Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Ari Kiev and the Trader Trainers

I'm sad to record that Ari Kiev died this week - you can find an obituary in The New York Times. Ari Kiev was a psychiatrist with interests in several areas including depression and suicide. He applied his knowledge and techniques to new fields including working with top tier athletes and traders in markets. And in working with traders he expanded the armoury of techniques of trader trainers.

I first came across trader trainers about ten years ago. To be clear, I'm not writing about Richard Dennis' turtles experiment, though that itself is an interesting topic. Trader trainers such as Van Tharp and Scott Kaminski (and Ari Kiev) work with investors, typically short-term leveraged players in markets, looking to improve their outcomes. These trainers teach time-tested methods and approaches that have worked for the very best traders in markets. I have a book case full of investment and trading books – biographies, historical accounts, academic papers and classic writing on investments. I rate the "market wizard" type books particularly highly for giving helpful insight. Those who truly invest, that is operate with a long holding period and rely on fundamentals rather than technicals, have a wide variety of approaches and methods. Those who trade for a living (short term, and price and technically focussed) and are successful at it do not vary to anything like the same degree. Kiev's practice with traders concentrated on the classic elements, adding his own technique.

There are a number of core activities, skills, disciplines and attitudes for successful traders. These are what Ari Kiev spent much of his time putting across to his trader clients. He was first brought into working with traders by Steve Cohen of SAC, who recognised parallels in trading with top-performing athletes, and had heard of Kiev's work with the sporting elite. Kiev was retained by SAC and worked part of his week in Connecticut in one-on-one sessions with SAC's traders. In the course of time Kiev codified his thoughts and put them into print. So you can read what and how he trained traders in his classic "Trading to Win" (1998), and other titles. I would also recommend Ari Kiev's podcasts.

Of all the trader trainers I know about, it was Ari Kiev's approach and methods I have referred to most over the last year in the course of my consulting work with hedge fund managers. Consultants on the investment and risk management processes such as myself have to tailor their work to the specific portfolio manager or team that is the client at the time. When it comes to the trading part of managing a hedge fund, Ari Kiev's techniques and tools will be part of that body of work on which we draw for years to come. A good legacy in work terms.


The photograph above is from The New York Times website (see first hyperlink above).


  1. Scott Kaminski is a scam artist.

  2. How do you figure that he is a scam artist? I'd like to hear some examples.