David, before you started your firm and your CTA you worked on Wall Street for a number of years. Can you give me a history of your experience and explain how that helped guide you and shaped how you trade today?
Danny, in total I have worked 38 years in the business.
First, my trading career began in 1984, just at the start of the Great Bull Market as an order-entry clerk (upstairs) sending commodity trades to the various Chicago Exchanges, but quickly shifted gears to NASDAQ Market-Making at Troster Singer/Spear-Leeds-Kellogg (SLK), then to Shearson Lehman Hutton, then Cowen & Co. as Bio-Tech Market-Maker; finally UBS Securities as Head Trader Healthcare/BioTech which ended in 2004.
Following a short hiatus, I began trading Futures (ES, NQ) for private High–Frequency Hedge Fund through the Financial Crisis. Since then, I have formed an Educational Trading Business (Polaris Trading Group) for Retail Traders, as well as a Commodity Trading Advisory (CTA) for high-net worth individuals.
Second, I am fortunate to have had some fantastic mentors along my career path that guided me and shaped how I trade today, always stressing proper position-sizing and risk management. Those two primary ingredients have allowed me to survive and thrive throughout the various market cycles.
Today, I try to pass along my knowledge to those seeking trading guidance to help navigate today’s market volatility. I strongly believe everyone should have a mentor or a community such as PTG, MTS (or otherwise) with traders helping traders. No one should trade these markets in isolation.
One of the things I have admired about you is your discipline. You show up every day and put effort into your own trading right along with your subscribers. Where does that discipline come from?
I learned early on that to have any chance of success trading, you MUST put in the time and effort, gaining knowledge and experience. Simply put, there are no “short-cuts.” Make no mistake, there have been multiple times over my career that I considered “packing it in,” but I worked through the hard-times. To quote the Navy Seals: “The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday!” I get a lot of my inspiration from the hard work and dedication from the Seal’s ethic.
Discipline trading the market does not come easy…I work daily on following my trading rules and keeping my mind-set focused on the end-goal. My passion and drive to become the very-best trader I can be, forces me to be disciplined. I believe discipline is learned and earned every day.
You are one of the most open and honest traders I have come across in the business. I see that you now are freely broadcasting a trading system based on your strategies along with a journal of outcomes.
What is this and who is it for?
As you know, the trading education landscape is littered with “charlatans.” When I first moved from Market-Making at Investment Banks to this side of the business, (independent trader) what I saw was simply shocking. The B.S. that was being taught and passed on as successful trading without actual performance metrics was astounding.
Polaris Trading Group’s (PTG) core philosophy is to provide mainly Retail Trader’s an educational platform of Truthfulness, Transparency and Profitability. PTG’s Trading Room (which is part of the larger Mr.Top Step Community), offers its private traders access to our methodology and strategies transparently, showing wins and losses respectively.
We have recently expanded our reach to YouTube Live Streaming, providing the general public an “inside-view” of one specific trading strategy in a “Trader Funding” format, which has become popular, from evaluation stage to funded trader stage. This is a fully truthful and transparent environment, something that is severely lacking within the Futures Trading World.
David, during your time on Wall Street you were part of a lot of big stock market declines, how do you compare today with the past?
During my 38 year career, I have experienced all the major market events…from Black Monday (1987), Gulf Persian War/1990’s Recession, Bear Market (2007-09), Financial Crisis of 2007-08, Flash Crash (2010), Pandemic 2020…the list goes on.
Each major event had its unique challenges trading the markets…Of course volatility was always present during each, and as Market-Maker I quickly learned to adjust my trading to align with the current environment. A majority of my trading was conducted more manually in those days and the price swings, though dramatic at the time, typically took longer to unfolded, since humans were trading.
Today’s “modern-trading” is a totally different animal, silicon-based (ALGO’s) trading as well as short-dated Options Contracts has produced what I refer to as “super-charged” day-traders, slinging around hundreds of millions dollars each day.
Volatility is no surprise in the markets…What makes today’s market action different in my opinion is the “speed-of-light” multiple swings intra-day, producing huge ranges…For example the current Average Daily Range (ADR) in the ES is in excess of 110 handles. PTG has developed its own proprietary Auto-Execution Algorithms trading our various strategies to be able to compete on a more equal playing field with the “BIG Money.”
Given my extensive experience over a wide-array of market environments, PTG’s success is attributed to its discipline and ability to adjust and align its traders with the current market dynamics.