Saturday, 16 February 2013

Trading Solo

The Sultan wrote a post recently about trading on behalf of a third-party, and it’s a subject that is of interest. I know that when I mentioned in a post many years ago that I had placed a bet on someone’s behalf, I was emailed and told by a couple of people that this was not allowed.

There is probably a term and condition somewhere that technically forbids this, although I doubt that the intent is to stop someone from putting a fiver on to save their Dad or whoever from a wet and windy walk to the High Street bookies.

I’ve also read stories, always with a sad ending, of syndicates being formed, meaning by definition that at least one person is placing bets on behalf of others. The Footsoldiers saga “In The trenches” is possibly the most famous, or rather infamous, and while the exact truth of what happened is not known to me, and probably never will be, the ill-conceived idea ended badly, with moments of black comedy along the way.

Who can forget the unfortunate setback due to the instigator’s brother being unfamiliar with the Betfair screen?
apparently with the 500k investment money he told investors that his brother wouyld be responsible for placing the bets but to wait a few weeks as he had to LEARN BETFAIR FIRST
Or the Champions League game in Lyon where the ‘impossible’ happened and visiting Rangers won 3-0 at 9 to 1 and a sizeable portion of the syndicate’s funds were lost for ever as the lay of Rangers went down in flames. Footsoldiers never understood that value is key to long-term success:
u get guys talking about value all the bores me to death, it's like a disorder with them a cleaning disorder they can't bet unless they think they have this thing called value - now if i turn over 30k a month a 1000 a day by not betting the value what are they going to say ???

yeah thats one of the biggest misconceptions
''keep backing the value, even if they keep losing and in the long run you will win''
i cant get my head around the pro that is happy to back at 3.5 but not 3.4
The subsequent loss of the remainder of a significant amount of money ultimately led to (allegedly) threats of violence, someone living in fear in Glasgow, reportedly broken families, stolen money and police involvement, and the saga proved a cautionary tale for why trusting strangers with your money is not usually a good idea.
Someone said they had persuaded their In Laws to put their life savings in , which was about 50k IIRC .Someone had their house repossessed having taken out a 2nd mortgage also i believe. One guy said his wife had left him over it and from what was said on the deleted thread Footsoldiers was no longer on speaking terms with members of his own family (he blamed his brother in some way from what i recall)
Accepting money from strangers isn’t usually a good idea either – assuming that they want it back of course.

In the early days after finding our edges, probably many of us spoke a little too freely to friends and family about our success, but you soon learn to keep quiet. It all sounds so easy to those we bore with our stories, that there’s the inevitable “If I give you some money, can you invest it for me?” questions.

Well for me, it’s no I can’t. I used to explain that the edge is in making snap decisions which, while they are right more often than the probability suggests, apportioning a profit or a loss to someone else’s investment was nigh on impossible. And the extra money was no use to me.

If you find you have an edge in trading, or punting, you really don’t need any funding other than your initial deposit. The thing about having an edge is that your bank grows anyway and you soon reach the point where the limitations of the betting markets become apparent. Betting markets are nowhere near as scalable as the financial markets, and it is not often that my self-imposed exposure limit of £5,000 has proved to be a problem. My bank is currently in the £20k range, and an injection of cash from a third-party would either be insignificant or unusable. Useless in other words.

 Want £2 on the Clippers -3.5 to beat the Lakers? You might well have no problem filling your order at 2.0, but if you want £2,000 on the same bet? That might not be so easy.

So the extra capital isn’t needed, and assuming our investor wants a profit on his investment, how is it in my interest to generate profits for him, rather than keep them for myself?

Is it even true that we trade better with someone else’s money? I would suggest that when we have someone to answer to, how ever freely they might give you the money, our trading decisions are negatively affected. I think it is human nature to take a little more care of something you are entrusted with than you do with your own, and so you trade a little too cautiously. As if the end of the month were approaching perhaps?

If I am wrong, and we trade better with someone else’s money, then it could make sense to work this way, but only if your cut of the profits that you generate exceeds the money you could have made trading less optimally from your own money. In my opinion, the likelihood is that if you are profitable in the first place, then any improvement is likely to be slight rather than dramatic.

Of course, if the decision making is taken out of your hands, then there is one advantage to placing bets with other peoples money, or there would be were it allowed. It increases turnover and reduces charges, and for anyone with Premium Charges in their future, which should be most of us, the more of this we can do, and the earlier we can do it in our trading lives, the better. Of course this assumes that our 'clients' don't have an edge. If they are consistent winners, it's not going to help with your charges, but not many people can consistently profit from punts. It's more likely to be recreational punters who want you to put bets on for convenience reasons rather than pros looking for another outlet.


Anonymous said...

disappointed you've not added me to your blogroll :-(

PP said...

Cheers Cassini,

Great content you've put in here. In my opinion, a "betting fund" is only useful if we trade in a marketplace whose liquidity is so high that bigger bets have a neglectable effect on our edge, or if we share a "trading office" with 3 or 4 people, each one trading their own "un-correlated" way, in order to reduce our variance with the overall performance of "the team".

Managing a sponsored fund adds also a new commitment, a new accountability, and puts our reputation on the line. The trading activity by itself will never be the same, because our actions will be affected by our additional sense of responsibility. If our edge gets affected by the new circumstances, then our average ROI will be different, and our initial assumptions may not hold. And that will eventually reflect in our trading activity. It can be a stressful and vicious cycle... Nevertheless, it can be a true test to our resilience in a very short timeframe. But the only way to get it in right terms, is by managing the expectations of everyone involved right from the start, and be able to deliver the right message through the way.

Honestly, I see too many downs rather than ups. If someone has an edge in this limited liquidity environment, and if that person is able to prove his edge to a third party, then it can't be that hard to compound with a proper stake management (e.g., by using a kelly criterion).

Kind regards,

Anonymous said...

ty for the add