Flying a Kite, Saling a Boat… and Trend Following?

Some will always say, “Trend following doesn’t work. It lost 5% for the month.” Well, let’s look at it a little more in depth. Consider this thought from Jason Gerlach of Sunrise Capital:

Trend following is no more dead than the sport of sailing, or the act of kite flying would be considered dead, if for a period of time the wind didn’t blow. Like a sail boat or a kite, a trend following trading model is designed to capture the power of environmental forces. When the requisite environmental forces don’t occur for stretches of time, activities that depend on those environmental forces are not going to be successful. But if the wind stopped blowing for a month, would that mean that the concept of sailing or kite flying no longer makes sense? Of course not. The physics of both activities would still make perfect sense, and once the wind started blowing again, sail boats will sail and kites will again fly. The same holds true for trend following. Just as the wind will always return to blow in the future, the forces that drive price trends, greed, fear, euphoria, panic, will return at some point and when they do, trend following trading models will make a great deal of money.