COMMENT: Dear Mr. Armstrong,
Really glad that you again warn us of impending famine moving into 2020 – 2030 and give us ample time to prepare though many still do not believe in your forecast. Your blog have done a great service to humankind.
Also pertaining to your recent article pertaining to skills needed to be a successful traders or fund managers. I tend to agree that going against majority view at important turning points require nerve of steel to pull the trigger. Not many can do it as emotions can overwhelm our decisions. Being a fund manager myself, I find that how we perform and react during bear markets, crisis and panic moments will distinguish me from others (my peers). During rising tide, our performance mask our real ability to handle crisis.
As you say, life is a journey of learning. Socrates provides a valuable tool for my investing journey while your blog helps in allowing me to view the world in different dimensions. I do make mistakes along the way but thank God I become a better investor as day goes by.
REPLY: Yes. Funds that are just a buy and hold are not traders. The regulation also creates much of the problem. Because we have the CFTC and the SEC, these two agencies do FAR MORE HARM than good. They each have their own lobbyists to retain and expand their power. I was once offered a fund to manage in the USA with $50 billion+.
The problem that confronted me was the blunt fact it was a buy and hold affair. Because it was equity, it would come under the SEC. I would not be allowed to hedge using futures greater than 15% at the time or else I would then violate the CFTC rules and cross into a futures fund. This was all because of a turf war between the two agencies. In other words, if I saw an imminent crash, I could not protect my clients by hedging more than 15%. You had to sell outright everything, which would then also raise red flags.
I turned down the offer for I felt my reputation would be destroyed because I would have to suffer a serious loss and could not prevent it. That was why hedge funds were created offshore because you could not trade everything due to regulation to create government jobs rather than provide the best management service for investors.
Because of the regulation, the field is dominated by buy-and-hold managers who have no real trading skill because they were never allowed to trade. Then you have exchanges closing the floor trading (pits) and going all electronic. It was the floor trading that forged the souls of traders. You could smell the blood from the screams on the floor. Today, that is reduced to just flashes of light. Actually trading with other people is how you learned to trade. Dealing Rooms were set up with everybody on one floor – not in cubicles. You heard the phones ringing on every desk when the markets were hot. It was that interaction that made great traders. Eliminating that human interaction makes me wonder if we are not losing the core of understanding markets.