Trading Systems – The Difference is Technical

Why Different Trading Systems Matter –Different Trading Systems: Programmed and Technical Trading

As an introduction to the subject, I want to point out different approaches to managing Systems developed within the framework of a trading Method you’ve identified for a section of your Wealth Building Plan.  It’s important to quantify some guidelines for the Systems you’ll be using, so you understand how to manage any Method that’s part of your Plan.  You’ll be looking at the method used by your Trading Partners, but knowing the underlying system they’ve developed helps to evaluate its usefulness.

A Method is the combination of Style and Vehicle.

A System is developed to fulfill the needs of the Method.

Having a disciplined set of rules as a guide is the hallmark of a good system.  As you execute your wealth building plan, your Trading Partners will develop the systems to run the method being used, and it’s your choice which system best fits your needs, experience level, and personality.  Your involvement in the systems being used is to manage the appropriate section of your plan within the methods chosen.  Remember, systems come and go and are only as good as the developers and how well the systems have been tuned to the market.

Trading System Categories

Of all the trading systems out there in the marketplace, I’ve been able to define the best of them as belonging to two broad categories within the dominant Styles of Trading: Intraday Trading, Swing Trading, and Portfolio Management:

  • Programmed Trading – A proprietary computer program built based on technical analysis indicators and other assumptions to produce a self-contained system that automatically generates signals to be followed by the trader.  You generally buy and learn the program with education and support from the supplier and trade based on the rules established within the program.  The field can include programs you use to build your own trading system and extensive, professionally built systems traders implement with no individual input.  Not to be confused with “Program Trading”, which refers to institutional programs initiating trades based on algorithms created to take advantage of specific market conditions; i.e. High Frequency Trading (HFT).


  • Technical Trading – Trading rules are established through education and training and require the trader to manage the rules independently.  A variety of techniques are formed with the use of technical indicators, multiple time-frame analysis, market analysis, and other inputs to create a method that fits the market being traded.  I include Intraday Trading “on price action alone” in this category, since the technique is based on chart patterns and knowledge of what those chart patterns mean.  Technical Trading is the most common approach and requires a good knowledge of the industry and development of parameters relating to the market being traded.  It all boils down to developing rules to follow when trading, and the success or failure of any system depends on the one developing the rules.  Needless to say, this opens up a can of worms, and developing your own system or finding a system that actually works becomes a huge challenge.


So, we’re not looking for “systems”, we’re looking for good Methods and skilled management to make any particular system work.  Systems matter only to the extent that they are the tools to enhance the Method and produce the results that are expected.  The Method is the purpose, and the System is the execution mechanism.

The whole field of system development is so large, with so many players, that trying to quantify any reasonable approach to deciding on what to follow becomes a lifetime of research.  The problem you run into in the marketplace is not knowing what works and what doesn’t, and if you try everything to find out, you’ll spend a lot of money and time and still end up not achieving much success.  Besides, that is not the job of the individual wealth builder.  Happily, talented people have devoted their lives to certain trading Methods and developed Systems within a framework that they have found works.

I want to emphasize that we’re not looking for trading systems as much as for the methods used by experts dedicated to their style of trading that fit into your overall plan.

Don’t get caught up in the hype about any particular system changing your life and making you instantly into that consistent trader.  Look for organizations that have been built by dedicated experts with a history of accomplishment, and work with them.  They have the pulse of the market and the experience to make their systems work.

Finding those dedicated experts, Your Trading Partners, to make your Wealth Building Plan work is a primary mission of The Diversified Trader.

If you’ve been involved in the trading and investing arena for any length of time, you know how varied and confusing the marketplace really is.  With all the different Systems and Methods vying for your attention, there’s no effective way to determine what’s good and what’s bad by listening to the promotions.  The failure rate among wealth builders is very high and is in part based on this phenomenon of not knowing which way to turn.

It’s very hard to know how a system will work.  The key to winning isn’t in the system as much as it is in the execution of the method.  Too many systems are based on back-test results and curve fitted to the historical data to make the test look good and then touted as being a viable trading system.

My caution is to never take a System at face value, and only evaluate systems in the context of proven techniques and the people behind the programs – your Wealth Building Plan will thank you.


Keep Learning…


To the Technical Side of Life,

Ted Bliss
Your Research & Development Coordinator