I believe most traders have read quite a few books on economics or investing. I personally like the book “principles of professional speculation” by Trader Vic.

Victor Sperandeo, formerly known as Trader Vic, was born in 1945. He has more than 45 years of Wall Street trading experience. From 1978 to 1989, he had never experienced a single down year. Vic is not only the abbreviation of his name Victor, but also the abbreviation of the word Victory. Sperandeo earned this title because he was a winning general on Wall Street.

Sperandeo's investment philosophies can be summed up in three pillars: protecting the capital, maintaining sustainable profitability and pursuing excellent returns.

First, protect the capital. In Sperandeo's view, the first thing to consider before taking a trade is risk. In terms of risk-reward ratio, he accepts a ratio of at least 1:3. For example, when buying a stock with the potential risk of a 10 points loss, Sperandeo wouldn’t buy if the expected gain was not at least 30 points.

Second, have sustainable profitability. If you take a trade with a relatively high risk-reward ratio, it will naturally lay a good foundation for long-term and stable profits.

Third, investment philosophy is self-explanatory: the pursuit of excellent investment returns.

Protecting the capital is the most basic condition of being a trader. The alligator principle can fully explain this basic condition, which states that if your leg was unfortunately bitten by an alligator, the most effective way is to sacrifice that leg and drag yourself away, otherwise the more you try to escape the more the alligator takes you in. What this means in trading is that if some trades need to be cut in loss, then it’s better to do so. Always remember that losses are part of trading.

When you decide to buy or sell a stock you need to be disciplined about your actions in order to avoid unnecessary losses.

Sperandeo gave 19 trading rules, but let's interpret the most important 9 ones:

  • The first rule of trading is to trade according to a plan and stick to it strictly.
  • The second rule of trading is to trade with the trend, remember, the trend is your friend.
  • The third rule of trading is to get out of the trade as soon as you have doubts.
  • The fourth rule is to be patient and not over-trading.
  • The fifth trading rule is to cut your losing positions and let your profits run.
  • The sixth trading rule is to not let a profitable position turn into a loss.
  • The seventh rule is to buy low and sell high.
  • The eighth rule is to be an investor in the early stages of bull markets and being e a speculator in the latter stages of bull and bear markets.
  • The ninth rule is to never average a loss. Do not add to a losing position.

This article was written by Soon Joo.