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Diversification is Key to Trend Following


Hey Mike, I was thinking about your recent podcast where you talked about how the sharks were posting Bill Dunn’s worst years to demonstrate the failure of trading. It reminded me of the recent articles on John Paulson. You may have read that his gold fund is doing horribly this year. Down 65%. Just like with Bill Dunn, people who don’t understand trading are just salivating over this demonstration of the “failure of trading”. The fund only represents 2% of Paulson’s funds. If this fund operates totally independently of his others funds then I might be inclined to agree with some of the criticism Mike. I can’t understand how any professional trader of Paulson’s caliber could allow his fund to lose 65% of assets. Also, I can’t understand why any professional trader could have looked at a gold chart for the past few years and decide to go long which is the only way that I can imagine that he could be down 65%. If he does incorporate counter trending strategies and was long then I don’t understand why his stops didn’t prevent such a massive loss. On the other hand Mike, if this fund does not operate totally independent, but operates as part of all of his assets, then my view would be totally different. A 2% investment of total funds under management while a bit high, is not a totally unreasonable amount for a professional to risk on a trade. Furthermore if that is the case, just think about it Mike. A 65% unrealized loss on a particular trade means you’re still in the trade. We are actually willing to risk 100% of the 1% or so that we risk on each trade. I don’t think some people realize that. If you have $100,000 trading account and you risk $1000, 65% down in that trade means you are still in the trade. The trade doesn’t end until you either get stopped at a 100% loss of the $1,000 or you take profits of 2:1 or 3:1 on that trade. Some people don’t seem to realize that about trading.

Confusion here.

65% loss on one market is not trend following! Where is the cutting of loss? Dunn’s drawdown was from taking many small losses across many markets. They add up. No one drop on one market. Plus there really can’t be a trend following fund on one market alone. That means no diversification and that is a recipe for failure.

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