Yesterday during that little fall to 2869 and the subsequent small vix spike of about 4%, I got on some upside adjustments (bullish BWBs) to get my negative deltas down. I should be good for another 2-3 weeks re adjustments for the upside 🙂 Everything is pretty much balanced and neutral. I have good modeled theta for the month. 30 days should result in a 5-6% increase in profit. I am pretty much fully capitalized with my PC matching my balance. Good timing for the upcoming trip. As time goes further, I’ll look to harvest and I’ll also add 10-20% more STTs if we get a big spike in VIX. Else, it’s just collecting theta time.
Been a while,
Figured I’d post an update on my results from the last year based on my total account value, so actual returns as well as what I expect going forward. My account has gotten larger and thus the complexity of what I do and how it’s managed has gotten more difficult in regards to flexibility of strategies etc. All I do now is manage portfolio sized STTBWB+BSH and BSH factory. This is probably all I’ll do in complex options for the foreseeable future.
My YTD is 11.96% or more specifically Q1 (Jan 1 to Mar 29)
My 9 month return is 29.27%
My 6 month result is 17.5% (this includes a mess of things that didn’t do so well in Oct/Nov/Dec and are resultant from trades I no longer trade–>HS3, Rhino etc). If you remove these, it’s much closer to 25%-27% for the base portfolio trade mentioned above. IE right on target.
My 1-year is 40.96% Mar 31-Mar 31 which does include a portion of amped up Feb 2018 recovery.
My expectations going forward are a yearly CAGR of about 40% for the main portfolio trade combined with some base trade returns of about 10% giving a total expected of 50% return on total capital. My actual for YTD extrapolated is suggesting 48% which fits right in line. I have no more catastrophic risk in Black swans and events. Everything is boring, simple in its management and I guess that’s the way it should be.
I’ll be looking for higher vol days for more entries and removing risk by harvesting but other than that. Easy days.
Haven’t posted for a while mostly because I find it hard to post things that are intellectual property sensitive and now its even harder since I’ve gone back completely to the original course trades with slight tweaks. A 360 with nuance. How do I present interesting things when I can’t post the trade 🙂 But I am going to keep trying and hopefully try to post every few days…maybe more on my mindset, thoughts, challenges of managing larger account sizes etc. Whatever comes to my mind.
So first and fore most, My last post from like late Nov was emotive and when I just re-read it I realized just how confusing and unrepresentative it was of almost everything. Horrible. I wrote it and then kinda forgot about it and obviously didn’t proof-read it. So I finally edited it. I’ll explain more and why I did so below. I’ll start with the market and get into the events and where I am now:
We’ve just gone through a 20.5% fall in the SPX and it started in late September and was a culmination of two specific time periods (October and December). Both periods fell quite hard often following square sine wave type patterns (short abrupt moves down) then a pause and then a small bounce and more short abrupt down moves. And what was very unusual about it was that it didn’t have the same volatility spike you’d normally see. Nor did the actual volatility get reflected in the vol index or options pricing. The volatility in the market was not being priced according to actual volatility. Perhaps it was the complete annihilation of specific vol products in Feb that helped create this old relationship for the last 4-5 years (and subsequently all of our backtesting data) or perhaps its a new market pressure present. Who knows. The point is, we had a big big down move in 3 months and we didn’t have a vol spike that some rely on in specific vol type hedging. This created problems for people that created vol hedges based on data that we’ve only had really (intra-day) since 2011. Some created a ratio type hedge we called a KPBR. In backtesting, the thing pretty much was free. Paying for itself. No drag on income trades. Sounded good. But a few of us pointed out that the sea of death can be a big problem in specific market environments. I was initially excited but when I tested it, thought about and realized what could potentially happen, I insta-closed out the units I had on and fully relied on traditional BSH types.
Here’s what I said in the group as a polarized and probably rude comment re the KPBR
“I don’t want to be sitting up one night during the 4th day of a big down move/event and wondering if the market crashes tomorrow will the KPBR trigger or will it draw down further and I doubt I’d be thinking “Hey, my account is down 30% but at least my hedge was free” :)”
The thing with that hedge and even with the HS3, is that a slow large grind down will result in a very large draw down in the trade itself. These trades are just too exotic for me. So I am back to the basics (original PMTT BSH and BSH factories etc) I get that over time you probably will have the same cost (like over 5 years the KPBR may actually break even) but that doesn’t matter and here’s why: We are humans we have to cater to our human factors, our psychology if you will. How each trade and the management of our portfolio will feel and how it will affect everything from our ambition, motivation, sleep and our responses to trading our plan etc. If we are utilizing such a structure like the KPBR as a hedge to our OTM trades and we have an environment that temporarily draws down our STT by say a super standard 600-700 a unit (totally can happen in a heavy skew change due to a larger down move where way otm doesn’t quite spike) and our KPBR also draws down 600-700+ (I actually saw it go double that!) then you’re sitting at a draw down that could affect your trading mentality. You’re now sitting there at night, wondering if there is another big down move in the AM, will your KPBR trigger to provide some protection? what if it doesn’t? what if it draws down even further and more vix hurts my STT? All those doubts will cause you to probably make mistakes, burn out, lose sleep, or lose some humanity itself. I don’t want to be sitting up at night wondering if in the morning if my account will be down 30% but hey I got those KPBRs for free!
Most of you reading the blog know the STT inside and out, we know how much it’ll draw down in vol events, we know how to adjust it, we know it’s really docile and works well as a trade. Especially opportunistically. Having a 600-700 vol draw down won’t even make my heart rate increase 1 beat nor would I lose an ounce of sleep. Because I know it and I know how it will progress forward. The problem with the STT is a black swan, you need protection. That’s it really, just a black swan. Hence, why we need black swan protection. An STT alone w/out BSH protection can handle the 20% decline we saw in Oct-Dec because it wasn’t a shock event/swan. But imagine that you have the STT on and you have that 600-700 drawdown that you usually are not concerned with but you also have this 1k draw down in your hedge. Then things get really funky upstairs (in your mind). It starts to affect you in a variety of ways. Hence the need for protection that you understand.
So yeah, here we are now, Jan 29th, the market has fallen 20%+ and rebounded about 13% in a super V recovery. I’ve moved to trading a BSH factory (two versions: Income and hedge/lotto), an OTM Jeep type trade using the STT engine as per the course (not an ATM jeep ala the weirdor!), some rhinos and a base of standard equity type stuff (logical-invest), some earnings plays and that’s about it. Nice and simple.
I concluded that I will heavy trade STT opportunistically by itself (no BSH) when VIX is above 22 and especially if we have an MDD type day but I won’t trade them much in very low vix environments and instead I’ll do a version of the course JEEP trade probably with some directional bias (signals).
I was profitable through the Oct/Dec events and the STT put on in Oct event was insanely easy to manage through Dec. I loved that.
I am now back at my desk after an eventful 13 days in Montreal. The trip did not work out as planned. Ash and our toddler got super sick and I had to deal with the market for the first 4 business days of the trip. EDF was on me like white on rice and forced me to capitulate a large portion of my account at a pretty crappy time. I went from 290 or so units to 77 units and from the 77 I had to get down to 40. So almost a 85% reduction in risk. Insane. That cost profit and added a very unneeded layer of stress. EDF is a small portion of my overall account which is good. My main IB account is actually profitable through the event as of today but it did have some draw down during some of those crazy days. Wildly, I have the most theta combined that I’ve ever had. If we end up anywhere in the 2550-2850 range within 30 days I gain something like 400k which would end the year reasonably especially after EDF and the Feb event. Overall, I’m like break-even from Oct 3 onwards because of the EDF issues but have loads of premium. Just have to get through these mid-terms unscathed.
Rhino pricing has been insanely good around $1 to $1.30 area (means very low upside risks and much easier to manage). So I’ve been putting those on quite a bit. I also formed a few BSh factories today as pricing on the longs finally fell enough. I’ll probably be doing a lot of BSH factory (two versions) and Rhino type trades while the pricing is good.
I busted my last tournament in a gross way which almost had me want to retire. I had 66 on 6T2 flop. Got a guy with Aces all in. Ace hit on the river.. (2 outs) and I busted…horrific. Getting sick of these 5%’ers hitting on me when it counts.
There’s another really nice tournament in my backyard (Bahamas) Party Poker Millions Caribbean. It’s only a 1 hour flight and I get free biz class upgrades, so I can fly in style. I was kinda considering hopping over on Friday night until Monday but I dunno if I will. Disillusioned a bit 🙂
Nice pop there. Pretty much bringing account back to normal now. Through the event I did have some vol related draw downs, nothing that stressed me out or anything but I didn’t love how I entered the event re trades/hedges and sizing which is prompting me to create a much more concise trading plan which I am really excited about. I feel really good about how things went and where they will go from here. I am basically shaking off some pests and revising some of the plan to be even more robust. Right now, I am developing a concise and mandatory trade plan that’ll be printed and bound and at my desk. As I mentioned before, I am taking my optimistic honey badger mentality and focusing it on entirely on risk management instead of out-sized returns and I am super relieved and kinda super excited about it. I am going at it hard. It’ll be epic to create any sort of trade plan that can handle large money that does 30-40% returns but doesn’t flinch in events. Ideally, it’s going to be a lotto as well. That’s an amazing feat. Thanks to the PMTT Group. Once developed, I’ll probably be looking forward to the next crash event 🙂
This plan, it’ll have all sorts of idiosyncratic rules and requirements that I am going to force myself to follow. It’ll also contain journals of my thoughts related to how I felt during crashes, what I did, tools etc. I’m accepting the returns that I calculated (more modest) and I am putting risk at the first priority. Take care of risk and the returns will come (compounded or otherwise). That’s the key I think.
Update on account and management:
By EOD, I have removed most of my PCS that I had on for the HS3s and am sitting at about even on an account level for the EDF/ES account from start of crash till now, all said. Not bad. I closed off all the Dec including the ATM PCS today (maybe a bit premature as I closed them around 2795 rather than the 2815 its trading at now).
Jan HS3s are locked and loaded in a really nice zone for quick profits in the next 14 days. Could add 40k in profit by end of Oct.
The Mar HS3 is down about 59k while the hedge is locked in at 30k profit so the combo is still down 29k total. Could recover quickly but EDf did force me to liquidate and lock in some loses last week. Not bad still. I also had initiated a 100 wide PDS at 2775 last week which hurts the UEL (upper expiration line) a bit.
The BSh factory is now profitable. I will use the next few days to start forming the BSHs and should be ready to rock soon as a hedge.
March CC campaign is at even now (wow!) and I have some bearish STT covering it which are down about 6k. So all in all about -6k to 10k on the whole thing.
Jan CC campaign is doing fantastic. It’s got so much theta that it could swiftly make a lot of cash in the next 14 days
Dec CC campaign. About even now (from pre-crash—but was at target anyways before) but has no real juice or risk. Will slowly turn into a hedge.
BSH Factory. Is profitable now. I was a bit too aggro on the short puts so I might use the opportunity to start forming on any signs of a down turn. Not really worried as it’s december shorts and they are deteriorating quickly.
X4: Removed for loss of 15k
Rhino: About even.
KH recovering some of the draw down.
All in all, I am about about 1.5-2% on the account and a week sets that even in theta and a month should be aces in profit.
If I get a few weeks to a month to rejig my plans, form factories and work on sizing then any further vol should be easily deflected if not profitable from here on in.
Yesterday, I put on about 37 Bearish STTs to hedge off the 282 March STTs. The goal is to roll up the debit spreads to eventually convert into a regular STT when my market bias supports it. I removed 7 ES hedges at 2669 (this AM) after spending about 2 hours reviewing technical sources last night. Confident that we’re locally bottomed and that we’ll bounce. I’ll continue to review technicals and market commentary but I don’t have all that much risk on, especially as time goes by.
What I am most upset about is that I didn’t have dry powder to enter during the mini-crash. Ah well. Next time.
My BSH factory is approaching even today after the bounce. The shorts I sold were in Dec so they’re getting pulled right down.
My Mar STT CC campaign is down about 22-25k or so on 282 butterflies (71 units). Loads of theta. Healthy and hedged by a bearish STT
My Jan STT cc campaign made about 10k through the mini correction and has loads of theta (it’s in the most perfect position imaginable for the next two weeks)
My Dec STT cc campaign is break even through the mini correction
My KH hedges are all down now (~20k or so) but are mostly Dec PCS that are just ab it compromised. They will quickly deteriorate into a slightly below break-even result if things don’t crash. They did their job with margin control and slight hedges.
My X4 is down about 18k (I am waiting for a 2800/2810 to take it off)
My Rhino is break even (it went through a 15% crash, well handled)
My ES HS3 (Mar) is down about 80k but the hedges I had on are +32k so net down about 48k. Will come back quickly
My ES HS3 (Jan) is really flying and should make up for the Mar within 14 days (Perfect positioning)
I removed all my Dec HS3
My ES BSh factory is break even
I have to up my study game as the last week had my focuses elsewhere. New course came out that I am interested to audit (Nick Petrangelo). This week I’ll catch up. The tournaments start next week and I am off to MTL on the 21st. Should be fun!
All in all, this was a perfect little mini-crash tester for my systems and risk parameters. My systems and parameters (trade plan) were drastically revised after the Feb event (which was an absolute earthquake shake up in how I handle risk). That event let me see how everything reacts both re BS protection and how the system reacts to the portfolio of trades. The really important part is the nuance of removing trades while staying within margin parameters. The hedges have to get taken off quickly but that means you have to take off some income trades. These income trades are sometimes riddled with so much juice that it is hard psychologically to remove them. The thing is, you’re now closer to your tent, any stabilization and you could be at 2-3x your profit target in the first place. So re human factors, what do you do if your hedge didn’t fully protect your income (under sized or it just didn’t trigger, or you waited too long to remove) and you’re down 5-10%. Do you just take the loss and close the hedge and income trade with no hope of getting back? Do you close it all down and open new ones? All these things have to be part of a trading plan. Accounting for how to deal with yourself and your portfolio during an event is crucial.
I am convinced the experience I gained having traded through the markets of Sep/Oct 2014, Aug 2015, Jan 2016, Feb 2018 and now Oct 2018, gave me an incredible wealth of insight into how to manage events and event risk. I feel that I am reaching a stage of trading where my focus is solely on risk management much before maximizing returns. That’s a big big step for me, I am naturally a risk taker, and I go big. To be so focused on the opposite part and it now being natural is a massive step for me. It’s served me very well in life re taking risks and making them work but with the nuance that I usually have 3 back ups and really understand the risks/odds I don’t sleep until I make sure it works! In trading, I found that I sometimes didn’t initially understand fully the risks and I couldn’t just make it work. So this slaps you in the face and requires you learn to be pro-active in risk management. And here we are. This was and is the hardest thing I’ve done in life. I think that road (the learning of how to manage risk) is now coming to an end, I think I’m arriving to the point where I should be re trading. Risk in trading is not easy especially if you’re doing amounts that make a difference to your life. Taking large losses during an event and/or waiting for the vol to come out can take months and these months can affect your life if you’re trading large. I can tell you that it sucks waking up at 3am to check futures. It’s just not worth it. Pre-plan and take care of your risks. As I said, I am a risk taker, always have been and I’ve done it successfully in all areas of my life. I mean I was a professional gambler at the start (7 years!), made tons, parlayed that into a business (all of my cash..which is absolutely insane if you think about it) I could have retired off what I made but instead, I bet it all on a business. Took that risk. But. When I choose to take a big risk, I do everything I possibly can to make it succeed. That’s the key (but it doesn’t work with trading unless you’re thinking long term development as a trader). What I mean, is if you have an event, and you’ve taken loss, you just can’t do anything there can you? But you can do all you can to work on your trading plan and yourself to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I don’t sleep at night if it requires attention. You just make it work. I’ve seen so many people start businesses, then just fuck off and give up on it. It’s like they end up with a resentment to it, a resentment to their failed expectations. That resentment seems to push them away from success and allows them to accept the failure. They’ve tricked themselves into hating their business or whatever it is which allows them to just close it up.
This Feb event gave the tools and foresight to strengthen my trade plan in this search for what I hope ends up being an almost riskless very conservative way to obtain 30-40% returns per year. The Oct mini-event, allowed a partial test of the new systems and allowed me to refine a few things. The goal used to be to trade very intricate complex structures and trade it full time and aim for 75-100% returns on capital but as my size grows and as my risk appetite lessons, and as my focus to risk management changes, I’ve realized that I probably will max out in the 30-40% range for OTM structures. I do believe the best ATM traders (John Locke, Kevin Lee) can do the 70-100% returns but it all depends on what capital they’re using. If you’re allocating 100k out of 2MM to a trade, then sure, you can probably accept specific risk parameters that allow you to obtain those out-sized returns, but if you’re allocating the entire 2MM then you have to dial it down.
What’s changed this time around?
1. I am going to allocate 50% of what I normally allocate re trading capital. I am so PISSED that I didn’t have more dry powder on Thursday. The shit is like 4x more juicy to enter. I am convinced if you waited for a 90% MDD day to enter these types of trades, you’d make the same amount as if you entered every month. These 90% MDD days happen 3.5x a year on average for the last 50 years.
2. I am going to have a trifecta of hedges (that’s right, 3). I will use an LP campaign, a Hedge BSH, an income BSH and KH for margin control.
3. I will be utilizing some bearish ATM structures as a partial hedge and separate income trade that covers that first 5%-7% down move in the markets.
4. I will utilize bearish STT during bounces after a crash event as well as index dynamic hedging.
5. Maybe stay away from futures and futures brokers 🙂
6. I don’t think I’ll trade HS3 unless its opportunistic and on large MDD type days. I don’t love its unpredictable complexity. I feel an STT so intimately.
Huh, what a day.
Maybe we’ll now have 3 sets of backtesting dates we can use for correction analyzing lol 🙂 Spicy 3.5% down on the market day while Futures are sitting at 2778 (nearly 4% down) post market day.
The day started off well. I was able to close a load of HS3 out for close to profit target (I removed around 150 SPX equivalent units throughout the day). That was nice. Rare that on days like these I hit target..nice for a change. That was for December HS3 though. Nice and matured and liked the down move. However, I did end up at 2810 with too many previous ATM PCS adjustments relative to the size of what I had left of HS3 original structures and the market puked so quick I didn’t get them off. A bit annoying because it drew down a bit at end of day.
However, not all that rosey, the VIX spike to 23 and the skew changes have hurt my newest existing CC and HS3 trades as well as the start of my BSH factory. Not insane down but a bit spicy. As well, I wasn’t able to get all my Dec HS3 trades off and I have some with too many ATM PCS that I didn’t close. Probably 5-10 units left here but positive delta exposure (though limited because the ATM PCS are only 25 wide and are already half the value). No matter how you slice it we sell Vol and when we have a move like this (they say its top 3 point move in history) we’ll feel some pain in the volatility increase.
My current main exposure is this:
67 Jan HS3 (+30k)
75 Mar HS3 (-65k)
65 Mar CC (-52k)
Oct HS3 Hedge (+30k) (converted today early on)
BSH factory start (-35k to -40k or so) (this is probably temporary..the puts are around 2050 and 1975 so I am not overly worried, it’ll just take time). I nearly took them off when the force index hit 15 but it wasn’t really part of my plan so I didn’t. I obviously wish I did.
I kinda expect the market to slow down here and bounce, it’s hitting the trend line from the Feb lows and the RSI is very oversold. Probably a bit more pain (capitulation) as we visit and test the 200 SMA in the AM which sits at 2769 area (approaching now in afterhours) and a bounce/relief. That said, the RUT broke its 200 day today quite a bit…maybe SPX follows. I’d say that a bounce is better odds than another 90% MDD day but who knows. My gut wasn’t too worried @ 2pm today but this after hours action is kinda worrisome. Should be an interesting few days.
I am not overly exposed and the pain is relatively small. The HS3 March could experience a vomma surge to help its profit if we crash more but likely it’ll be drawn down until we have vol relief. It’s generally BSH protected but none of that activates unless its really swift and large in magnitude.. Yesterday it was about break-even and today its down 65k on a 110 point move. The CC’s were down about 30k yesterday (all expected) and today was hovering around 50k and with this afterhours movement I bet it is touching 60k. Anymore and I’ll have to do something.
I turned my Dec/Jan CC’s more neutral well before this move and they’re all relatively ok. Barely flinched from yesterday, though drawn down from the start of 8 days ago due to vega over the past week.
I rolled my rhino yesterday which was great. It’s just drawn down a bit but positioned well.
I have KH on that are now up a bit today…not quite activated yet.
Finally settling down and getting back to normal work lifestyle rather than scurried catch-up.
Just finished a 24 day cruise, then traveled to Arona, Italy for some R&R with family friends then onwards to meet my biggest client (a well known Ferrari racer/entrepreneur socialite type guy who’s got the fastest lifestyle I’ve ever seen) in Budapest which consisted of me trying to balance 2 kids, a baby, an “at the end of her rope” wife while staying out to 3:30am for business (and some pleasure). I barely could keep up with anything. After that I made my way by rental van to Zadar, Croatia where I caught up. We just left and made it to Istria, Croatia and now I am in a villa in the countryside relaxing and catching up on everything.
During these little whirlwind periods, I have to balance everything which can be difficult but I think I have it down to a science. My communication usually suffers, emails that aren’t super important sometimes get forgotten but everything else is generally aces. One of the reasons I travel to Europe during the summer instead of elsewhere is because of the timezone, i.e. the market opens at 330pm here so I get the evenings to attend to trading.
My mind is always focused on the trades during every single day regardless of where I am, or what tours I might be on or if we’re on the road. I generally don’t miss a beat on the management of these trades and finding opportunities for entry and adjustment.
I usually wake up every day, model my trades, look at the market technicals, figure out what I need to do later, enter trades in IB/EDF and pause them for market open. I then get out for the day with the family and do whatever we may have planned. We have a small baby now so we have to usually be back for 12-1pm for nap time. I use that to further catch up and usually do some backtesting or whatever else I have to do for market open. Then at about 2:30-3pm my wife and I will typically head out for some alone time for about 3 hrs, usually touring cities and getting dinner and a drink. During this time, I got everything on my phone and sometimes I may have to interrupt the conversation to get things on but its never a prob. We are usually back by 7pm where I finish out the rest of the market hours and I’m done by 9:30pm to finish the night. Through all that, I am usually tapped out and non important things get left to the way side until I get to an area where I can relax more and catch-up. So yah, If I am out, and I usually am, I’ll be looking at phone and entering those BWBs (for new trades), PCS (for raising UELs in HS3s etc), and entering them in-between talking to my kids at dinner or wherever else I am. I am using downtime during the day (naps or AM) to model and get a plan in place.
The HS3 futures in EDF are crushing right now, I started them I think in May and it’s up almost 35% or so. I reached profit target on 111 units in Oct 31 expiration and 20 units in Sep expiration. I have another 83 (SPX equiv) units on in Dec monthly which are more than half way to target and 61 (SPX equiv) in Dec 31 expiration that I just started on those two down days we had last 8 days or so 🙂
My HS3s in SPX/IB are also near profit target. Wonderful. I think I have on about 100 units there. Solid gains. My CC campaign is also doing great.
I added in some Rhino and X14V14s in for ATM trades. I changed how I manage upside in the Rhino but the main reason I added is I call it a middler which loves moderate down moves and helps hedge that little area where the market falls 2-5% and affects (short term) the HS3s and CC trades negatively re vol and skew effects. I love how it reacts together. I really liked the rhino in the old days as I remember being super upset about making 20% when the market moved up 50% over 2016 🙂 I will use it small as a booster and middler 😉
I am not sure where we will go next (we’re here in Croatia until the 11th but for sure I will be in Barcelona for the Pokerstars tournament on the 22nd where hopefully I can have some decent luck..
More to come as I have lots of time…
Today was a typical bounce day and I used the opportunity to get in some bearish STT and PDS hedges.
I’d like to backtest the krishnan hedge as a vol spike hedge and probably will do so on the cruise during the vast amounts of free time I’ll have 🙂 Generally, I get a lot of sitting around time and I’ll typically choose something to research or test.
I’ve got on a slew of protected STT, HS3 and X4V14 trades (ATM BWBs). All reacted fine during the little fall and all are pretty well hedged. Not a whole lot to report really. I added some delta and vega hedges on the bounce just to balance out everything.
This trade war rhetoric should keep skews pretty disadvantageous to already on trades. Reasonable to put on new trades etc.