About Decoding Markets

I’m an independent trader, investor and writer. I’ve always taken an interest in trading but my professional career began in 2008 when I took a job as a futures trader for a prop trading firm in London, UK.

My first day live trading (September 15th) coincided with the same day that Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, also known as Black Monday.

The bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers set in place a chain of events that led to the Dow’s largest ever one-day loss of more than 1,000 points and several months of severe volatility. On my first day of live trading, I came in at 7 am to find that Dow futures were already lower by about 200 points.

day trading futures for a living. Picture of TT trader

My role at the time was primarily as a futures day trader and my products were the FTSE 100 and German Bund. Occasionally I would also trade STIRs and GBPUSD.

Trading during the crisis was extremely difficult and the majority of traders in the office had never seen anything like it. Within just a couple of months my trading account had halved in value as I tried to cope with the pressure of making a living during one of the most violent bear markets in history.

By Christmas time, I had managed to get my account back into positive territory. Things were looking up but I still wasn’t earning the kind of income we all dream about.

A few months later and I was still struggling. I had given everything I could give. I was mentally exhausted and needed a break.

Study Time

After a short break from prop trading I vowed to learn everything I could about the markets and studied every trading book, article and journal I could get my hands on.

In early 2010 I got back involved in the industry and settled on a systematic trend following philosophy that was medium term in nature. I began creating trading systems with Amibroker and I used Premium Data as my data source. I began to have a lot more success utilising a semi-systematic approach.

I started to focus on different markets and only trade when I was confident there was an edge.


It is my belief that financial markets are highly complex and always evolving.

In order to survive, traders need to be flexible, open minded and have a willingness to learn.

I consider myself a student of the markets and am always looking to further my knowledge of successful trading and investing methods. I have learnt through many years of experience how difficult yet rewarding the financial markets can be.

Investment Funds

I currently look after two pools of capital; a private investment fund that is principally invested in US equities and a smaller trading account that is used for trading shorter-term opportunities.

The investment fund utilizes a long-term, buy and hold approach. My short-term trading uses a number of quantitative models.

The Blog

In early 2013, I started writing a number of opinion pieces and articles for online publications such as Seeking Alpha and it was there or there abouts that I started up this blog.

Soon I decided to put together a book about trading which I called How to Beat Wall Street. This book would capture everything I had learnt about the financial markets to date and be a concise guide to those new to the trading world.

Since then, I am proud to have been able to develop a number of other products and courses designed to help other traders and investors get ahead.

Keeping this blog up to date and developing new strategies for students has been invaluable in improving my own skills as a trader and is something I gain a lot of satisfaction from.


How did you get started?

I started my career as a professional day trader for a London-based firm where my principal products were the FTSE 100 future and German Bund.

Today I trade a portfolio of individual stocks and I have a passion for building automated trading strategies and systems.

What is your trading style?

I use a semi-automated strategy to trade stocks on an end of day basis. I look at both fundamental and technical analysis and use strategies that are based on historical simulations. I combine those strategies with my own experience and discretion to come up with trades that I believe are more attractive on a risk:reward basis.

Mean reversion or trend following?

I have found that traditional trend following methods do not work as well as they once did. My methods are based on my own observations on the market.

Who taught you how to trade?

My mentor was a former head of trading at a well known German investment bank. I also read and studied countless books, journals, and articles, and have spent many hours in the market. You can never stop learning.

Why did you start this blog?

I have found that blogging keeps me accountable and improves my own education as a trader whilst also being beneficial to those in a similar position.

What are the secrets to successful trading?

First of all, you must have the passion to succeed. If you are in it only for the money you will have a very tough time and will be doomed to failure.

You must be comfortable with risk and be able to separate your emotions from the money.  Having a system with a profitable expectancy is also crucial and for that you will likely need a strong ability with numbers.

Why do most traders fail?

Most traders start off under-capitalised and then chase unrealistic returns which results in them blowing their account after a couple of big losses.

Most beginner traders do not realise the realities of trading which is why they have trouble sticking to trading plans and dealing with their emotions.

Trading should be treated as a business.

What are your top tips for successful investing?

In my experience successful investing should be part mechanical and part human experience.

For me, the ideal stock is one that meets my fundamental criteria for value but also possesses a strong economic moat that gives it a sustained advantage over it’s competitors. However, such companies are rarely available at cheap prices.

Investing is difficult and most investors fail to beat the market indexes over time. Unless you have a significant amount of time to devote to research and analysis most investors would be better off sticking with these indexes.

Comments (16)

Great site.Thanks Joe!
I’m fairly new to Amibroker so I’m keen to read all about it.

Great to have you on board!

Hi JB,

Great story!

I myself followed a very similar route like you.

I was into prop trading after which i left the industry as i felt trend following was more suitable for me.

Only difference is your trading is semi automated.

Thanks for sharing buddy!


Hi Rayner, good to hear from you.

Yes, by using a semi-mechanical approach it keeps me balanced and more disciplined in my trading. This way I am more confident with my decisions.


Found your latest blog from twitter alerts – makes good sense.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thank you for the kind words and endorsement.

Best regards,

No problem.

Thanks for the generous sharing of your knowledge in this blog and all your courses. I’ve never properly learnt and practiced trading, and have essentially been gambling and this year I’m completely wiped out and decimated by the market and lost all my hard earned life savings (over 500k).

I suffered from depression and have lost all confidence until I came across your blog and resources. I am learning from you and hopefully can slowly accumulate capital again and be successful one day.

Really appreciate your efforts, JB

Hi EC,

Thank you for your comment.

My opinion is that when people gamble it is often because of underlying issues such as stress, depression, loss of control in their life etc. My advice is that you seek treatment for any issues that you may have before you trade again with real money. Gambling is a very difficult addiction to shake and it is impossible to make money if you gamble in the market.

Remember also that 95% of traders lose money overall (maybe more) so do not beat yourself up about losing but be realistic about the facts. It is not easy and is not for everyone.


You can code your stategies for Ninja?


Hi Jose
Sorry I am not well versed in Ninja Trader.

Hi JB, I am pursuing a career as a professional day trader and looking for formal education in Chicago. What program would you recommend? BTW, I am a real fan of “Seeking Alpha”.

All the best,


Hmmm that’s a difficult one to answer as I have never been to Chicago. In London, there are a number of prop trading firms who do their own training (some of which give you financial backing at the end if you can prove your worth on a simulator).
I imagine there are similar firms in Chicago so I guess the best thing to do is to contact some trading houses or talk to some people who work in Chicago.

I’m looking for information regarding live trading setup. I see in tools your testing setup, but I can’t find the live one.
Have you been writing about it?
Are your strategies run live on servers and place orders without human touch?
Best regards,

I take trades manually for now.

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