Path to Profitability (part 2)

Discussion in 'Professional Trading' started by garachen, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. garachen


    About a year ago I posted some guidance about how I found a trading style and invited people to try it and let me know the results.

    To recap: I trade exclusively futures, have minimal use for charts or signals and do reasonably well. About 50% of my trading is automated HFT, the other 50% is manual.

    Since this year has not been a great trading environment for most and HFT profits have declined significantly, I've had a few people ask how this effects me so I've decided to post an update.

    Over the last year, the advent of Sandy Bridge, improved network cards and the proliferation of radio towers the landscape of HFT continues to evolve at a rapid pace. Many places have not been able to keep up and I know of 3 reasonably sized shops that closed their doors just in the last few weeks. It feels that what is left of HFT profits are being consolidated among fewer firms.

    Contributing to this trend is that with volumes across most exchanges continuing to decrease the exchanges are finding more creative ways to make money. Their favorite is to increase (dramatically) charges for market data, co-location and connectivity. Data feeds that used to cost 3-4K/month are now suddenly 20K/month. Multiply this by many exchanges it becomes harder for small HFT firms to stay in business. And the more firms that go under the tighter the risk controls get from clearing companies to accept new clients. It's a domino effect that substantially raises the barrier to entry (even for non-HFT firms) on all fronts.

    Against this background this has still been a pretty good year. The first few months were quite good and then things dried up a bit over the summer.

    I think there's still lots of opportunity manually trading some of the more esoteric futures contracts. I think a good idea for this next year would be to continue to hire more traders and keep infrastructure costs under control. That way if volatility does happen to return to some of these products hopefully we will be well positioned to scale up quickly.

    Anyway, that's my update. Mostly meant to answer some questions that have come to me without having to PM a bunch of people.

    Hope everyone is doing well.
  2. Welcome back and thanks for the info!