CFTC Leaders Jump Ship: Time for Some Real Change

DSC_2006Once again there are a handful of open positions at the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). First Jill Sommers, then Gary Gensler and now Bart Chilton are leaving. This agency’s mandate is to regulate commodity futures and options markets in the United States. Unfortunately, it is being run by people who have never traded commodities, run a clearinghouse for commodities or sat on an exchange board.

There is something inherently wrong with this thought process. It would be like me sitting on the medical practices board. Although I am sure that all the people on the CFTC have IRAs and other brokerage accounts, that doesn’t make them experts, just like having health issues doesn’t put me in a position to regulate doctors.

What does this mean when people with so little trading experience run an agency? Simply a replay of the past. Clearinghouses and financial services firms such as Refco, MGF and PFG have collapsed as a result of faulty oversight by the very agency pledged to oversee them. It will happen again.

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Is Washington Finally Addressing Electronic Trading?

On August 23, the Wall Street Journal wrote an article titled “Regulator Moves on Trading.” While it was very well written, it didn’t give any background information on why the CFTC is so behind on addressing electronic trading issues.

The CFTC has a long history of being late to the party on a majority of major issues, while being reactionary on issues that have cost hundreds of millions to the trading community. Unfortunately, in Washington many fingers are pointed and no one ever seems to be held accountable.

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Trading Tip #13 – Why Being Flat Can be the Best Trading Position

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When I lecture, I always ask investors what positions there are in trading. Most respond, “Long” or “Short.” A few understand that being flat is also a position. But what most don’t realize is that being flat can actually make you the most amount of money. It’s the only way to view the market at face value.

I have never met anyone who was long and felt the market was going down, or short and thought the market was going up. If they had, I would have asked why they stayed in their position if they felt the market was going against them. In today’s new world of electronic trading, cheap money, additional algorithms and funds, market moves are much more drastic. That’s why, under certain circumstances, being flat can be the best position to be in.

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Realizing Your Investment Risk Level

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Whether you are new to investing or have been doing it for years, it’s time to realize that all types of investing markets have changed. This means it’s time to either reevaluate or understand what your risk appetite is.

Many people say they only invest what they are comfortable with losing. Unfortunately, many of my clients come to me after they have had a loss and realized that saying it, meaning it, and living it are very different things.

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This is Not Your Grandfathers Gold Market!

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For years,  we have all seen advertisements on TV and in the newspapers telling us to buy gold.  We’ve been told that it is a safe investment.  For the past 12 years, for the most part, it has been, depending on how deep your pockets are.  However, we saw on Friday, April 12th, that gold, at any given moment, can turn and drop fast and hard – just like all markets. Continue reading

How to Start a Trading Career While in College

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The Martin B Greenberg Trading Room at Hofstra University

How to Start a Trading Career While in College.

We have all head stories of the guy or girl who said how they made their first fortune while trading in college. I happened to know one of these traders and, like all super stars in any field, they are part of the very small group.

If you want to start your trading career while still in college, this is how I would tell my own children to do it. Continue reading

Greenberg Capital LLC Comments on :MF Global Customers to Recoup $546 Million (reprint)

MF Global Customers to Recoup $546 Million

(original source: TheEpochTimes)
Former chairman and CEO of MF Global Jon Corzine testifies Dec. 15, 2011, during a Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. The committee found that Corzine personally ordered the transfer of customer funds to cover company losses. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Former chairman and CEO of MF Global Jon Corzine testifies Dec. 15, 2011, during a Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. The committee found that Corzine personally ordered the transfer of customer funds to cover company losses. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The trustee of bankrupt MF Global Inc. settled a dispute with J.P. Morgan March 19 that will see $546 million returned to customers. Some experts think the settlement helps to return client funds quickly while others think J.P. Morgan got off too easy.

James W. Giddens, Trustee for MF Global Inc. said, “This is a significant milestone in returning assets to former customers … ending what would have been a costly, protracted, and uncertain legal battle.” He also said that the settlement avoids yearlong delays in returning money to customers. Continue reading

Trading Tip #12: Had a Bad Trade? Handle it Like a Bad Golf Shot.

Trading Tip #12: Had a Bad Trade?  Handle it Like a Bad Golf Shot.  It is Your Fault.  Deal With it Quickly and Always Move Forward.

tip 12One issue that holds back most new traders, and separates the good traders from the great traders, is the ability to move forward after a bad trade.  How many times have you heard someone say, “I lost money the market when it went the wrong way.  I should not have listened to my broker.  This guy said the stock would go up I am so pissed I listened to him, I actually meant to be long”?

As a trader, you need to own your trades.  No one has a gun to your head to put on a trade.  It is nobody else’s fault if you lose money.   When you are out talking to your friends about a good trade, do you then give credit to someone else?  No, of course not.  At those times, you are the superstar. Continue reading

Why Are Gas Prices So High? Here Are A Few Reasons

Why Are Gas Prices So High?  Here Are A Few Reasons

As an oil trader, I would tell my friends when I get upset about how much it costs to fill up my car.  You know prices are out of control.  Over the years,  I have heard and experienced every excuse in the book for high gas prices.  During my career as a NYMEX crude oil Pit Trader, there have been many real issues for the spikes in gas prices – such as the Gulf War, strikes in volatile oil producing countries, natural disasters like hurricanes, refinery shut downs, and countless speculation issues. Continue reading

Trading Tip #11 You Want to be a Trader? Do Not Paper Trade

Trading Tip #11 You Want to be a Trader?  Do Not Paper Trade.

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There seems to be many programs for paper trading.  As Seen On TV “Backtest your strategies.” Almost every on-line trading system has this.  Very few strategies work all the time.  I address various Trading Styles in Trading Tip #9.  Unless you are in a college trading competition, I think paper trading is pointless.

There are many who might not agree with me.  Let’s take the past few trading days as an example. On 2/27/2013 the market was up over 200 points .  If you were paper trading, you would feel a sense of pride and, I am sure, at some point you would have said to yourself “I would have nailed it today.”  Now let’s back track to 2/25/2013 just a few days before when  when the market got slammed.  A paper trader would not feel like their guts were being ripped out. The feeling of trying to find the right place to sell.  The fear, hoping that it would not bounce back in their face. The over-whelming feeling of “when is this market going to stop going down?” Continue reading