The Plank Strategy Profit On Futures Rates

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A scalping strategy for options

The format of scalping on options is a fairly common way of making a profit in this area of the market. The speed of trading and its high profitability results are the main factors that attract people to this method of trading. Today we will consider the effectiveness of high-speed trading, as well as a few practical examples of scalping strategies for futures contracts that could become highly effective tools for predicting the market using short-term contracts.

How reliable is the scalping strategy for options?

The question of reliability and effectiveness of this strategy for scalping on the market is primarily related to the effectiveness of the trading signals of the system, as well as the correct risk management. In addition, the reliability of this scalping strategy is tied to the professional level of the trading terminal and the parameters of the trading conditions that are available on the operator’s platform. By picking the right technical and trading parameters for the scalping strategy you can get fairly stable and high results using this trading format. Here are a set of recommendations that contribute to the effectiveness of scalping on options:

• Use platforms for trading from professional companies — in this regard, we recommend the terminal for futures trading from the our brokers rating, where you will find all the necessary technical indicators for scalping, as well as a set of highly effective forecasting tools
• Carefully and accurately calculate the risks when registering trading positions. The correct ratio of the cost of the trade to the volume of capital will help you avoid critical losses and drawdown in your account
• To conduct trading in scalping mode, use a system with an efficiency level of at least 85% and maximum universality for all underlying assets

This list of recommendations will allow you to engage in high-frequency trading in a safe and profitable mode.

Scalping indicators for options

Market professionals recommend using technical indicators that are capable of generating signals on fast impulse changes in the price of an asset as forecast indicators for scalping trades on the futures market. In this case, the main trend indicators work perfectly, and they can be found on the many platforms:

This set of forecasting tools will allow you to build universal strategies for scalping on electronic options.

A scalping strategy for futures trades – practice

For our first practical example of a strategy for scalping on the financial market, we will show a system that uses a combination of settings of two trend indicators. This format of generating technical signals allows you to best assess the current market situation on the asset chart and opens up the possibility of determining the points of price quotes where the chart reverses to build corrections or new trends. So, let’s set the following technical forecasting tools on the asset quotes:

• EMA Indicators with technical parameters 10, 20, 30
• 2 MACD indicators — 50/75/9 and the standard configuration

We will use turbo trades with an expiration period of 120 to 240 seconds, and we will register the positions when we receive the following signals from the indicators:

• EMA Indicators – a beam of movings reverses upwards on the chart after convergence in one point
• Indicator MACD 50/75/9 – the lines intersect upwards
• Standard MACD – the movings intersect level 0 upwards

Signals for trades DOWN will have the reverse building configuration. This scalping strategy format has a technical signal efficiency ratio of 90% and allows you to make the most stable earnings for short-term trading. It should be noted that the risk management parameters for this system are of the classic parameters – the maximum amount of trading funds for one trade should not exceed 3% of the total amount of capital.

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Scalping in 1 minute

The next scalping strategy format for electronic options is designed to work with contracts that have the minimum expiration period of 1 minute. Here, trend indicators are also used with subtle settings parameters, allowing for the formation of two types of trading signals for turbo contracts. In this way, we will achieve high cyclicity of our technical signals and increase profit opportunities for scalping since this operating approach makes it possible to register contract packages. So, let’s install the following instruments on the trading chart:

• SMA 5 and 10 indicators — we use blue for the moving with a five-minute period of building, for the second technical tool we use the standard coloring.
• MACD indicator – standard

To register trades UP with expirations of 1 minute, we use the following types of technical indicator signals:

Signal for the 1st type:

• The technical movings of the MACD indicator intersect upwards
• The blue lines of the SMA indicator intersect the second moving upwards

Signal for the 2nd type:

• The MACD oscillator lines intersect level 0 upwards
• The SMA indicator movings diverge upwards on the chart without intersecting

Using these signals, you can register up to 40 trades with short-term options in one hour, of which 90% will close with a profitable result. This factor will make it possible for you to earn up to 300% per week on options scalping.

Let’s sum up — scalping with futures trades using the correct mode of risk management and in combination with an effective trading system is the most rapid way to increase your account balance.

“General Risk Warning: Binary options and cryptocurrency trading carry a high level of risk and can result in the loss of all your funds.”

A trading strategy using the MA ALMA

The Moving Average is the main indicator in modern technical analysis. Combining several different types of movings allows you to get different results. Almost all indicators work on the same principle – averaging readings from the last few bars of the chart. In this article, we’ll look at a trading strategy based on the Arnaud Legoux Moving Average (ALMA). This indicator works on the principle of the Moving Average, but the calculation formula is more perfect. This allows you to reduce lag, provided that the signals remain accurate.

The tool was developed by Alan Hull, a trader from Australia who is well-known in professional circles. He positions his tool as an alternative to the standard MA types Simple, Exponential, etc. The main difference in regards to conventional moving averages is its minimal lag. The classic EMA, SMA, SMMA and other Moving Average lines have a significant minus – signal lag. This disadvantage becomes less noticeable if you reduce the period of the moving. However, a second problem then arises – the accuracy of the signals is significantly reduced. The MA ALMA in this regard is more perfect. On a volatile market, this tool shows very good trading results, even without the use of auxiliary filters.

Preliminary preparation of the platform

To trade on this strategy, we will need to open a live chart. The Arnaud Legoux Moving Average is not included in the standard set of indicators, so it is not available on the trading platforms by default. So, we choose an asset from among those which offer the maximum profit percentage on the trading platform. We set the interval to 1 minute. We could put it at 5, but this would reduce the number of trading signals by several times. We add the indicator to the chart. To do this, put “ALMA” into the search line, or manually find the tool called “Arnaud Legoux Moving Average”. Leave the settings for the period at the standard values.

Trading on an increase

In this article, we will consider the indicator in its pure form. Therefore, the trading rules are as simple as possible. If the price breaks through the Moving Average downwards and the rising (green) candlestick exists upwards, you should buy the “Up” option. However, it’s not as simple as just that, there are also some nuances which will be discussed below.

Trading on a decrease

The breakdown of the MA ALMA and exiting of the bars into the area below the movings signal the beginning of a downward trend in price movement. This is not a long-term trend but a short-term correction. More stable trends can be determined by assessing the position of the line on the graph and its direction. An example of a signal to buy an option on a decrease is shown in the picture of the live chart below.

The nuances of trading on the signals of the indicator

1. Trading should only be done on an active market when the indicator line is directed at a downward or upward angle. This indicates the presence of an upward or downward trend. In conditions of low volatility, the passability of signals is sharply reduced.
2. The MA must be broken through by a candlestick with a body that is relatively long. Bars that are too short should be ignored. If the shadow is longer than the body, that is also a negative signal.
3. The ideal moment to buy an option is during the period in the last 5-10 seconds before the closing of the bar. This time is indicated in the live chart.
4. The expiration period should equal 1 candlestick with the chosen timeframe.

A practical example of trading

We will conduct one trading operation specially for this article. We chose the AUD/CAD pair, but from a strategic point of view, that is not important. The preparatory stage has been completed, the indicator has been added to the live chart, and everything is ready on the platform for a quick opening of the trade with one click.

As can be seen in the picture above, an ascending candlestick breaks through the MA going downwards. Therefore, without waiting for the closure of the bar (15 seconds left), we open a trade on an increase.

Everything was prepared in advance, so we managed to open the trade. The trade lasted 60 seconds, but the screenshot was taken 22 seconds before the transaction was closed.

A profit of 70% of the investment is credited to our account, as seen in the pop-up notice in the terminal.

Conclusion

Using the ALMA indicator alone allows you to get a good trading result. However, the efficiency would be even higher if additional filters were added (for example, the Relative Strength Index). The use of the RSI would make it possible to enter the market only in states of overbought/oversold, which further increases the percentage of passable signals.

“General Risk Warning: Binary options and cryptocurrency trading carry a high level of risk and can result in the loss of all your funds.”

Simons Strategy to Shield Profit From Taxes Draws IRS Ire

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A former Cold War code breaker may have cracked the tax code for hedge funds.

James H. Simons, who became a billionaire when he turned his extraordinary mathematical ability from defense work to investing, has deployed an unusual strategy at Renaissance Technologies LLC to skirt hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes for himself and other investors, said people with knowledge of the matter.

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service is challenging the technique, which it called “particularly aggressive,” without identifying the hedge fund in the dispute. It is demanding more tax payments from investors in Renaissance’s $10 billion Medallion fund, the people said.

Renaissance sought to convert profit from Medallion’s rapid trading into long-term capital gains, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the dispute hasn’t been made public. The top federal rate on long-term gains is about half that on short-term.

Versions of the strategy, which involved shifting ownership of Medallion’s portfolio to banks including London-based Barclays Plc, were used for most of the past decade, one person with knowledge of the matter said.

The case highlights how hedge-fund and private-equity managers use loopholes to exploit the government’s preferential treatment for long-term investing income. If East Setauket, New York-based Renaissance prevails in its legal dispute with the IRS, dozens of other funds would probably take steps to mimic the firm’s strategy, according to tax advisers.

‘Aggressive Strategies’

“If they win, that will signal to the rest of the hedge-fund community that aggressive strategies can work,” said Steven Rosenthal, a fellow at the Urban Institute in Washington and a former tax lawyer at Ropes & Gray LLP.

Jonathan Gasthalter, a spokesman for Renaissance, declined to comment, saying “the dispute is ongoing and being handled in the appropriate forum.”

Kerrie Cohen, a spokeswoman for Barclays, declined to comment. The IRS declined to comment, citing confidentiality laws.

The disagreement between the IRS and Renaissance traces back at least to 2020, when the IRS publicly criticized an unnamed hedge fund for using the strategy. It was referring to Medallion, the people said.

Simons, 75, retired from Renaissance that year as one of the best-performing managers of all time and now serves as non-executive chairman.

Testing ‘Lucifer’

While working for the nonprofit Institute for Defense Analyses at its research center in Princeton, New Jersey, in the 1960s, Simons was a code breaker for the National Security Agency. In 1973, he helped International Business Machines Corp. test a cipher, named “Lucifer,” that its researchers had developed.

A philanthropist and former math professor who has championed better math and science education, Simons has a fortune estimated by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index at $12 billion . He didn’t respond to a written request for comment.

The IRS contends that Medallion’s arrangement with the banks, in which the fund owned option contracts rather than the underlying financial instruments, is a ruse and that the fund investors owe taxes at the higher rate. Renaissance takes the position that the trades were not tax-motivated, were consistent with current law and were done for legitimate business reasons, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Private Dispute

The dispute hasn’t spilled over into a public forum such as U.S. Tax Court. Unless they prompt litigation, taxpayer conflicts with the IRS are handled in secret and often take years to resolve. It couldn’t be determined whether Renaissance is still using the strategy, and how much the IRS wants investors to pay in back taxes.

A former Renaissance employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it notified him years after he left that the IRS was challenging the tax technique, and he might have to pay more than $90,000 in additional taxes if the firm loses.

Renaissance assured him that the trade was a common and legitimate technique and that the IRS was trying to rewrite the rules retroactively, the former employee said.

A proposal this year from U.S. Representative Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, would eliminate any possibility that the Renaissance technique could generate tax savings, Rosenthal said. That proposal, a plank in Camp’s effort to overhaul the tax code, would prevent owners of derivatives such as options from earning any long-term capital gains.

Frequent Trading

The top federal rate on long-term capital gains, derived from selling investments held for more than a year, is currently 20 percent, compared with 39.6 percent imposed on wages and investments of less than a year. Before this year, the short-term rate was 35 percent and the long-term was 15 percent. The Medallion fund trades stocks and futures so frequently that, absent the tax maneuver, it would generate mostly short-term gains, said the people with knowledge of the matter.

Although tax experts said some of the specifics of Renaissance’s strategy are unusual, figuring out ways to convert a hedge fund’s trading profits into income taxed at the lower, long-term gains rate is one of the holy grails for tax planners.

“It’s been going on since there’s been hedge funds,” said David Weisbach, a tax professor at University of Chicago Law School.

Offshore Investment

One increasingly popular technique is to set up an offshore insurance company that in turn makes the hedge fund investment, as top executives at billionaire John Paulson’s firm did last year. The move was the subject of a Bloomberg News report in February. At the time, Paulson declined to say whether it was done to avoid taxes.

Renaissance’s strategy involved buying an instrument called a “basket option contract,” from banks including Barclays, the people said.

IRS lawyers released an 11-page memorandum in 2020 describing the technique and outlining what they called a “particularly aggressive” example, without naming Medallion and Barclays.

The purpose of the memo was for top IRS attorneys in Washington to notify staff in the field about a newly discovered tax-avoidance technique. The IRS had been tipped off to the practice in 2008 by examiners from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Stock Portfolio

As described in the memo and by people with knowledge of the matter, the transaction worked as follows: Barclays bought a portfolio of stocks and other instruments that fund managers at Renaissance wanted to trade. The bank hired the fund managers to oversee the portfolio, paying them a nominal fee.

Then Medallion bought an option with a term of two years, whose value was linked to the worth of the portfolio. Renaissance had full discretion to trade the securities in the portfolio.

Medallion could claim it owned just one asset — the option — which it held for more than a year, allowing any gain to be treated as “long-term” when its investors reported the income on their personal tax returns.

“The profits are just being transmuted, through the alchemy of derivatives, to a preferenced return,” said Urban Institute’s Rosenthal.

IRS Memo

Although the memo describes a specific basket option contract provided by Barclays, Renaissance entered into similar contracts with Deutsche Bank AG, said the people with knowledge of the matter. After the IRS published the 2020 memo criticizing the technique, Deutsche Bank stopped offering Renaissance versions of the option trades that had tax-reducing benefits, two of the people said.

Deutsche Bank spokeswoman Renee Calabro declined to comment.

Some of the people with knowledge of the option trades said they had at least one purpose unrelated to tax savings: they allowed Medallion to borrow more money from its banks than it otherwise could.

Robert J. Frey, who worked at Renaissance from 1992 to 2004, said he has heard about the dispute from current employees. They told him the firm hasn’t done anything wrong.

“These are people that were typically very conservative about that kind of thing,” he said in an interview. “There was never any desire to do anything that was operating on the edge. It’s a pretty honorable group of people.”

University Ties

Frey is now a professor at Stony Brook University, which has close ties with employees at Renaissance and is located near the firm’s headquarters on the north shore of New York’s Long Island.

Simons, who holds a bachelor’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, is a former chairman of the Stony Brook math department and has a geometric theorem named after him. He left academia in 1977 to manage money. At Renaissance, he assembled a team of Ph.D.’s who turned their math skills to buying and selling stocks and futures, creating computer programs to identify profitable trades.

Its flagship Medallion fund has returned about 80 percent annually before fees since 1988, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Simons and other Renaissance employees own almost all of the fund. Medallion stopped new investments from outsiders in 1993 and kicked out most non-employee investors in 2005.

The Billionaires Index estimates that Simons has earned at least $10 billion from Renaissance over the years. Institutional Investor’s Alpha estimated that he earned $1.1 billion last year alone.

Ex-Treasury Official

Renaissance’s legal team in the dispute includes Kenneth W. Gideon, a former IRS chief counsel and former assistant Treasury secretary for tax policy. He’s now a partner at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP in Washington. Gideon declined to comment, other than to confirm he is counsel to Renaissance in an IRS dispute.

Edmund S. Cohen, a lawyer at Winston & Strawn LLP in Washington, helped Renaissance set up the trades and supplied a legal opinion stating that the arrangements complied with tax laws, the people with knowledge of the matter said. Cohen declined to comment.

Tax planners started using derivatives to convert hedge funds’ short-term gains to long-term gains in the 1990s, said Alex Raskolnikov, a tax professor at Columbia University Law School. Congress tried to close the loophole in 1999, enacting a law allowing the IRS to disregard the tax effect of some derivatives, such as swaps and forwards, if they were economically akin to owning the fund directly.

‘End Run’

As described in the 2020 IRS memo, the basket option contract used by Renaissance represents an “end run” around the 1999 law, said Robert N. Gordon, president of Twenty-First Securities Corp., which advises clients on the tax implications of investments. Although the transaction is technically an option, it’s structured in such a way that it is economically almost identical to owning the portfolio, he said.

“We would love to have something to get long-term gains out of a hedge fund,” Gordon said, adding that the option described in the memo probably runs afoul of the 1999 law. “This thing doesn’t work.”

Autism Research

Since his retirement, Simons has focused on philanthropy. He is a major funder of autism research and is the founder of Math for America, which seeks to improve math education in public schools.

Simons has homes in Manhattan and on Long Island’s north shore, and owns a 222-foot yacht, Archimedes, named for the ancient Greek mathematician.

Simons and his wife, Marilyn, gave $9.6 million to Democratic groups in 2020, including a “super-PAC” that backed President Obama, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

During the same election cycle, Robert L. Mercer, the firm’s co-chief executive officer, gave $5.4 million to mostly Republican groups, the data show.

Renaissance has spent more than $2 million since 2002 lobbying Congress and the Treasury Department on taxes, according to lobbyist disclosure forms. Some of the lobbying has been for unspecified “tax issues affecting hedge funds.” None of the disclosure forms mention the IRS dispute.

Some of Renaissance’s lobbying has focused on proposed reforms that would restrict fund managers’ ability to claim a lower tax rate on some of the “carried interest” they earn from their jobs. The issue drew attention during last year’s presidential election when the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, disclosed he had paid just 13.9 percent of his 2020 income in taxes. Romney benefited from a rule that allows him to count some of his compensation from running the private-equity firm Bain Capital LLC as long-term capital gains even when the “carried interest” doesn’t derive from his own investments.

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