Saturday, September 24, 2016

How to Find Your Trading Biases

One of the exercises I've found most helpful for traders and portfolio managers is a thorough review of trading performance.  Many times, the ups and downs of profit/loss reveal biases and patterns in our trading.  Some of the patterns worth looking for include:

*  How you trade after you've made money versus after you've lost money:  Do you trade more?  Larger?  Do you trade differently based on recent P/L?  Do you become risk averse after recent losses?  Does that affect your future P/L?

*  How do you trade when you're taking more risk versus less risk?  Does different size/risk exposure cause you to trade differently?  Are you actually making more money when you're taking more risk? 

*  What kinds of markets and market patterns provide you with your greatest profits?  Losses?  Do you trade selectively to maximize your best opportunities?  Do you overtrade markets that are not ones providing you with opportunities?

*  What is your ratio of winning to losing trades?  What is the ratio of the size of average winners to the size of average losers?  How successful have you been in finding large winners?  In preventing large losers?

Many times, our greatest biases and psychological mistakes come through when we thoroughly review performance.  The decision to not review performance is perhaps traders' greatest bias blind spot.

Further Reading:  Training Yourself in Pattern Recognition