Competition analysis

Matt Weller, our Global Head of Market Research, is keeping a close eye on the individual trading activity of our 10 players and will be charting their highs and lows every week of the contest.

SARACENS “TRADING PLACES” COMPETITION UPDATE: FINAL SUMMARY

Congratulations to Saracens scrum-half Aled Davies, who withstood a late surge up the leaderboard from Jackson Wray to narrowly emerge triumphant and win £20,000 for charity!

In these weekly updates, our head of research Matt Weller checks in on how the competitors are faring, highlights the best trades of the week, and identifies learning opportunities for readers to incorporate into their own trading process.

Saracens “Trading Places” competition final standings

The competition has concluded, and as the leaderboard below shows, it was a near “photo finish” with Aled Davies holding off a late surge from Jackson Wray.


Source: StoneX

Impressively, four of the 10 traders (including three with no previous trading experience!) were able to increase their demo account values by more than 10% over the course of the competition. Congratulations to all on a hard-fought competition!

Week #6 Trader of the Week: Jackson Wray

Much like our competitors battle for Man/Woman of the Match, we’ve been picking a regular “Trader of the Week”. This week’s winner is Jackson Wray, Captain and back-row forward for the Men’s team, who rocketed up five spots in the final week and came this close to taking the crown from teammate Aled Davies.

In his pre-competition video, Jackson identified a couple of key mental factors that make traders successful, including the importance of patience, regulating emotions, and managing risk:

Jackson’s strong handle on the mental aspect of trading was on full display this week, with a late flurry of trades boosting him up the standings in short order. His top trade was a buy position in Trade Desk Inc (TTD) from deeply oversold territory. After almost perfectly catching the bottom in the stock, Jackson held on to the position for nearly an entire month before booking a nearly £1,200 profit when the stock lost its bullish momentum earlier this week:


Source: StoneX, TradingView

Congratulations to champion Aled Davies!

Despite Wray’s late charge, Aled Davies was narrowly able to hold onto his lead, taking home substantial bragging rights and £20,000 for a charity of his choosing. The competition turned in his favor on the back of near £4,000 profit in Manchester United that we highlighted in our update from week #4, and he was able to coast to the finish line with only a couple small trades to pad his lead this week.

Congratulations again to Aled Davies and all the participants on a hard-fought competition!

Final competition lesson: Find a strategy that works for you

Each of our 10 traders utilized dramatically different strategies over the course of the competition, with some jumping in and out of trades multiple times per day and others holding positions for weeks before finally closing them. This difference is most stark at the top of the leaderboard, where champion Aled Davies placed a grand total of 14 trades over the course of the 6-week competition (about one trade every three days) while runner-up Jackson Wray placed an astonishing 166 trades (an average of four trades every single day the competition was live).

If readers draw any lasting lessons from this competition, let it be a reminder that every trader must find a strategy that works for their specific circumstances, strengths, and weaknesses. Whether you find that you’re not comfortable unless your checking in on your open positions every hour or you only have an hour total to dedicate to trading, you can develop a strategy that maximizes your probability of success!

Thanks again for following along throughout the competition, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about trading opportunities or strategies in the future!

SARACENS “TRADING PLACES” COMPETITION UPDATE: WEEK #5

We saw less turnover than usual at the top of the table, but Alex Lewington has moved into striking distance on the back of a (so far) successful trade in Renew Holdings. Read on for our analysis of the competition as we head into June!

In these weekly updates, our head of research Matt Weller checks in on how the competitors are faring, highlights the best trades of the week, and identifies learning opportunities for readers to incorporate into their own trading process.

Saracens “Trading Places” competition standings

As of writing on Thursday afternoon the leaderboard looks like this:


Source: City Index

Five weeks into the competition, Aled Davies is still in pole position, with three of the women traders nipping at his heels. Meanwhile, some of the more experienced traders (Richard Barrington, Mike Rhodes, and Jackson Wray) are bringing up the rear so far.

Week #5 Trader of the Week: Alex Lewington

Much like our competitors battle for Man/Woman of the Match, we’ll be awarding a “Trader of the Week” award. This week’s winner is Alex Lewington, Wing for the Men’s team, who jumped up two spots to come within striking distance of first place heading into the final two weeks of the competition.

In his pre-competition video, Alex noted that he doesn’t have any previous trading experience but he’s been “more interested than ever before” over the last six months and has several good friends entering the space at the same time:

Alex’s (and his friends’) newfound interest in markets reflects the broader trend of young, savvy people exploring the opportunities offered by financial trading for the first time over the last year, and the rapid improvement in Alex’s results show how hard work can pay off.

Alex’s standout trade is actually one that he’s kept open since the start of the competition, a long position in Renew Holdings (RNWH), a UK-based engineering services company. Alex initially entered the trade at 589 in late April, and he’s held the position through a 10% gain, a -10% drop, and another 16% gain so far:


Source: StoneX, TradingView

Alex’s patience with his RNWH swing trade provides an example of the various strategies and timeframes that traders utilize, running the gamut from intraday trades last hours to swing/position trades that are held for weeks or months.

Lesson of the week: Know the rules of the game you’re playing

As we head into the final two weeks of the Trading Places competition, it will be interesting to watch if our competitors recognize the unique rules of this game. With £20,000 for charity going to the winner and the other nine contestants receiving nothing (aside from perhaps bragging rights), there will be an incentive for those lower in the table to place more aggressive trades in an attempt, however ill-fated, to reach that #1 spot. Just as launching an attack from your own try line only make sense in the most dire of situations, aggressive “all-or-nothing” trades may become more logical as we reach the home stretch of this competition. In the infamous words of Ricky Bobby, “if you’re not first, you’re last!”

Of course, this is dramatically different from the way most of our traders approach their market activities. We always emphasize the importance of risk management and position sizing in our analysis, essential strategies that allow our readers to avoid blowing up their accounts and “stay in the game” to keep learning from the markets. That said, we recognize that every trader has their own personal risk tolerance and goals; for example, one trader may be aggressively speculating with disposable income trying to hit a proverbial “home run,” whereas another is trying to grow their assets for a long-term goal like a home purchase or retirement. As long as these traders recognize the risks and stakes of the “game” they’re playing, they can develop a personalized strategy that is most likely to allow them to reach their objectives.

Best of luck to all our competitors moving forward, and be sure to follow along at home through the “Trading Places” summary page and our Instagram page in the coming weeks!

SARACENS “TRADING PLACES” COMPETITION UPDATE: WEEK #4

The closure of a monster short trade on Manchester United helped Aled Davies take the lead heading into the latter half of the competition and disrupted the women’s early dominance of the competition.

In these weekly updates, our head of research Matt Weller checks in on how the competitors are faring, highlights the best trades of the week, and identifies learning opportunities for readers to incorporate into their own trading process.

Saracens “Trading Places” competition standings

As of writing on Thursday afternoon the leaderboard looks like this:


Source: City Index

Four weeks into the competition, our mostly neophyte traders are turning in a good performance, with only 30% of the traders losing more than 5% of their demo account values and two standouts generating double-digit returns in less than a month!

Week #4 Trader of the Week: Aled Davies

Much like our competitors battle for Man/Woman of the Match, we’ll be awarding a “Trader of the Week” award. This week’s winner is Aled Davies, scrum half for the Men’s team, who has surged from 8th in the table last week to 1st this week.

In his pre-competition video, Aled bluntly described financial trading as “not a massive interest” of his, though he did highlight his patience as a key advantage he may have over his Saracens teammates:

Aled’s patience was on full display in his multi-week short position on the stock of football club Manchester United (MANU). As the hourly chart below shows, Aled entered a short position on MANU in late April as its momentum showed signs of stalling with an overbought RSI indicator. The stock quickly rolled over and trended lower through early May (despite a decent run of form that saw the club advance to the Europa League final over Roma), and Aled was ultimately able to book a huge £3780 profit when he closed the position in mid-May:


Source: StoneX, TradingView

For more on the key football stocks to watch and the fallout of the Super League proposal, see my colleague Oliver Brett’s report from last month here!

Lesson of the week: Trade what you know

While we didn’t quiz Aled on his Manchester United trade specifically, it’s reasonable to assume that as a professional athlete, he may have unique experience and familiarity with analyzing professional sports clubs. Of course, only an infinitesimally small proportion of the population will ever be a top-level athlete like Aled, but undoubtedly every reader has a couple areas of expertise where they may be able to generate unusual trading insights.

Peter Lynch, the famous and highly-successful former manager of the Fidelity Magellan mutual fund, famously encouraged traders to “invest in what you know”, and based on Aled’s results so far, that piece of trading advice is just a relevant today as it was when Lynch popularized it more than three decades ago.

Best of luck to all our competitors moving forward, and be sure to follow along at home through the “Trading Places” summary page and our Instagram page in the coming weeks!

SARACENS “TRADING PLACES” COMPETITION UPDATE: WEEK #3

Our “Trading Places” competition official kicked off April 26th, featuring ten stars from the Men’s and Women’s Saracens Rugby teams trying their hands at a 7-week trading competition using virtual funds with £20,000 in real money for charity (in addition to some major bragging rights) on the line!

For more on the competition and participants, check out this introductory video:

A well-executed short trade on Blackrock propelled Lotte Clapp back toward the top of the leaderboard, while Deborah Fleming took over the position as the overall leader in the competition. Will the women be able to continue their dominance as we approach the competition’s halfway point?

In these weekly updates, our head of research Matt Weller checks in on how the competitors are faring, highlights the best trades of the week, and identifies learning opportunities for readers to incorporate into their own trading process.

Saracens “Trading Places” competition standings

As of writing on Thursday afternoon the leaderboard looks like this:

Source: City Index

Three weeks into the competition, the traders are seeing their performance gaps grow, and the biggest story is once again the gender split: All four of the women in the competition are in the top half of the table, while three of the men are down -20% as we approach the midway point of the competition.

Week #3 Trader of the Week: Lotte Clapp

Much like our competitors battle for Man/Woman of the Match, we’ll be awarding a “Trader of the Week” award. This week’s winner is Lotte Clapp, winger for the Women’s team, who has surged from 8th in the table last week to 5th this week.

In her pre-competition video, Lotte suggested she might need a “bit of help to begin with” early in the competition and that she would “play it safe” with a “more cautious” strategy:

Lotte has followed her strategy to a “T” through the first three weeks, placing an impressive 55 trades but cutting her losses short and moving on to other opportunities when a trade wasn’t working out. This week’s big winner was a long trade in US-based investment manager Blackrock (BLK). As the chart below shows, Lotte entered a long position at $850.72 and saw no reason to sell as the stock consistently trended upwards for the next several days. Lotte eventually booked a solid £330 profit when she closed the trade out at $868.11:

Source: StoneX, TradingView

Will Lotte and the rest of the ladies be able to maintain their early outperformance? Stay tuned as we cross the competition’s halfway point next week!

Lesson of the week: Let you winners run!

Building on Lotte’s successful trade, today’s lesson of the week is to let your winners run. As the Blackrock example showed, with a trend following strategy, there’s no reason to rush to book a quick profit. With the stock consistently finding support at its rising 50-period exponential moving average, the market gave no reason for Lotte to close her position for days. In fact, Blackrock eventually trended all the way up to $880 before finally topping out, though it would have been hard to predict that at the time. Regardless, Lotte’s big trade shows how traders can be successful by quickly cutting losing trades and letting their winners run for as long as possible. As the trade adage goes, “the trend is your friend until it ends!”

Best of luck to all our competitors moving forward, and be sure to follow along at home through the “Trading Places” summary page and our Instagram page in the coming weeks!

Saracens “Trading Places” competition update: Week #2

Our “Trading Places” competition official kicked off April 26th, featuring ten stars from the Men’s and Women’s Saracens Rugby teams trying their hands at a 7-week trading competition using virtual funds with £20,000 in real money for charity (in addition to some major bragging rights) on the line! 

For more on the competition and participants, check out this introductory video:

In these weekly updates, we’ll check in on how the competitors are faring, highlight the best trades of the week, and highlight learning opportunities for readers to incorporate into their own trading process.
Saracens “Trading Places” competition standings

As of writing on Thursday afternoon the leaderboard looks like this :


Source: City Index

Two weeks into the competition, the traders are starting to separate themselves from one another. In particular, the ladies are putting in good performances, with women occupying three of the top four spots.

Week #2 Trader of the Week: Emma Swords

Much like our competitors battle for Man/Woman of the Match, we’ll be awarding a “Trader of the Week” award. This week’s winner is Emma Swords, scrum half for the Women’s team, who has surged to the top of the table based on strong trading results over the week.

In her pre-competition video, Emma described herself as “an opportunist” and warned that “people shouldn’t second-guess” her ability to pick up a new skill like trading:



Following the strategy outlined in the video, Swords “started cautiously” and “laid out [her] foundations” last week before rocketing to the top of the leaderboard on the back of a buy trade in US Crude Oil (West Texas Intermediate). Emma bought into the consolidation early Thursday morning at $63.19, withstood an initial pullback to the 200-day EMA on the 5-min chart, and eventually was able to book a profit when US crude rose above $64.00 the next day:


Source: StoneX, TradingView

Will Emma be able to keep up her stellar performance throughout the competition? Time will tell, but it’s clear that no one should be second-guessing her at this point!

Lesson of the week: Cut your losses to manage risk

Looking at the leaderboard, the other performance that jumps off the screen is Richard Barrington’s steep loss over the last week. After citing his previous trading experience in the intro video, it may be surprising for some readers to see Barrington bringing up the rear early in the competition.

However, when we dig into the trade history, we see that most of Barrington’s trades have been solid, with one big outlier. As the chart below shows, he bought Amazon on the 30th as prices broke out following a strong earnings report. However, as we noted on Friday, big US tech stocks have been struggling to extend their rallies despite unanimously strong earnings reports and AMZN unfortunately was no exception.

While its frustrating to see a trade move against you (and seemingly contrary to the supportive fundamental data), it’s often best to close a trade out when it starts to move against you. In this case, Barrington held the long position in AMZN through to Tuesday before finally closing the position, resulting in a more than £3,000 loss on that trade alone! We’re certainly not writing Barrington off, but his early results underscore the importance of position sizing and cutting losses to manage risk so that a single adverse trade doesn’t lead to outsized losses!


Source: StoneX, TradingView

Best of luck to all our competitors moving forward, and be sure to follow along at home through the “Trading Places” summary page and our Instagram page in the coming weeks!

Saracens “Trading Places” competition update: Week #1


Our “Trading Places” competition official kicked off April 26th, featuring ten stars from the Men’s and Women’s Saracens Rugby teams trying their hands at a 7-week trading competition with £20,000 for charity (in addition to some major bragging rights) on the line!

For more on the competition and participants, check out this introductory video:

In these weekly updates, we’ll check in on how the competitors are faring, highlight the best trades of the week, and highlight learning opportunities for readers to incorporate into their own trading process. Saracens “Trading Places” competition standings

As of writing on Thursday afternoon the leaderboard looks like this :


Source: City Index

As you can see, several the competitors have stumbled out of the gate, with only three in profit after the first few days of trading. That said, our traders are pacing themselves and practicing good risk management, with every competitor showing realized profits/losses within 2.5% of their starting demo account value of £10,000.

Week #1 Trader of the Week: Sydney Gregson

Much like our competitors battle for Man/Woman of the Match, we’ll be awarding a “Trader of the Week” award, and this week’s award is easy: Sydney Gregson, the Centre for the women’s team, is the only trader to see a meaningful gain on her first couple of trades.

As you’ll see in her pre-competition video below, the person most surprised by Sydney’s strong start may be Sydney herself, who described herself as “completely clueless” when it comes to trading and specifically noted that she would “need some help at the start” of the competition – clearly she’s been doing her homework!



Sydney has put on 7 trades already, but her best trade so far was a long trade in gold. After seeing signs that gold had bottomed near 1764 earlier on Wednesday, Sydney bought into a bullish consolidation at 1774.4. The precious metal initially moved against her, dropping to support at the 50-period exponential moving average on the 5-minute chart, but Sydney held strong and was eventually able to book a profitable trade when gold rallied above 1780 later that evening.


Source: StoneX, TradingView

Hopefully Sydney can keep this early run of good form going throughout the entire 7-week competition!

Lesson of the week: Beware of overtrading!

Rather than call out a specific trade that didn’t work out, this week’s lesson will look at the macro state of the early results. We can’t help but point out that Jackson Wray, one of the Saracens players who indicated he had previous trading experience, is near the bottom of the table and has placed the most trades (10 over the first four days alone) of any player in the competition.

Of course, it’s important to diversify your positions and recognize when to close out a trade that is working against you, but many traders of all experience levels find themselves stretching their resources too thin and taking marginal opportunities just to have some “skin in the game.” Often, these traders would be better served by focusing on only the best ideas while letting the more marginal opportunities pass by.

As with many market truisms, the famed Warren Buffett may have said it best:

“I call investing the greatest business in the world because you never have to swing. You stand at the plate, the pitcher throws you General Motors at 47! U.S. Steel at 39! and nobody calls a strike on you. There’s no penalty except opportunity lost. All day you wait for the pitch you like, then when the fielders are asleep, you step up and hit it.”

Best of luck to all our competitors moving forward, and be sure to follow along at home through the “Trading Places” summary page and our Instagram page in the coming weeks!

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