SG Futures is a small group of pro-traders based in Ireland, with decades of collective experience trading all sorts of products & markets, in all sorts of varying trading conditions. Our collective experience ranges from day-trading, proprietary trading, wealth, fund & pension management, as well as individual investing.
As the main author on this website, I specialise in the ES, the S&P Futures contract as my core market. I trade it every day and it’s a beautifully technical market to trade. It’s thick, meaning a trader can get in out with decent size, and it’s liquid. I personally use market profile to make 99% of my trading decisions, and I’ve been heavily influenced by James Dalton in his books Mind Over Markets & Markets in Profile, as well as ShadowTrader & vwaptrader1 on Twitter. Market Profile gave me a whole new perspective in trading, and it reduced my heart rate by half, it tells the whole story of what’s going on in a market, and I can (usually) see who’s in the market on a given day, and adjust my strategy accordingly. Our Level Up Sessions cover this in great detail – so if you want to find pin-point trade location in high probability trades, then our package is for you.
I’m at this game over 13 years now, profitable for roughly 5 of those years, which should give you an idea what I’ve been through to get here. I am a swing trader and I specialise in order flow and market profile, trading U.S. equities, currencies and fixed income. I’ve also built up a significant stock portfolio as part of my retirement. None of this came easy by any means, and I hope by sharing my story below, it might give some insight about what it takes to get to a point where you can go out on your own and trade for a living.
When I talk about my journey in trading, my aim is to point out my mistakes, in the hope that you won’t make them!
I started trading by myself back at the beginning of 2007, right before the capitulation of the downturn, I had some extra money lying around and I thought I if I played the markets, I could make a ton of money and retire by the time I was 30. I couldn’t have picked a worse time to start, but looking back I think everything I learned, has really stood to me to this day. I had friend who was making some decent money and I spent some time with him and tried to replicate what he was doing – in hindsight, this was an almost impossible task, because I simply didn’t know what his overall strategy was, and how he made money – I just thought if I could win more than I lose, I’d figure it out eventually. I literally couldn’t have been more wrong, I had a proper gamblers mentality.
I remember the first day I deposited some money into a spread betting account, I subscribed to a signal service, sat down at my laptop at 7am and opened up the trading window. Loads of markets flicking around which was a real stimulation for the senses, I got quite excited. I decided on trading the German DAX equity index which I now know to be one of the most difficult markets out there to trade. The market opened, went straight down, and I bought it after it fell 50 points, just 6 minutes after the open. It went into profit and I couldn’t believe my luck, then within 30 seconds, it had fallen another 30 points, by this stage I was offside by almost 50% of the capital I deposited – at this moment, I’m stressed out and I’m looking for any reason whatsoever to stay in the trade, gold is falling, the S&P Futures aren’t dropping, I’m even looking up individual share prices that make up the index. At one point, I’m 80% of the capital I deposited in the red, it turns out its possible to lose this amount of money in roughly 5 minutes! Eventually the market turns and the trade goes positive, and the worst thing that could have ever happened, happened. I made a solid return on my first trade. When I close it out for a win, I thought it was so easy, nearly €200 for 30 minutes work, I was already doing the sums in my head of what I could make a day, a week, a year etc. I was delighted with myself, and the next morning I tried the same thing and wound up getting a margin call from my broker – this is where you no longer have enough money to continue in the trade, and the broker asks you to either deposit some money, or they close out the trade for you. They closed out the trade.
I was completely broken by this experience, I had no idea what I had done wrong, but my word did it hurt – I kept thinking what I could have done with that money rather than pissing it away on the Dax. It took me another month or two before I decided to give it another go. This time I thought I’d do more research, try and figure out some support & resistance areas I could trade off, something to give me a higher probability of winning. But this was in the midst of the financial crisis at this point, and I remember being sat at home, trying to trade the Dax, the Dow, the Nasdaq with the market whipsawing 50-100 points at a time with no rhyme or reason behind it at all. I blew up my account again within the space of 3 days.
At this stage I wanted to give up, I was psychologically broken from it. I kept reading on forums about people who made ridiculous sums of money trading at that time, and I wanted to know the secret. During this time, my father noted my absolute despair and he went to the library and got me a book to read – a book which should be mandatory reading for all people who want to trade the markets, a book called Reminiscence of a Stock Operator. I would encourage you all to read it – I read the whole thing cover to cover on a Saturday and it opened my eyes to world of trading. Over the next year or so, I stayed away from trading the markets, but I read plenty of commentary and began to read books about people’s experiences in the markets and what worked and what didn’t work for them. In 2011/2012 it finally dawned on me that there is no ‘holy grail’ which many people think is the answer to trading the markets profitably, it simply doesn’t exist. I began to look at the charts again in certain markets and started to paper trade them in my head, if price looked like it was going to hit a certain area, what was the probability of it going up or down. I began to see setups which delivered results more often than not so I opened a demo account on a spreads trading platform in 2012 and began testing out my hypothesis only on 1 market – I lost money consistently but thankfully it was demo money this time! I knew what do when the price went my way, but I had no strategy whatsoever when things went against me – often it was just hit and hope. So I put some rules in place around where I’d put my stop loss, a point where I’m out of the trade regardless. It significantly reduced my win-rate, but it protected my capital and that’s when things really began to turn for me. In late 2012, I funded a proper account again and for the first 6 months, 11% of my trades were winners, but I was marginally profitable. I had survived. Those 11 winning trades in every 100, were paying for the small losers and turning a profit. Over the next couple of years, I continued to trade whilst working full time and managed to remain consistently profitable during that time but I never made enough money to retire on! In 2015, I took the decision to leave quite a lucrative job and take up a position in Proprietary Trading Firm in Dublin. For those who don’t know, this is a company that will provide you capital to trade the markets and they take a cut of your profits. It was the real deal in terms of a trading job – I was working with some of the best traders in the country and learning an enormous amount, some the concepts I hope to share with you during this series. Whilst I learned a lot about the markets, the biggest takeaway from my time there, was what I learned about myself, how psychologically resilient I am and how regimented I can be when it comes to sticking to my rules and my process and dynamically tweaking my recipe for trading as the markets change and evolve over time.
After a couple of years in prop, I decided to go out on my own with a couple of other traders, and that’s where I am today. I’ve had quite a few people over the years ask me about investment advice, what to do with their pension, where do I think the markets will go etc, one even said I was like an encyclopedia of useless knowledge about the markets. I hope as part of this website, I can show you how to start with little or no experience and graduate to the point where you are a fully profitable trader.
– “SB”, SG Futures Limited, 2020
Trading foreign exchange (forex), bonds, indices and commodities, on margin, carries a high level of risk and may not be suitable for all individuals. The high degree of leverage can work against you as well as for you. Before deciding to invest in equity indices or other markets you should carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience and risk appetite. The possibility exists that you could sustain a loss of some, or all, of your initial investment. Therefore, you should not invest money that you cannot afford to lose. In some cases, it is possible to lose more than your initial investment as it is not always possible to exit a market at the price you intend upon doing so. There are also risks associated with utilising an Internet-based trade execution software application including, but not limited to, the failure of hardware and software. You should be aware of all the risks associated with investing in foreign exchange or other markets and seek advice from an independent financial advisor if you have any doubts.
The risk of loss in trading foreign exchange or other markets can be substantial. You should therefore carefully consider whether such trading is suitable for you in light of your financial circumstances. The information made available by SG Futures Limited is for your general information and use and is not intended to address your particular requirements. This information does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation and is not intended to be relied upon by users in making, or refraining from making, any investment decisions. SG Futures Limited will not accept liability for any loss or damage, including but without limitation to, any financial loss, which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information either provided by them or others that participate in the services provided.
The high degree of leverage that is obtainable through, for example, futures trading, options trading, Spread Betting and CFD trading can work against you as well as for you. The use of leverage can lead to large losses as well as gains. This brief statement can’t disclose all the risks in trading foreign exchange or other markets. Please use your own good judgment and seek advice from a qualified consultant before accepting any of the information you are given.