Meet Dan Blyston
The last guest we invite to share his expert opinion is Dan Blaiston, who has joined the Swedish prime broker. Scandinavian capital markets as the main market strategist. Dan started his own website called Traders’ Magazine back in 2008. Besides his own blog, he has contributed to a number of leading publications such as Investopedia, theStreet, SeekingAlpha, FXStreet and of course Scandex, the newly launched interactive trader portal created by Scandinavian Capital Markets. Dan spent ten years in the Chicago trading industry as a clerk, trader and broker before writing about the markets.
What exactly does a chief market strategist do?
I write about the marketplace for clients, covering currencies, commodities, and cryptocurrencies from both a fundamental and a technical perspective. I usually scan the charts looking for the instrument with the most compelling price action that day and then build my analysis from there.
How did you get your first appearance on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME)? What was the work environment like? How has everything changed since then?
A family friend was the chairman of a well-publicized brokerage firm, and he suggested that I start as a clerk. The dimensions of the CME trading floors were impressive, especially the Eurodollar pit, almost like a stadium packed with traders, brokers and clerks in their colored jackets. When I was there, everything was already starting to switch to electronics. I worked in the S&P 500 futures pit for a while, and at that time they started adding pit-view terminals so people could trade the E-mini (an electronic mini version of the S&P standard futures contract). There was a short window of opportunity where E-mini traders could trade what was happening in the pit, sometimes giving them a significant edge. This is an example of one of the ephemeral opportunities that arise in the world of trading. The industry attracts some flamboyant characters, and on the marketplace, it was an eclectic mix. You would get a PhD in mathematics from MIT facing off against a mafia-type character both screaming at their best. The markets are, of course, more efficient now than ever, and it is becoming more difficult for speculators to make money. However, a few things have leveled the playing field, such as lower barriers to entry and better technology.
How did you go from trading futures (German bonds) to trading currencies and CFDs? What do you think are the most important differences between these asset classes?
FX has been a topic since the beginning of my career. I started out as an arbitration clerk in currency futures on CME. Sometimes interbank traders would call to find out what was happening on the exchange. I continued to trade Eurex futures (mostly Bund) overnight at a private trading firm called Altea, named after a city in Spain. I later obtained a Series 3 license and worked at Infinity Futures, where clients traded futures, futures options and forex. The sheer size of the spot forex market, with over $ 5 trillion in daily volume, creates many interesting trading opportunities – something that banks knew and used for a long time before retail traders entered the market. Although the spot market offers more liquidity, it is less transparent than the futures market.
Why did you decide to become an analyst and not just trade based on your knowledge and understanding?
I like writing and connecting dots. Understanding what is happening in the markets can be like trying to solve a huge puzzle, and there is intellectual satisfaction in it. It’s also nice to be part of a team and share your ideas with others.
What do you like most about trading?
The truth is that if you lose money as a professional trader, you will indeed lose a lot – because you have lost time, money and you have nothing to show. On the other hand, there are huge success cases that are unfortunately more rare.
When did you first learn about cTrader? What was your first impression? What do you think of the platform today?
I learned about cTrader while at Scandinavian Capital Markets, because of its popularity among clients. My first impression was that the UX is better than MetaTrader. The secure connectivity to FIX API through cTrader and its advanced risk management features make it an attractive platform.
You can follow Dan Blystone’s ideas on the Scandex Site.