My Interview with Futures Trader Peter L. Brandt

July 14, 2015

[originally published on medium]

“I am wrong 60% of the time. This means that my default emotional expectation on a trade should be that this [next] trade will be a loser.” ~ @PeterLBrandt

Peter Brandt loses on 60% or more of his trades. He’s run the numbers and his win-loss rate over 29 years is decidedly negative. End of story, right?

But wait… in 29 years, only three years have tallied a negative annual return — the worst of which was an almost 8% loss. Huh?

It gets better… over those 29 years in total, Peter’s average annual gain is nearly 42%. That’s a forty-two percent gain, on average, every year, for twenty-nine years — in spite of only winning on way-less-than half of his trades. Peter figures every $1,000 invested in his proprietary trading operation at inception in 1980 has since returned over $320,000 in profits. Mind-blowing!

Yet, as an affront to this incredible success by all measures, Peter humbly considers himself a glorified, low-level order executer:

“I view myself as simply the person who executes my trading plan. My job is to enter orders, to manage my order flow, to manage the risk I take on trades, and I’ll let the markets do what they do. I have no control over the markets.”

Ok, so how do we copy Peter’s strategy and follow in his footsteps to riches? Not so fast…

“Everybody has to find out what their sweet spot is, what approach to the market resonates with them and makes sense. Because I do believe that every successful trader will find his or her own path to trading. No two successful Traders that I’ve known (and I’ve known a lot over the course of my career) trade markets the same way. They each find their own way.”

Don’t be discouraged. While Peter says no two Traders trade alike (hint: there is no holy grail), he has observed several common traits in all successful Traders he’s come across that can be learned and internalized by anyone in their journey of self-discovery. And he also shares common “capital offenses” most failed traders commit that we must be aware of so we can avoid at all cost.

This interview examines Peter’s observations as well as his personal trading beliefs and track record as a futures and commodities Trader who has participated in markets in parts of FIVE DECADES. To say that he’s seen it all would be a severe understatement.

There is so much to learn from a market veteran like Peter Brandt and I’m pleased to share this one-hour conversation with you. Start here:

~ Sean McLaughlin (@chicagosean)