Broke: The New American Dream“.