Ep. 439: Cole Wilcox Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Cole Wilcox

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Michael Covel interviews Cole Wilcox. Cole is the CEO of Longboard Asset Management. Cole and his business partner Eric Crittenden are featured in Michael’s book, “The Little Book of Trading.” Eric and Cole started their firm from the ground up. They pushed hard and now have hundreds of millions of dollars AUM.

Michael and Cole start off talking about the recent volatility in the markets; crude oil in particular. Cole is a trend follower through and through. He says that there will always be fluctuations in the markets, but with the right tools and rules, you can ride those waves out successfully. He stresses that diversification is the only “free lunch” that exists. His firm focuses on building multi asset portfolios that provide diversification. “When you are in 130 markets around the world, you can’t know all the fundamentals about those markets, the only thing you have to guide you is the price,” says Cole. Focus on what those price trends are doing, positive or negative.

Michael moves on to ask, “Do you think of you and your firm as more offensive minded or defensive minded?” Cole says they are definitely more defensive minded. Any successful trader or sports coach knows that you will ultimately get ahead and compound your success by making sure you cover you bases on the defensive. Having an unemotional approach to the markets is key. Cole then shows a unique differentiation between trend following managers in regards to their amount of AUM. The way a trend following firm trades it’s money can vary greatly depending on how much AUM they have. The larger firms aren’t able to move into some of the smaller markets where big money can be made.

Cole speaks to the business thought process Longboard is built on, particularly what made him want to start his firm. He says there are three core components: Having a dream or vision about what you are doing, the people you surround yourself with to execute that dream, and the principles/operating rules of the game. When you get those three things to line up inside an organization you can create something magical. Michael asks how he has won people over and gotten them away from the “buy and hold” mentality. Cole says the trend of alternative investments is starting to grow rapidly. His firm takes a different approach in how they interact with clients. They focus highly on their communication process and willingness to be open.

NOTE: On this episode Cole recommends favorite business books. Here is the list.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Defensive trading vs. Offensive trading
  • Risk management
  • How to help people understand trend following
  • Diversification is the only free lunch
  • Price trends

“Markets are a more powerful, unknown force than our own interpretation of them and whatever our predictions of the future may have. We have opinions but ultimately we have learned along the way that following the markets and letting the markets guide how you should position yourself is why we call our firm Longboard. There is that surfing analogy that exists in there. We don’t control the ocean, a surfer doesn’t control the ocean… but what they can do is design a tool for participating in those powerful waves.” – Cole Wilcox

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