Thursday, March 17, 2016

Liz Cheval: A Legendary Female Turtle Trader


“Attach yourself to a trading mentor. The cost will be far less than trying to do it yourself. Swallow your pride and get help. If you cannot afford a mentor, then you have no business trading. Why? Because you are starting out undercapitalised. When you start trading you need, at the very least, daily guidance.” – Joe Ross

Name: Liz Cheval
Date of birth: November 1, 1956
Nationality: American
Occupation: Trader and funds manager

Liz Cheval got a degree in math from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, and after that, she worked as a clerk at the Chicago Board of Trade. At that time, there were few women in the world of trading.

Richard Dennis and William Eckhard argued about the possibility of training people and making them successful traders. He decided to train some people and give them his capital to trade.  Richard made an attempt to test his idea, and so, he put out an advert, looking for those who would be interested in registering for a training program. Liz was among those who applied.

She was the only woman among those who applied. It turned out that the interview was simply the opportunity of a lifetime. She passed through an interview and began training with others. According to one source, she was able to earn the respect of her peers, and believed that working in a group of professional, competitive men helped prime her for professional challenges in the future.

After the training, the trainees (also called “turtles”) started their trading career. Liz founded and chaired EMC Capital in 1988, which was based in Illinois. The firm started with $1 million, and grew to have nearly $150 million in managed futures program.

Liz was a legendary market player as well as generous, and down-to-earth. She was kind to everyone. She once made annual profits of 107% for a period of 5 years; and she continued to perform well after that.

Liz died of aneurysm during a business trip to China. She was aged 56. 

What You Need to Know:
  1. It’s good for women to become traders. For women considering entering the financial industry, Liz revealed that she’d always encouraged them to manage money because she believed it to be a gender neutral occupation. No one can dispute women’s contribution based on gender investment management. Your performance is there in black and white profit and loss report. With so much trading done electronically now, money management is a good field for women.

  1. Liz traded based on price action. There was no need to know what the government reports said, or what OPEC was doing or what other economic figures turned out to be. Whatever the fundamentals brought about would be seen live in the markets. She traded what she saw and she was profitable.

  1. Liz was quoted as saying: “You need both a successful trading strategy and, more importantly, a reliable method to adapt the strategy to future market conditions. A successful trading strategy requires robust systems and sound risk management principles. The trading strategy is only as good as your research process. You have to identify robust estimators and develop a process to continually adapt the systems based on these reliable estimators…. You have to be disciplined in executing both trading and research strategies, in good periods and bad. A CTA has to be committed to their strategy whether it is in or out of favor.”

  1. Liz believed that the markets, traders, money managers and investors, need to adapt. The ability to adapt to change is the key to long term success in trading. It’s relatively easy to develop a profitable trading strategy over a short time frame. It’s far more challenging to develop a reliable method to continually adapt the strategy to future market conditions.

Conclusion: There are things you need to overcome or give up before you can attain permanent success in the markets. Joe Ross, quote above, says traders have to give up themselves. They’ve to become different entirely, by overcoming pride, lack of patience, greed, selfishness, fear, intolerance, discontent, anxiety, and lust for money. They need to replace those things with self-discipline, self-control, humility, faith in themselves and what they’re doing, willingness to help others, being content with what the market gives them, joy in place of  anxiety, and love of trading in place of lust for money (adapted from TRADERS’ magazine, October/November 2015).

This piece is ended with a quote from Liz:

“Go for it. Today the physical advantage of men [in the trading pits] is inconsequential because trading is virtually 100% electronic. I give the same advice to both men and women seeking entry level jobs in managed futures. Technical skills are mandatory. Great thinkers and idea creators need technical applications to test and execute trading strategies. Having those skills is a great way to gain entry or to build your own business.”

What Super Traders Don’t Want You To Know: Super Traders

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