Letter from the CEO: 2014 in review

As we wind down for Christmas I thought it would be nice once again to do an open letter to all of you, reviewing our year here at Littlefish as well as the trading year, and looking forward to next year.

So let’s start with the markets.

A year of chop for the big guys

Overall, for many of the big players we here in the bowl are looking up to, it’s been a rough year and frankly that shouldn’t be a surprise to many of them.

Sam1The reality was that with US looking to end QE, we were going to get some sort of deviation from risk on / off themes and more focus on where economies are strong vs weak. This means a move away from direct safe haven correlations to an examination of which economies are doing better than others.

There was no big surprise that the US has wound up the major star of the year, in most circumstances the US, the world’s largest economy, was likely to come out a winner (China just isn’t there yet, but it won’t be long now).

The challenge for many of the big players in 2014 though was that we spent the first half of the year with no real trends, and that is a really big problem when they make up the majority of your quant systems.

For smaller players, the challenge focused on the deviation from the risk on / off theme that so many had curve-fitted systems to.

So how did we do? Well, I would class it as very solid double-digit growth, but it was a choppy ride and we suffered at the hands of some rather choppy markets like most.

That said, this helped us significantly improve our offering and our hedges, and the improvements to our risk and return models this year has been incredible.

So from that point of view, the chop has been superb for us and our future.

Looking to trends in 2015

2015 from a trading standpoint feels like more of the second half of 2014. I expect focus to continue on Europe and its struggle to pull itself out of the doldrums, especially when Germany has very different requirements to sustain growth than Spain.

I think we can expect to see a rather choppy EURUSD in 2015, but as always you will still get some big trends as we have seen in 2014.

I expect the US economy to continue to strengthen, I suspect the UK will suffer from election blues (that will be an utter mess with the economy and spending cuts a large focus, none of them seem believable at the moment) and some harsh realities, but towards the end of the year it will remain on track for growth targets.

Will we get a rate rise in 2015? My head says yes, my gut says no. But if we do, it will be tiny.

Another leap forward for LFX

For us here in the bowl though, 2015 is looking extremely exciting. 2014 has been a bit of a year of transition and finding our feet in some ways, and we look incredibly strong in 2015.

On the trading side we have made vast improvements through 2014. Some long days, longer nights and very few days off from probably the hardest working technology and quant team in the industry means we are now developing at a level we thought it would take us 10 years to get to, and we have barely scratched 10% off of our planned activities for the current iteration of systems before we even consider new strategies.

For the editorial team, 2014 has been incredible and hopefully you have all enjoyed the improvements they have made. The site and content have continually expanded and improved, and we now have our Forex Trading Course, which although still in early its stages is already getting some incredible feedback.

2015 will see us progress our material far further than we did in 2014, with a lot of improvements planned. It’s all a bit secret at the moment but expect to see a shiny new look to the website as well. We also have a lot of cool widgets and features planned. There is even talk of opening up our trading floor for people to come and visit and learn about some of the stuff we do. Keep your eyes peeled…

There are also some very exciting ideas in the making in our Spend section, we have been working with a lot of new and existing partners and we ought to have some really exciting events and offers coming up in line with Trader Lifestyle.

Coming out on top

I think overall, 2014 has a bit of a rollercoaster in general but often those times of volatility and chop are needed to set a defined trend and I think that’s what we had this year. As ever if you come through these having learnt and grown then you will come out stronger. This goes for economies, markets, your own trading, and me personally.

I look forward to an interesting 2015 and wish you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year.


Got a question for Sam about this year or next? You can catch him in our Live Trades forum, or tweet him at @LFXSam.