What can a profitable trader expect from investors?

A valued Darwinex trader e-mailed asking quite a while ago: what can a profitable trader expect from Darwinex?

I promised to answer on a blog-post – something I’ve failed to do for 5 months running …

Trader AuM (assets under management) now public

This post was so long in the making, in fact, that our functionality pipeline made the question redundant. Capital allocations are now public for prospective traders and investors.

The hope is for traders to quickly know where they stand in the investor pecking order.

Similarly, investors get the most aligned advice possible: what could be better than transparently seeing where everyone actually risks their bucks?


Which means – this post is now redundant.

Or is it?

Investor sales: in whose job description?

And then it dawned on me that something else is going on. Please read on – I’ll make my point further down, but a bit of an intro is required.

Living off independent trader is all about trading consistently – e.g. grow personal capital and beat living costs. Repeat. Trouble is, trading assets in the tens / lower hundreds of thousands (e.g. you belong to 99% of man-kind), you can:

  1. Keep risk “reasonable”. Preserve capital, spending decades before you beat your living costs. Trade pea-nuts, make pea-nuts.
  2. Leverage pea-nuts 500:1 and pray it goes well. Except – this 99.99% guaranteed to fail. A pretty time and capital intensive road to nowhere 🙁
  3. Approach 1, managing investor alongside personal capital

Darwinex was founded by a trader who tried 1 & 2, and concluded that 3 was the only really viable option – but learnt first-hand that a “1-man asset manager” is 4 simultaneous full time jobs:

  1. Front office: Develop, implement & maintain a strategy that consistently beats the market – conditio sine qua none
  2. Sales: Attract investors without credibility (why would they believe that you really, really make money?)…
  3. Back-office: Service  existing investors – have you ever had to explain to an investor that yes, unfortunately drawdowns are part of trading?
  4. Compliance: Meet regulatory requirements – acquiring (and perhaps more importantly!) servicing a regulatory licence is both expensive and time consuming

Steps 3 & 4 are firmly on Darwinex’s plate. The DARWIN Exchange offers DARWIN Providers a regulatory and technological platform to focus solely on the trading.

Step 1 is strictly on the trader’s side. It’s a competitive (darwinian!) selection and there’s no investors if your trading sucks.

What about sales?

Well – sales could be teamwork. Darwinex is certainly investing time and money into technology to more efficiently source investors – and organic investor AuM are growing along. There are now 10+ strategies managing more than USD 200k / head – a modest number, but not bad considering the investor platform only went live early in 2016. In that sense, traders topping the filters that investors most care about (return, D-Score, etc.)  can expect 3rd party investor capital in the hundreds of thousands of USD.

Is that it?

Committed traders do better than “expect”

Yes: AuM numbers are not earth-shattering (yet). And here’s the news: they won’t be until the trader movement kick-starts the following virtuous circle:

  1. Investors win consistently, because…
  2. A steady supply of investable traders wins consistently

Taken as a whole, current investors are doing promisingly well – but the supply of investable traders on the platform remains thin. For this reason, in addition to further developing trader and investor technology, increasing the supply of investable traders will remain the core priority. Yes, there will be efforts done on the investor side (in addition to existing B2C traction, we are regularly approached by family offices and asset managers) – but investors won’t be as prioritised in the coming months in the same way that attracting traders will.

Put it another way: the reason why we’ll continue to grow Darwinia is that, for now, hundreds of thousands (not millions) are what you can expect from 3rd party investors.

But then again, if you have an investable strategy – you can already engage your friends and family circle to manage their monies via a regulatory & technologically sound set-up. If you’re genuinely good, you’ll stand head-and-shoulders among the trader community, who’ll give you the credibility you lacked to date.

Given that opportunity, if you’re really committed to making a living as a trader – is it really so smart to sit back expecting investors to arrive?

Have you told your friends that your evolution is now investable?


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