A question comes in from a TN reader:

‘Aren’t you contradicting yourself when you’re dissing off the peg “forex systems” at the very same time you’re promoting the use of them?’

It’s a fair point, and one that probably needs a bit of explanation.

So I suppose my outlook can be stated like this:

-> System = closed-book, inflexible (bad)

-> Strategy = open book, rule based (good)

It’s easy to miss the subtle difference between ‘system’ and ‘strategy’ when it comes to trading so let me tell you more about what’s going on in my head here…

Systems Vs Strategies

In my mind a ‘system’ is a closed circuit. It is what it is and allows no further user input.

When trading a system the trader stumps up his money, takes the trading actions required, sits back, and waits for his fortunes to accumulate.

The trader may not even know the structure and reasoning behind the trading decision he is supposed to put his faith in (these are called ‘Black Box’ systems).

The ultimate expression of the trading system is the trading ‘robot’: a preconfigured piece of software that makes all decisions and places trades on autopilot.

I’ve never trusted them.

Heard too many tales of them trashing entire accounts when the algorithm encounters something a bit out of the ordinary in the markets and goes haywire, or where there was a bug in the coding to begin with.

The other common feature of ‘systems’ is that they tend to focus on near term market loopholes or tactical gains.

‘Strategies’ on the other hand take a more robust approach…

They give the user a proven logical approach to the markets – a rule-based approach – but the trader remains firmly in the driving seat all the same.

He applies his strategy according to market conditions. And he may choose not to trade a particular strategy a particular time.

For me, a critical part of a ‘strategy’ is a full disclosure of the rules and decision that make it up.

By sharing the full details of what drives the strategy along you empower the trader.

And through knowledge comes confidence: if he knows why something works he’ll find it so much easier to put his faith in it.

(This is a MASSIVE factor to consider when it comes to developing self-discipline in trading.)

So just to be clear…

I believe open and rule-based trading ‘strategies’ are the key to long term success.

Talking of which…

The Beta Test for my new end-of-day strategy kicks off this week.

I’ll be sharing the entire ‘rulebook’ for trading institutional order flow with my testers, nothing is held back or hidden, and once the package is polished up and ready to be introduced to Traders Nest readers you can expect exactly the same.

If you’re ready to add more power, more edge, and more profits to your trading, all while attending to your other daytime commitments I think you’ll like it.

Watch this space for more news coming soon!