Separate from his work at Physik Invest, founder Renato Leonard Capelj is an accredited journalist interviewing prestigious global leaders in business, government, and finance.
In his desire to learn and apply the methods of those others who are far more experienced, Capelj has a long list of interviews you may find helpful in strengthening your understanding of markets.
Capelj spoke with Simplify Asset Management’s Michael Green about cutting investors’ portfolio volatility while amplifying profit potential.
In response to uncertainty, Green says investors can park cash in short-term near-risk-free bonds yielding 5% or more, as well as allocate some capital to volatility “to introduce a degree of convexity,” risking only the premium paid. Alternatively, investors can take a more optimistic long view and position in innovations like artificial intelligence or next-generation energy production.Michael Green of Simplify Asset Management
Capelj spoke with The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial about his market perspectives.
Naive measures like the VVIX, which is the volatility of the VIX or the volatility of the S&P 500’s volatility, are printing at levels last seen in 2017, Sidial explains, noting this would suggest “we can get cheap exposure to convexity while a lot of people are worried.”
“Even if inflation continues, the rate at which it rises won’t be the same. Due to this, CTA exposures likely will not perform as well as they did in 2022, and that’s why you may see more opportunities in the volatility space.”Kris Sidial of The Ambrus Group
Capelj spoke with Damped Spring Advisors’ Andy Constan about what investors should focus on and how he creates trades that lose him less money.
Constan’s trades are constructed around two- to four-month time horizons and are structured long and short using defined-risk options trades like debit or credit spreads, depending on whether volatility is cheap or expensive.
“I want deltas and leverage. My macro indicators give me an edge on price and in the worst case, the loss is limited to 10%, if everything has to go against me all at once. I can be 100% invested and only risk 10%.”Andy Constan of Damped Spring Advisors
Capelj spoke with 42 Macro’s Darius Dale about his Wall Street story and perspectives on life and markets.
“We’re tracking at an above-potential level of output in terms of the growth rate of output. We’re also slowing and the pace of that deceleration is likely to pick up steam in the coming quarters.”
By 2023, that process is likely to “catalyze pressure on asset markets through the lens of corporate earnings and valuations you assign to a lower level of growth.”Darius Dale of 42 Macro
Capelj spoke with ShadowTrader’s Peter Reznicek about his start, perspectives, success tips, and visions for the future.
Reznicek recalled two turning points in his trading career.
The first was learning from expert floor traders involved with the thinkorswim team.
Floor traders, according to Reznicek, had low capital requirements. As a result, they could put on strategies like the 1×2 ratio — a debit spread with an extra short option — for a low cost.
“On the floor, it is either go big or go home,” he chuckled, remarking that ratio spreads were the way of the casino. “You either get rich or they take your house. So, why would you put on any other spread?”
The next big turning point was Jim Dalton, who’s been a member of the Chicago Board of Trade, as well as a member of the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and senior executive vice president of the CBOE during its formative years.
“I’m still in touch with him on a regular basis and I consider him a friend,” Reznicek said in a discussion on Dalton’s works like Mind Over Markets and Markets in Profile, as well as his use of WindoTrader Market Profile software. “I went to Chicago twice to see him teach live … and I came home from those seminars with five, six, 10 pages of notes. The nuances of profile continue to mold me.”Peter Reznicek of ShadowTrader
Capelj spoke with Kai Volatility Advisors’ Cem Karsan about the implications of record valuations and the growth of derivatives markets on policy, the economy, and financial markets.
“It’s not a coincidence that the mid-February to mid-March 2020 downturn literally started the day after February expiration and ended the day of March quarterly expiration. These derivatives are incredibly embedded in how the tail reacts and there’s not enough liquidity, given the leverage, if the Fed were to taper.”Cem Karsan of Kai Volatility Advisors
Capelj spoke with The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial to understand how to capitalize on volatility dislocations.
Unlike standard tail-risk funds which systematically buy equity puts, Ambrus’ approach is bespoke, cutting down on negative dynamics like decay with respect to time.
Given dislocations across single stock skew, term structure, and volatility risk premium, Ambrus will position itself in options with less time to maturity, buying protection up to six weeks out.
“The market will underestimate the distribution,” Sidial said in a conversation on Ambrus’ internal models that spot positional imbalances to determine who is off-sides and in what single asset. “We’re buying things that have happened before and we’re looking for it to carry a heavier beta when the sell-off happens.”
So, by analyzing flow, as well as using internal models to assess the probabilities of deleveraging in a risk-off event, Ambrus is able to venture into individual stocks where there may be excess fragility; “I know if stock XYZ goes down five percent, it’s going to go down 10% because this fund needs to deleverage.”
To aid the cost to carry, Ambrus utilizes defined-risk, short-volatility, absolute return strategies.
“I’m basically giving you a free put on the market – with a ton of convexity – with something that offers a payout that’s just more than a regular put,” Sidial summarized. “If the market doesn’t do anything, and we do an amazing job, we’re flat and you made money on all your long-only equity exposure.”
“You had a free hedge the entire time.”Kris Sidial of The Ambrus Group
Capelj spoke with The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial about the meme stock debacle of 2021.
“You have distressed debt hedge funds that focus on shorting these types of companies. Melvin Capital is the one that is singled out due to the media, but they aren’t the only ones.”
Market participants added to the crash-up dynamics. Retail investors aggressively bought stock and short-term call options, while institutional investors further took advantage of the momentum and dislocations.
“You have this dynamic in the derivatives market where there is a gamma squeeze when people are buying way far out-of-the-money calls, and dealers reflexively have to hedge off their risk,” Sidial said.
“It causes a cascading reaction, moving the stock price up because dealers are short calls and they have to buy stock when the delta moves a specific way.”
The participation in the stock on the institutional side has not received much attention, he said.
“We’ve noticed that some of the flow is more institutional,” he said in reference to activity on the level two and three order books, which are electronic lists of buy and sell orders for a particular security.
“You have certain prop guys and other hedge funds that understand what’s going on, and they’re trying to take advantage of it, as well.”
This institutional activity disrupted traditional correlations and caused shares of distressed debt assets like GameStop, BlackBerry Ltd, and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc to trade in-line with each other.
“This was not some WallStreetBet user, … if you look at how some of these things were moving premarket, you would see GME drop like 2%, BB’s best bid would drop and AMC’s best bid would drop. That’s an algo.”
The takeaway: although the WallStreetBets crowd is getting most of the blame, institutions are also at fault for the volatility.Kris Sidial of The Ambrus Group