I started trading treasury futures spreads in 2001 (yield curve) on the screen. Had a very good run trading spreads and it essentially ended in 2009. I am a Chicago guy and I knew over 100 guys trading these spreads. A handful were 7 figure traders. Today I know of just around 5 guys trading these spreads and it is hard. The other 95% are essentially out of the business or in my case trading the indices (outright).
I can only speak for interest rate spreads, but it is very difficult to make money. Some very talented 7 figure traders can't do it anymore....and they hired quants etc to reinvent themselves. I attribute the difficulty in spread trading to HFTs and QE. Maybe energy spreads are different
My guess is if u pay$7500 for the class u will not be profitable. Save your money.
One final thought. I think a big part of the decision of whether you think its valuable or not, will also depend on your trading style. Most of the prop guys that I know would have a hard time trading the way P does. Because they want methods that give them a lot of looks, low risk per trade, but a lot of trades.
Sure, you can easily make 7.5K on a spread trade, you could make 75K, or 750K depending on your size. But, most arcade guys are relatively thinly capitalized, do high volume, want huge intraday margin financing. So, they don't like the idea that to make 7.5K, you need to risk a similar amount. Rather they want 10 trades that get you 750 each.
But as previous posters have alluded to, this style of trading is becoming more competitive due to quant and HFT shops. Reducing the holding period and having more looks at trades is what gets you a high information ratio/Sharpe which is what all the quant funds are chasing.
At the end of the day, it's whether you get along with your coach too. Sharapova fired Connors after one game because of bad chemistry...
Energy and grains and softs and even some stock index futures have been exceptionally good spread trades the past few years. Personally, I'm not sure how someone concentrating just on interest rate spreads could be consistent unless he had a very specialized niche or access to something like the swaps market. Even cash treasuries ( Brokertec, Cantor-Fitz ) are incredibly tight and competitive markets that are arbed to the Nth degree.
Interest rate spreads used to be my primary and only trading vehicle, but for me personally diversifying my spread trading into a much broader range of products has saved my ass. That's my own experience FWIW.
@PropArb....your right diversification is important and a good thing....because markets change and nothing lasts forever. I had all my eggs in one basket and when treasury spread went away...it would have been nice to have another spread trade to fall back on.
However, I was burnt out on spread trading. I primarily traded during Asian and European hours and i could not do that schedule anymore (physically or mentally). Also, my strategy was 100% mean reversion and I imagine a strict mean reversion strategy does not work in the equity and energy spreads.
I enjoy trading the indices now and am very glad not to be trading spreads anymore. However, I made much, much more money trading spreads than I have trading the indices. In my experience, the big money that i have seen made over the years has been in trading spreads.
Yes, I used to also trade mean reversion for stupid size in the interest rate spreads with a very prominent Chicago prop firm on an intraday basis. As you said, that went away - at least for us "point and click" types. I would even get hung using RTS and AutoSpreader, and I used to throw away one lots like BB's to get my message-to-fill ratios in line.
SpreadProfessor was a gift for me in that regard. He got me into many more products and markets than I ever knew about, and within a few months I had thousands of spread combinations and a very good indicator package to work with. I quit modeling for mean reversion and "fair value". I started trading with the commercial order flows and not against them. For me, it was the best money I spent. I knew absolutely nothing about products like Sugar or Natural Gas or the FTSE - but I gained the confidence to trade them. Yes, you can model spreads strictly off of historical price action, and with a good indicator package and a really huge portfolio of potential spread combinations I would never have had a clue to develop on my own - at least for me, it saved my ass. YMMV
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