Trade Sizing Depends on Risk Aversion and Volatility

  • Risk aversion
    • When I was a young man I wanted to devise objective risk systems. In other words, once you have a system, what is the right size to trade, period.
    • After years of working on this I convinced myself that it did not have a unique answer. You need at least one subjective piece of the puzzle to put it together, and that is an individual’s risk aversion. Now that is subjective.
    • There is no rule that says how averse you should be to risk, that is an integral element of your personality. But unless you know how averse to risk you are or unless you can impute risk aversion to your clients, you really can’t settle the question of how big you should trade.
  • Volatility
    • Estimating volatility determines to a large extent what your position sizes should be.
    • A slight improvement in our volatility estimators can potentially produce a significant long-term benefit.
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