VanTharp Institute – Ken Long – Core Trading Systems (Market Outperformance and Absolute Returns)
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Author: VanTharp Institute – Ken Long
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Would you like your money to make money—even when the market goes down?
You can! And, it could take as little as a few minutes per week. Learn low-maintenance systems to earn consistent returns using longer-term trading.
With nearly 7 hours of video and downloadable companion documents you’ll learn Dr. Ken Long’s long-term systems in your own space, at your own pace, and for half the cost of our in-person event!
Truly Core Trading Systems:
Do you have a retirement account with limited allocation choices and restrictions on how often you can switch funds?
Do you consider yourself an investor rather than a trader but believe you could manage your money more actively to improve returns?
Do you want a portion of your equity generating consistent returns on an intermediate and long-term basis?
Do you want to diversify your returns across time horizons and need some longer-term systems?
Do you have a demanding full-time job but want better returns than your money manager or advisor has provided?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then the eLearning course, Core Trading Systems: Market Outperformance and Absolute Returns, is probably a good fit for your needs.
Over the last decade, Dr. Ken Long has taught Van Tharp Institute workshops about trading systems with intermediate to long-term holding periods. Over those years, his trading systems have improved dramatically. In the last few years, he has designed what he considers his best intermediate trading system, and interestingly enough, it has a very simple set of rules.
As a continuous learner himself, Ken reads constantly and has focused some of that time over the years on intermediate/long-term system development – from both a traditional orientation and from some more unconventional sources. By combining a lot of various ideas he has gathered from academic research, from analysts, from his personal investing experience, and from his Tortoise Mastermind group of traders, he has created a group of trading systems that enables someone to outperform the market on a consistent and long-term basis – all with a minor amount of work. “Minor” amount of work, in this case, means an hour per month – or less. Ken’s systems require adjustments to positions as often as once a month or as infrequently as once a year.
For each system he presents, Ken provides the logic, academic research on the strategy, the long-term results, and his personal experience trading the system
Core Trading Systems:
Systems and Market Conditions
In this video, you will see a clip from the course.
Ken discusses the importance of matching your
system to the current market conditions.
How Good Are These Systems?
They are excellent for retirement accounts and other money you don’t want to risk and manage on a weekly or daily basis actively. Most of the traders in Van Tharp’s Super Trader Program use some variation of one of Ken’s intermediate/long-term trading systems. Additionally, Ken has had professional money managers backtest the systems, and now a number of them manage significant amounts of client money with them. Ken himself has personally traded each of these systems with his own money over various periods of time, and he uses his most recently developed longer-term system for his retirement money. These truly are core systems for a number of successful traders’ portfolios.
Is This Course Right for You?
Investors and traders have at least two qualities in common—they value their time, and they want returns. In the new streaming version of his Core Trading Systems course, Dr. Ken Long presents six trading systems that require little time to execute and earn returns that provide consistent returns that beat the market consistently.
One of the primary objectives of longer-term systems is that they require less management than shorter-term systems. Ken’s Core Systems can be operated largely outside of market hours in less than an hour per month. One system requires adjusting its positions only annually—that’s less than an hour a year!
Further, these systems do more than beat the market. Actually, lots of managers can make that claim – if they are down 25% and the market is down 30%, they still “beat the market.” With the systems that Ken teaches, however, you can start to understand how to generate what’s known as absolute returns. How? Ken shows it’s really not all that complicated through several exercises and lots of research – his research and that from a number of academics, analysts, and money managers.
How many ideas, worth thousands of dollars each, would it take for this course to make sense for you? Apply a Tharp Think principle and consider a reward to risk ratio of 3:1. You can quickly recognize that this course presents a high R multiple potential with all the knowledge, systems, and tools it delivers to you. And because it’s now online, your ratio goes even higher with the significantly lower cost in terms of your money, time, and travel.
Whether you consider yourself an experienced trader, an intermediate investor, or someone just getting their feet wet in the markets, you’ll find that Ken teaches simple, logical, effective, and profitable methods you can use immediately. Ken understands the concerns and challenges of being an investor – that’s how he started out. He’s committed to your success with your longer-term money.
What to Expect:
Ken TeachingWe recorded Dr. Ken Long teaching a live presentation of the two-day workshop at the Van Tharp Institute.
The eLearning course has 15 video lectures, each about 30 minutes long and the total amount of video is about 7 hours.
Ken begins the course by talking about one of his passions — adult learning. Why would he start with that instead of trading? First of all, he’s a professional educator, and the area is a personal passion for him. In addition, he believes even a basic understanding of the subject can help you to absorb the lessons of the course more effectively. Based on some well-documented research by one of the top adult learning theorists in the world, Ken provides a method to help you integrate what you learn in the course. He goes into just enough of the theory to help you understand why a process of writing down certain observations and then thinking about them can help you learn more effectively.
Next, he provides a little background on how he looks at the markets and how that view of the market has to mesh with who you are as a person and how your systems work. Also, being able to think about the market in multiple timeframes helps his overall trading and helps him have a better understanding of what the market is doing. Further, he defines what the market is doing in a certain way that allows him to classify the market type, much like Dr. Tharp suggests. Ken’s market type classification, however, is unique from Dr. Tharp’s and can provide students an interesting contrast.
After providing that backdrop for the market, Ken then talks about how systems that require adjustments to its positions just once a year can outperform the market over time. To prove his point about the effectiveness of once a year position adjustments, he challenges the students in the workshop to divide a pool of equity into several asset classes and see how their allocation compares with the market performance overall. You can participate in the exercise and compare your allocation to the various team’s allocations to see what kind of results yours would have generated. You may be surprised, as the teams were, by the results. You will listen as Ken asks the teams to comment on the thinking behind their allocations and several team leaders provide their logic.
Through this course, you’ll learn about Harry Browne’s so-called “Permanent Portfolio” as Ken analyzes the concepts behind that simple idea and its long-term performance. Mr. Browne’s approach probably one adjustment per year and occasionally two but Ken goes on to present several options for improving the performance statistics for those interested in managing their equity a little more actively – with the anticipation of better returns.
Interestingly, some of the strategies for improving the Permanent Portfolio performance also show up in some academic research as well as in a number of books by some well-known money managers. You’ll learn the similarities and differences between about a half dozen approaches and how they have performed over time. Some of these methods require management at the annual interval as well while others adjust positions on a quarterly basis and the rest on a monthly basis. What’s your preference and capacity for managing your funds? You can pick any of the methods he presents and outperforms the market on a regular basis.
You’ll get to learn about Ken’s personal research on a system that integrates some of the best methods from the ones presented in the academic papers and used by a number of well-known money managers. However, Ken’s system has some unique advantages. Rather than screening thousands of stocks, he watches about 15-25 index-oriented ETFs which can be managed like stocks. Because of the breadth of ETF products, he is able to effectively take positions in global offerings rather than being confined to the US. Also, the ETFs price behavior allows him to participate in moves when they are rising but allows him to stay in cash when they are falling or even just facing conditions less favorable to rising. He looks back over two timeframes and blends those two for a ranking. Fast recent risers may fizz out, but those with some movement over the longer timeframe help confirm they are in a longer-term trend. The ranking method is quite easy to calculate and only needs to be done once a month or once a quarter. With a pencil, paper, and a calculator, it would take less than an hour for someone to look up prices and rank each of them.
Ken spends the last major portion of the course on this system as it has the best performance for a longer-term system that he’s been able to find. While the system itself is simple, he makes sure everyone has a grounding in the thinking behind it and how he has adapted various ideas to craft the rules. He has traded the system and manages his own money with it, so he’s able to provide a personal perspective on running it. He also covers some of the testings that some other traders have done to verify its performance.
In addition, there are two group exercises – Ken is a big believer in hands-on learning. At the live workshop, Ken broke the attendees into a number of groups for two separate exercises where they tried to maximize their returns creating strategies based on the systems taught. You can participate in one of these exercises on your own and compare your results with the teams in the workshop. These exercises have been eye-opening for past attendees when they find out with fairly simple strategies that every group has been able to beat – by far usually, market average returns.
What You’ll Get in This Online Course
Nearly 7 hours of video recorded live at a Van Tharp Institute workshop organized into fifteen lectures, most are about 30 minutes long.
Downloadable documents with Ken’s system rules for each of the six trading systems he teaches. These include all the major parts of the trading systems that Dr. Tharp describes as well as background information and possible variations on the rules.
Ken’s supporting research documents, market type classification, and other supporting material.
A printable document that allows you to follow the lectures looking at the same slides Ken uses without having to open or reference multiple documents during the lectures.
The ability to watch and re-watch the lectures an unlimited number of times during your two-year subscription.
Bonus Video Excerpt:
As an added bonus to Core Trading Systems, we have added a lecture by Van Tharp that was extracted from the Tharp Think Essentials eLearning course at no additional charge.
In this bonus lecture, Van discusses the importance of position sizing strategies and explains how different objectives will lead you to use different position sizing strategies. Learn about some optional position sizing strategies for long-term systems that help meet different objectives. This segment includes several objectives/position sizing strategy examples to help you clearly understand the concepts.
The Tharp Think Essentials Video Workshop is Van Tharp’s newest video workshop on Tharp Think concepts. The full workshop is available for sale for $1,295. The full workshop is also included at no extra charge with another home study workshop, Swing Trading Systems.
A Note from Van About Ken Long:
When Ken Long (before he obtained his Ph.D.) first attended my Systems Development workshop in the mid-1990s and submitted his objectives to me, I thought to myself, “Someone from the Army is going to apply this material?” Little did I know that Ken would not only apply it but master it and become one of the best traders I have known.
Ken is one of the few people I’ve met who has a graduate degree in systems design. His doctorate research was about managing in environments with a lot of uncertainty. Because of his training, Ken spots ideas that most people would never think of. For example, when Ken attended our systems workshop and learned about the complex training game we were playing, he developed a strategizing procedure that I now use to teach everyone that attends that workshop.
He’s that good!
Ken is one of our best instructors in part because he treats his trading and teaching as he treats his martial arts, his soccer coaching and life in general: he pursues excellence to the point of mastery. Ken is a thinker, philosopher, a tinkerer and a leader. He applies what he learns faster and gets more done every day than anyone else I know.
He started with mutual funds in the 1990s but has grown over the last twenty years into an outstanding big-picture thinker and long-term, tactical trader. He has also evolved his strategies over the years and teaches his latest advancements in this course. What Ken does today is not that hard. He says that if he learned how to do it, anyone can!
Our Risk-Reversal Guarantee:
Because this is a video course, our guarantee is a bit different than some of our other products. You have 24 hours to review the product. This is not enough time to finish the course, but it does allow you to log in and start the course. Generally, if the course is not right for you, you can tell fairly soon. Contact us within 24 hours, and we’ll discontinue your subscription and issue you a refund. After this review period, we can no longer provide a refund.
Q & A:
Should I take the eLearning Course or Attend the Workshop?
While there are a number of benefits of attending a workshop, Ken has no plans to teach the Core Trading Systems in a live workshop format for at least the next year or two or probably longer. Based on the quality of the material and the lower overall monetary and time investment compared with a live workshop in North Carolina, the feedback we have received so far about the eLearning course has been unanimously positive. We believe you’ll find the experience enjoyable, informative, and rewarding.
Do these systems work for investors outside the US markets?
As presented, Ken’s systems rely heavily on ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) traded on US exchanges. Never the less, the concepts underlying why the systems work do not require ETF instruments specifically. ETFs simply make it easy for US-based investors to execute the systems. The system concepts or the edges they enjoy apply in any geographic markets to any broad-based index, large-cap equity, and multiple asset classes – and probably beyond to other instruments.
Someone outside the US has two options available for implementing the systems that Ken teaches. Option one is to open an account at a brokerage that allows buying or selling ETFs traded on US exchanges. Option two is to take the system rules and adapt them to your markets with ETFs (if available) or other trading instruments.
I have never actively managed my investments before. Will this course tell me how?
No. This course assumes students either have done or understand how to accomplish a number of tasks related to active investing – though you don’t need to be highly experienced in investing or trading to use the systems. We would probably label this course as an advanced introductory level course – even while experienced traders and money managers will benefit as well from Ken’s innovative thinking. To be able to gain from the course, someone would need to: know how to buy and sell equities or ETFs, how to find daily prices for ETFs or other instruments, understand what a moving average is and how to calculate it or look it up, and understand a number of investment and trading terms. Of course, mathematical abilities tend to be very supportive for good trading as well.