Expert Interview Series: Ilan Levy-Mayer of Cannon Trading Company on Futures and Commodities Trading

Ilan Levy-Mayer is the VP of Cannon Trading Company and a registered CTA for LEVEX Capital Management Inc. who, for the past 18 years, has specialized in futures and commodities trading using technical analysis and ALGO trading.

We recently checked in with Ilan to get his insight on futures and commodities trading. Here’s what he shared:

Can you tell us about the mission behind Cannon Trading Company? How are you hoping to impact the world of futures and commodities trading?

Cannon trading has been in the business of servicing client’s futures trading needs for nearly 30 years.

It is the mission of Cannon Trading to provide futures traders and alternative investment enthusiasts with futures related products, platforms and knowledge that fulfill their wants and needs at the right price. Our friendly, knowledgeable and registered professional staff will help inspire, educate and problem-solve for our customers.

Cannon strives to treat its clients as it would like to be treated and provides our clients with the tools, knowledge and technology to trade in the fast-paced futures and commodity markets. We keep our clients posted on changes and information. While embracing technology, our people are still our best asset and we try to answer the phone within one ring and fast replies to emails and such by series three licensed brokers.

What’s your trading philosophy? What sets Cannon Trading apart from your competitors?

Customized trading solutions. One size does not fit all. We feel that many firms out there are focused strictly on volume and commissions. There is much more to trading than these two factors.

What is the climate in future and commodities trading today?

From the trading perspective we see more and more automated trading systems in place. Trading ranges have been tight for a few months now and volatility has been much lower than normal with the exception of Brexit and elections. Breakout systems and trend following systems have done poorly. Mean aversion systems have done well.

I think this will change soon as volatility, like most of trading, respects cycles and the next cycle will be of higher volatility.

Traders must understand the market environment they are trading in and adjust their strategies and techniques accordingly.

What are the most common questions your clients come to you with? How do you advise them?

That question by itself can be a topic for an eBook, but I will try to make it short and sweet and focus on questions by non-professional traders:

  • What indicators do you use?
  • Do you recommend day trading or swing trading?
  • How does margin work?
  • Can I hold positions overnight?
  • Are the markets open 24 hours a day?
  • How do options work?

Than there are software-related questions and more specific trade related questions.

I tell newcomers to figure out what type of trading they think will be most suitable for their personality.

And then I recommend starting with the following steps.

What would you love to see more commodity and futures traders doing?

Keep a trading journal! That helps:

1. Keep track of your progress.

2. Keep notes of market behavior during certain reports that happen every month/week.

3. Vent off some steam or congratulate yourself on good job – closure for trading day.

4. Will help you analyze your strengths and weaknesses and hopefully help you get better.

What types of tools should investors be using to improve their trading?

Spend MUCH more time on trade management and money management and less on indicators and reading the charts.

What doesn’t seem to work as well?

  • “Crystal ball” type of chat rooms, newsletters, etc.
  • Astronomy and trading
  • Lagging indicators
  • Trying to “make 1 tick” as a retail trader.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, then 99.99 percent it is

What are the most common mistakes you see new traders making? How can they be avoided?

  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Being Greedy
  • Not paying attention to higher timeframes
  • Using too many indicators
  • Overtrading
  • Trading without a plan
  • Under capitalized
  • Not using RISK Capital

What about more experienced traders? What should they be doing differently?

  • Team up with other traders, have a network
  • Keep evolving with the markets and technology
  • Give back to the trading community. Help new traders.
  • Be patient and perform proper testing for new strategies before going live.
  • Be aware of the different regulations both by NFA and the exchanges

Cannon Trading Disclaimer: Trading Futures, Options on Futures, and retail off-exchange foreign currency transactions involves substantial risk of loss and is not suitable for all investors. You should carefully consider whether trading is suitable for you in light of your circumstances, knowledge, and financial resources. You may lose all or more of your initial investment. Opinions, market data, and recommendations are subject to change at any time.

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