Jul 30 2020 BWB+Fly Aug Trade Update

A nice pop in the p/l given the US is contemplating giving up on those pesky elections. Who needs them 🙂 Delta sitting comfortably at -800 and given the DTE, any moves towards -200 delta and I’ll just start peeling off the trade piece by piece removing risk as I go.

Sep BWBs are currently going for about 95c credit and Oct BWBs are going for about 2.25c. I’ve got loads of flies up in Sep so I can purchase BWBs against those but I didn’t get any in Oct yet so I’d have some exposure to downside if I get some of the Octs on. Not terrible given the deltas I’ve got built up in Sep so I’ll probably put some on today. Usually I like to start with the flies. It’s no different than just entering a rhino/bwb though which loads of people do without the fly hedge/combo.

It’d be a huge milestone to close the Aug at 500k P/L. It’ll call for some real nice champagne. But I won’t fixate on it, I’ll just manage that risk. Huge month so far and I think July is sitting at just over 7% P/L and Aug will likely be similar. Cannot complain and thankful the market keeps on giving.

Had a 30% year last year and I gather I’ll get towards 50-60% this year solely from the opportunities. The last few months, I’ve just been concentrating solely on building that long vol BSH up and trading these Rhino/BWB combos but it rarely takes much more than 30min a day, things are boring when they are producing. Many traders say you’ve made it and are barking up the right tree when you’re trading a system thus eliminating human factors and bias and subsequently the actual act of trading becomes boring. The latter part is true right now, the former isn’t based on a system per say but it will be once this environment ends.

Jul 27, 2020 – August BWB/FLY Trade Update

We ended Friday at a delta of -900 after adjustments and now sit around -1700. That shows you just how quickly negative delta you get with time even just the weekend. The position is hovering around 285k P/L so it’s seen an increase of 35k over the weekend. I’ll have to adjust the upside today and by Thursday this will be done with removals from the structure rather than additions to it. There is 25 days to expiration and I’ll aim to remove risks as we go from here until it’s a benign structure that can be expired.

Jul 24 2020 – The Big ATM trade update

Here’s an update on my big August trade that has about two weeks left in it. It’s starting to actually look like an old school ATM trade given the reduction in VIX and the lack of credits in 30 DTE or earlier trades. From March till June, credits were huge and upside risk NIL. Now as opposed to then, I actually have to use some upside adjustments aggressively.

I started adjusting for upside exposure during this little fall towards 3200. My overall deltas are sitting at -900 and I’ll close out the day at that.

Delta: -939

Theta: 21,956

Vega: -10,567

The position represents 5MM in planned capital and is sitting at 251k profit. I’ll dance this thing into Aug 7/8th and continuously remove risk and adjust. There’s a small chance for an extremely large payoff (the biggest I’ve ever seen) @ 1MM in 1 month. Reminds me of that show 2months 2million. Ridiculous but it is the environment and the opportunities. These types of trades won’t last. For now, I’ll happily let it beef up the account. I’ve got BS protection in case we have some sort of massive gap down.

Here’s the trade looking forward 7 days

Here it is where I expect to close it. It won’t look like this later as I’ll be constantly adjusting back and forth between now and then and the negative deltas will continue to build up as time passes

For a bit there, the VIX hit around 24 and it looked like the ebb and flow trade was about to get a lot harder but today we can now get a Sep BWB for $1.00 credit. So we’re still going for now 🙂 I got some on to offset the Sep position which I started with symmetric flies back at 3260-3270. I’ll be very happy if we can keep getting these conditions for the next 6 months.

In a large fall, and if we approach -400 delta, I’ll start to adjust for the downside and I’ll offset with some way OTM calendars in case of a bounce. I have two trading weeks left for Aug position which will get more and more negative delta and have more and more protection to the downside. If I am forced to adjust for downside next week, it means we went through 3150 area and to offset the nuance of continuously increasing negative deltas, I’ll use some way OTM calendars for upside protection while adjusting for the asymmetric risks on the downside.

I gotta say, I feel kinda lucky that I was also able to start the September position, I wasn’t sure I’d be getting the same opportunities with BWB pricing. Perhaps this continues on for the rest of the year re elections in Nov. Eventually I will move on to a 488 campaign, BSH factory, TAA and ATM at lower PC.

Jul 15 – Update

Given the events of February/March 2020, I had to re-evaluate risk and its presentation in each of the components of my portfolio. Though it was beneficial to add what I consider a god level data point for backtesting purposes, it was not fun to go through. It was the fastest decline and recovery in history. There is no tougher environment to trade through with complex non-directional options strategies. I ended up positive through the event despite the fact that things were broken in the market structure. Things happened that should not have happened. I saw things that I am sure I’ll never see again. This allows me to reconsider risk through what was one of the most market destabilizing events in history. This breaking of various markets and market components has given me a peek into what was naked when the tide left and allowed me to dig deep into my compositions and fine tune with risk management as the main motive. It motivated me to create a systematic approach to my base trades for entries, exits and adjustments. It took 4 months of hard work, but I’ve designed a system that accomplishes all of the risk management goals while maintaining returns that will compound better than before due to the reduced drawdowns. The key to this is maintaining global convexity despite being locally concave in risk profile. This means that risk where it is defined and quantifiable (local risk) while maintaining/financing the ownership of global convex risk on the tails. Short locally and long globally.

The more variant a portfolio is the more it impacts your geometric return. I have an edge, but if I am in extended drawdown, there’s less capital exposed to that edge. The less you draw down the higher your geometric return. It’s the power of compounding and is what Mark Spitznagel calls the volatility tax.  The big losses are all that matters to your rate of compounding. Makes sense right? Manage your risks, maintain an edge and let compounding do its magic.

My primary interest lies in the long volatility tail space and coupling that with localized complex option income production. Globally convex locally concave. The long volatility tail portion of the my portfolio closely corresponds to what Universa, Nasim Taleb and Mark Spitznagel research, it’s a convex payout on extreme market events. When you tie in global convexity (extreme payoffs in extreme events) think of the convex shape (shown below) with local concavity (necessary for regular income production), you end up with the best of both worlds. Absolute protection and income production on the tails (which are rare) coupled with regular income production locally.

The composition of both elements in the options space has benefits that are astounding as it not only gives you capital during turmoil but it protects both a traditional portfolio as well as one composed of options. You prevent event draw downs and have made significant returns that can be actioned at market bottoms. That effect is exceptional. The combination of long vol with a traditional income strategy is what allows for the highest geometric return profiles.

Coupled with the long vol tail hedge, I’ve worked on systematizing the income strategies that are completely mechanical in nature. There is no room for human bias. I worked out a mechanical system that has no decision bias in both the long vol component as well as the income production component.  It prevents the human factors issues that can cause mistakes and under performance. 

We’ve got so many great data sets now, we’ve got the vol events of Aug 2019, the bear shocks of Oct and Dec 2018, the volmageddon of 2018, the time skew issues of Aug 2017, Aug 2015, Jan 2016 and so on. We’ve got a plethora of data. The period from February to June of 2020 used this data to do a deep dive into restructuring the portfolio and analyzing its risk factors. It was long, arduous and sometimes frustrating when you realize that everything has risk and the only true way to eliminate or minimize is by true diversification. 

The lock down forced me to work long hours daily to re-evaluate my systems and to fine tune a new system setup. This was a period of heavy backtesting, reading, daily hour long phone call discussions with a trade buddy, trials, and analytics.  I left no stone unturned even exploring things I would normally say was trade style heresy. The main discovery is the need for systematized approach in all base core strategies. The management is systematically rules based. My entire portfolio will follow this tenant. It’s a minimization of human factors. As Jerry Parker puts it :

“We are not really interested in people who are experts at the french stock market or german bond markets due to technical nature of trading…it does not take a huge monster infrastructure: neither Harvard MBAs nor people from Goldman Sachs…I would hate if it the success of Chesapeake was based on my being some great genius. It’s the system that wins., Fundamental economics are nice but useless in trading. True Fundamentals are always unknown. Our system allows for no intellectual capability.”  Jerry Parker

Related to the above statement, I’ve had a realization to systematically use quantitative analysis and trend indicators to manage trades with respect to risk, entries and exits. QA gives me a way to manage the trade risks systematically while keeping me on the right side of the market trend, it’s what the university endowments use and it’s what Jerry Parker helped systematize in the 80s and 90s. I am using it to err the trades in the direction where the sum of the quantitative analysis points us.  The delta adjustment range is -3 to +3 per unit. If it’s a bearish trend, we’ll keep it in the -3 range and if it’s a bullish trend we’ll keep it in the +3 range. Lastly, it lets us know when to exit trades. If we use Vix/Vix3M ratios, force index, OBV, ATR expansion etc we can avoid every major event in the last 10 years. I have now incorporated mandatory exit signals. If the signals do not show and we have a black swan, that is protected as well because of our long vol component.

It’s important to have a system that removes emotions and biased decisions. It removes human factors and that gives you something that’s concrete and sustainable. Decisions cause fatigue especially when tied to large money. Through the lock down, I tried investigating several things with an open mind, including taking advantage of zero day premium trades (PR hedgies)  and cycle indications trades. This led me to making polarized decisions on an hourly basis. That’s not sustainable, it’ll exhaust and it’ll burn out. It solidified my requirement for a systematic rules based core portfolio. You can adjust/fine tune the rules but you cannot disobey them once they are live.

Trade Update (STT+BSH+Bearish STT)

At the start of today, I was so close to forming the 30 BSH but I just missed my price and the VIX/Skew changed again and those way OTM puts rose in value and now I don’t wanna pay the extra 30c as I am fixed on the previous price because thats just how trading psychology works. Price fixation, it’s a weakness lol. I got some time though. That would have been cool, formed in 10 min market time 🙂

I didn’t trade the futures open and it just went where it went. I was tempted to use a breakout trading plan to further hedge but I just never ended up leaving it and I think I am pretty much as hedged as I can be. Today at market open (while I was flying from Milan to London–>I love internet on planes!) around 2855-2865 I ended up closing some of the ES shorts I had on, I have 7 left of 14. On the run up to 2875, I purchased more Bearish STT and I closed off 20 more STT. This adjustment puts me at exactly 0 delta. My UEL is now like -300k so I def will have to massage this as time goes by slowly converting the bearish STT into an STT. As time goes on, my deltas will get more and more negative as my tent builds up. This will be when I start converting on dips. If I don’t get the fear dips, then I’ll just let time play out and start converting and aim to get as much as I can out of the hodge podge structure.

Here’s my Dec structure (includes original STT and my entire bearish hedge structure)

Dec w/ the bearish STT portfolio adjustments

Here’s my Jan structure after adjustments today

Jan only (this position is down but was hedged by ES shorts not shown

Here’s my combined positions as ONE displays and with it set to Jan expiration line. It’s my loss on the structure but I had 14 or so ES shorts from 2915-2922 area that gained a lot of value and aren’t included in this. As well at the fear bottoms I sold puts in some equities that I follow (GooG) etc that are all up. Also doesn’t include the gains on the BS hedges and the shorts I sold on Friday. I was about +50k, now down -150k but the structure is good and my theta is 14k a day and my vega is -107k so time and vol relief are on my side. Combine this with my BSH positions and it’s pretty safe. I’d love to end September at ~250k (end of Sept risk profile at very end shows 300k). Sounds nuts but that would be pretty much the entire summer profits on a large portfolio. As quickly as I went from -8% to -4% then to +60k on Wednesday is as quick as I went from from +60k to -150k (vega mostly). It’s also how quickly (with reduction in vol or time passes) I will get back to profit..its a game of patience and risk management.

Current as is in ONE
Current – Showing Jan expiration Line
T+35

Here’s the entire structure in 14 days with a small decrease in volatility

I will wait for a spike in vix/fear and replace/roll the 30 STT I closed at a loss in the January expiration. I got the pricing during Friday and it was at about 2.50-2.95 credit and right now it’s at about 2.00 so I’ll put on an order at about 2.40 area. I’d be happy with that given I paid 2-3 dollars less to close off the STT today as opposed to Friday towards close.

My last 2 days of travel are in London and I’ll be heading back to Cayman Aug 29th (I’ll have internet the entire flight, so I’ll be active). Then I just keep massaging this structure as time goes and as we enter Sept. Towards end of Sept, it’d love to be in the 2650 area so that’s a lot more room to manoeuvre.

Current portfolio Risk Graph

This is my current positioning of my entire SPX STT options portfolio sans the BSH of course. This is Dec/Jan mixed together. It’s profitable now since inception and I’ll be working this trade through Sept and closing before my 40th birthday/20th Anniversary trip to Necker (ridiculous I know) but YOLO?

Will be managing it diligently and removing risk and locking in profit. When I get back it’ll just be opportunistic STTs from there on in.

Jun 6 Trade and Travels update

My account is at 24% as of yesterday. A big increase and I removed all of my August trades throughout this week. I have September expiration which I’ll remove next week grossly above profit target but neutralized. October is also just above profit target so I may have to remove that next week as well. Normally, they’d be removed right away but the downside room is incredible and it’s got a profit tent built and my theta ratio to margin is still good. I am going to remove soon but I’ll give it another 7 days. Not much exposure now and locked in loads of profit. I have significant ability to take advantage of more vol if it does happen. Else, things can slow down again like it did in April. Profit comes in bunches during higher vol times. The majority of my potential profit came in the last 4-7 days so I doubt I’ll have the same trajectory through the remainder of this month. I’ll be happy to end around 25-26% for H1 2019. We had some vol but it came out on this gigantic move up from 2725 and that is the majority of my P/L increase. That 25% is on actual capital I have in total in my account. That’s pretty damn good. The thing that I am noticing is that since I put on STTs in every expiration on higher vol days, is that I end up with 4-5 expirations that the older ones act as medium hedges to the newer ones. In all of the vol we’ve had in the last 6 weeks, I’ve just been going up and up and up in P/L. If we had significant moves, they’d be fine because of the BSHs. All in all, I am loving how multiple expiration and maturity of STTs interact with each other.

I’ve been in a whirlwind of traveling since May 29th. I started off in Montreal which got a bit messy. I had some friends visit me and we brought our nanny so for a few nights things got a bit out of control especially given the fact one of our favourite bands was in town 🙂 Suffice to say it was a bit indulgent. A few days after that, I got to play a few poker tournaments there which went well in terms of applying the recent coaching etc but just didn’t have the luck deeper in. Next up is WSOP Millionaire maker tomorrow.

After MTL, I headed to Ottawa to do a whole slew of meetings for my software licensing business. Those ran long but we hashed out our future pathways. It was very productive and everyone got on the same page after hours of board room meetings. I have the best partners you can ask for and given we’ve been in business since 2004, we’ve never in all that time not ended up on the same page after a face to face nor have we ever had emotional disputes. I guess we’re all lucky, as I have heard other companies can have nightmare situations. I am fortunate to have good partners.

I ended up quite tired after the week of partying and heavy meetings. We stayed at this awesome airbnb house on the Gatineau river where I tried to recoup for the next leg.

After Ottawa, we met with a private educator in Toronto to see if we get along. We’re using next year as a year to get our kids top notch and ready for the real world and ready to apply for competitive private schools. They’re currently in Montessori and its just not cutting it. My daughter doesn’t thrive in a Montessori environment. Long story short. Lemons making lemonade, use the year to travel w/ a private educator and use the year as an opportunity. Soon come, the kids will be older and it won’t be possible to travel.

Then my wife and I departed Toronto sans kids while the kids left w/ her sister to Cayman. We upgraded our flights and flew to Denver and spent two days there. Awesome town but def some sketchy areas. We had to call the police because a guy was dying in the middle of the road (this would be the second death we seen on this trip face to face……) Horrible to see. We had some pre-wedding parties to attend and ended up having a pretty good time. We rented a car and drove 5 hours to Moab for a glamping wedding. Was awesome but again my liver is suffering a bit. We ended up sky diving which was the highlight of the trip.

After that we drove to Las Vegas for a night and unfortunately saw ANOTHER dead person on the side of the road….we checked the news after and they’re still investigating it as a potential homicide. Horrible thing to see, still see it in my head. Was very close to where we were (right on side) saw it clear as day. Death is apparently following us….

We spent a night in LV and had an awesome dinner and got an epic suite. It took about 6 hours to get there from Moab. We left at 8 and arrived around 2pm. We were just stopping through on our way to LA for our final leg together (which ends today).

In LA, the first night we went to the Laugh Factory and were so luck to have stumbled upon one of those surprise unlisted guests (George Wallace) who free styled and actually crushed it. Was one of the best experiences I’ve had re comedy. Super lucky. We were right up front too. The following night we decided to go and spend time in the room where comedy goes to die (The Belly Room) and again had an awesome time. We’re staying near Santa Monica Blvd in the gay district and it’s coming up on the 50th anniversary parade so it’s high action. I get loads of compliments while walking with my wife. Love it lol. The wife leaves tomorrow early for Cayman and I stay for 4 days to play a few WSOP events (I’ll drive to Vegas from LA tomorrow). I miss the kids way to much though now as it’s been 7 days so I’ll be looking to book an earlier flight on any bust out. But I’ll be back with the family Jul 1 for the main event.

May 22 (Trade Plan)

Busted the tournament in Day 2 (200th out of 529). Ran into another damn 3 outer that crushed my stack and that was the start of the end. Exiting main hurts bad every time. I had managed to get my stack up 50% for the day. Felt good, near average. I had AQspades SB vs BTN. He raised PF in the BTN, I three bet in the SB and he called mandatory with K7s. the flop had a K on it with two spades. Check/Bet turn is an Ace, he checks I shove..he calls and hits a 7 on the river. If I had won that I’d have been above average and ready to compete for the end. I’m always super emotional after a tournament (When I bust to these ridiculous hands) after having put in hours and hours of concentration. The good side is that my game has never been better, I’ve been playing really well, I have confidence in the game I am playing and I guess eventually it’ll work out. I guess I got two day 2’s out of the trip. I busted the 1k with a BS hand as well as I previously wrote. That was 240 or so out of 1540…..One of these have to damn well connect. It’s never about the money, its all about the competition 🙂

When you’re early in the tournament you’re usually not at risk re your entire stack. It’s the day 2/3 when you need a few 80-90% EV hands to not run bad on you! I get it in with the best of it and just get run out of. I am running bad. I haven’t been able to get it in positive more than 1 time in a row deep in a tournament. Unfortunately, you need 2-3 good hands in a row to chip up and if I don’t get these I can’t win. I mean AA vs AK in 2018 vs Ryan Reiss, I had KQ on KQ8 in the barcelona to exit to 88. Or A8s vs A2o in the Barcelona main only for him to hit the 2. Blah. Any one of those 5-10% go the other way, I’d be deep running.

My trading account is hitting about 19% today which is the only positive thing today 🙂 I removed most of my Aug trades today and have dry powder. I was able to get 60 short puts sold for my factory but I wasn’t able to get on more STTs today which is annoying, well maybe not, there’s 10 min left in the day, maybe my orders will fill.

Off to Ottawa tomorrow for a comedian show and some meetings. Then I am making my way to Toronto and over to Moab for a wedding. The next tournaments will be Vegas WSOP. Let’s see how those go.

May 21 2019 (STT+BSH Trade Plan)

I just hit 18.5% for the year which puts me right on target for my expectations. I am hoping to hit 20% for H1 2019 (roughly 3.4% a month). I can compound monthly (and will) and after 3 years (36 months of compounding @ 3.5%) which should double money every 21 months..and 7x every 5 years 🙂 Let’s see how it goes with diligence and trade plan following. So far so good. Within the next 7 days I’ll close off Aug and probably Sep and I may start removing Oct as I’ve already got some good profit in there. Then I’ll just wait for another vol event and rinse repeat.

I am in MTL right now for a few tournaments, I got 240/1535 on the first one which was a speedy tournament with very quick blind levels. Busted TT vs AJ right relatively close to the bubble. I didn’t cash but was damn close. By far the best I’ve ever played, it’s not even close it’s a different level then even the last round of play and all due to the coaching arrangement I have setup w/ Ryan Laplante and CLC coaching. I’ve learned a ton and confidence is through the roof. Getting next level in the game and ready to get cracking and finally get a final table within the next year or two. If I can get some good runs near the end of a tournament that would set me up. I got deep yet again here (240 out of 1535!) but just had a cold few hours and the blinds were way to quick. The main event is 3x less speed and the WSOP events are like 10x slower. So I should have some good opportunities with the WSOP main events, MTL main and marathons.

May 14 (Update 2) – STT, Long term base portfolio and travel plans

Yesterday at about 2803 I was able to sell puts for my factory and in one single day I am now able to form a BSH for profit (free + some). I got 30 units (90 short puts) on within 8 hours. Epic.

I also started the equities portion of my long term portfolio as my base (I did a combo from allocate smartly that has a historical of 10.4% annual with a max draw down of about 6.1%). Good base portfolio. Today I got the treasuries/bonds portion on 🙂 good timing. I will now let that run itself without messing about. I had it on at 2940 area but didn’t like the timing re the heavy portion in SPY so I closed it at the highs 2949 and now just re-opened. It was more like a mulligan, my plan isn’t to mess about with it and I won’t from here on in.

YTD is now 15% (3.35% a month) and that’s on actual total equity. Nice!

I am going away for my next portion of the summer/spring vacations. I’ll be starting in Montreal for the party millions event and I’ll make my way to Ottawa to meet with my programmers in development office and then take in the Iliza show (for my wife). After that it’s on to Toronto to check out the start of my new house build there and then make my way to Moab for a glamping style wedding and after that…. Vegas for the WSOP!

In preparation, I’ve closed off most of my older STTs, cleaned up the account and prepped ONE. I have on some Aug, Sep and Oct with margin available for another 100 or so units if we get another vol spike/decline. The Aug is acting as a hedge to Sep and Oct but also has the most theta of all three months. October is now profitable (+11k) as predicted it would be by end of week.