Dec

20

 Keynes was interested in markets, and did pretty well. What about Hayek?:

"Keynes was another Kelly-type bettor. His record running Kings College Cambridges Chest Fund is shown in Figure 2 versus the British market index for 1927 to 1945, data from Chua and Woodward (1983). Notice how much Keynes lost the first few years; obviously his academic brilliance and the recognition that he was facing a rather tough market kept him in this job. In total his geometric mean return beat the index by 10.01 per cent. Keynes was an aggressive investor with a beta of 1.78 versus the bench- mark United Kingdom market return, a Sharpe ratio of 0.385, geometric mean returns of 9.12 per cent per year versus Ð0.89 per cent for the benchmark. Keynes had a yearly standard deviation of 29.28 per cent versus 12.55 per cent for the benchmark. These returns do not include Keynes (or the benchmarks) dividends and interest, which he used to pay the college expenses. These were 3 per cent per year. Kelly cowboys have their great returns and losses and embarrassments. Not covering a grain contract in time led to Keynes taking delivery and filling up the famous chapel. Fortunately it was big enough to fit in the grain and store it safely until it could be sold. Keynes emphasized three principles of successful investments in his 1933 report:

1. A careful selection of a few investments (or a few types of investment) having regard to their cheapness in relation to their probable actual and potential intrinsic value over a period of years ahead and in relation to alternative investments at the time; 2. A steadfast holding of these in fairly large units through thick and thin, perhaps for several years until either they have fulfilled their promise or it is evident that they were purchased on a mistake; and 3. A balanced investment position, i.e., a variety of risks in spite of individual holdings being large, and if possible, opposed risks.

Jeff Watson writes:

I could not find much about Hayek's investment performance and speculate that his work in getting a Nobel Prize and publishing seminal works probably attenuated any desire to actively play in the market. Granted, Keynes was a genius……completely wrong about everything, but a genius nonetheless. I notice no comment from his fans on the left about his legendary Anti-semitism, his frequent use of the N-word when describing American Blacks, and his dismissive attitude towards Russians, and other Eastern Europeans who he thought to be the unwashed masses and very ignorant. Still, in his complete wrongness, he provided a very bright beacon for those of us who wish to pursue the correct course. Keynes is our own perfect fade factor, a Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan of economics.

Larry Williams writes: 

What an article on this that does not mention Ralph Vince. Oh, I get it…much of his comments are lifted from Ralph, so why let people know he exists? Trade kelly and you are doomed to die.

Ralph Vince responds:

Thank YOU Larry. A couple of things on this.

1. Whenever people start talking "half Kelly," or other ad-hoc locations on a dynamic curve (with respect to the number of plays) I realize they don;t know what they are talking about. It doesn't mean they aren't good mathematicians, they just don;t understand their material well enough. Ziemba has been doing that for years.

How can a man look at the curve and not begin to discern the nature of it beyond that???

2. The "Kelly" Criterion answer is NOT what any of these guys thought it was. It is NOT the optimal fraction to invest. It is a leverage factor — a number not bound between 0 and 1 but 0 and + infinity. Thus, if you treat it as a fraction, you will inadvertently be using a fraction that is way beyond optimal in trading.

3. Once you discern what the real optimal fraction is to invest (and you won't get there with the Kelly Criterion) then you can make intelligent decisions on what value to use as a prediction of where the optimal fraction will be in the forthcoming periods.

All of that if you want to be growth optimal. Go ahead, have at it slugger. The REAL benefit to understanding the nature of the curve of the optimal fraction (not to be confused with Kelly's misguided criterion) is that you can use it to satisfy OTHER objectives aside from the incredibly aggressive growth optimal one.

I don't claim to be the mathematician any of these guys are. But I know I understand this material better than all of them combined.

And I have the real-time track record to prove it.
 


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1 Comment so far

  1. Alec Misra on December 23, 2010 10:54 am

    Ralph the problem with your approach is the following: anyone can apply Kelly easily to their betting or trading his equation is simple and unambiguous. But your work on the other hand is very ambiguous and how and what you apply (mathematically speaking) well frankly it seems to be anybodies guess and I have tried to follow it and I am something of a mathematician.
    Kelly’s work is absolutely accurate and correct. The problem you detect with it (and which cannot be rectified even using your methods) is the non-stationary character of the inputs. One set of results (the fodder for the equation) in one given time frame may and usually will be totaly different to an equivalent set of results or inputs from any other different time-frame.
    It is this phenomenon of ever changing cycles which makes leveraged betting of the Kelly or optimal F variety highly unreliable in the long run, even if you truly are Jesse Livermore or Richard Dennis.
    Keynes methods were different however, he was a highly leveraged total returns value investor, like Buffett used to be - no evidence he used Kelly type calculations in position sizing or that he was a trader.

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