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Better Know A Trader: Alexander Paul Morris

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Sponsored by Chicago Board Options Exchange
Meet Alex Morris: founder of Yourika Capital LLC; creator of the tymoraPRO trading platform; big fan of Warren Buffett (but don't hold that against him).
In Bonfire of the Vanities, Sherman McCoy attempts to explain to his four-year-old daughter what he does for a living. How would you explain to a four-year-old what you do?
After people panic and lose interest, I look to buy things with as little risk as possible. Then I wait to sell it back to them when prices jump higher and they all go crazy trying to buy it.
How did you get your first job in finance?
I've always been fascinated by the markets, gaining interest by watching how my grandfather picked stocks, with some investments going back to the days of the Great Depression. Over the years, I've tried every combination of trading products available, and none of them were able analyze the markets to the extent that I felt necessary to enable me to find, analyze, and trade the best opportunities moment-by-moment. I finally gave up the search, and began developing my own trading system, known as tymoraPRO, from the ground up. Since then, tymoraPRO's blossomed into a complete trading platform that remains more powerful than any other available to this day.
Describe your trading strategy.
Scanning for and identifying cycles of fear and greed at key levels of supply or demand, and entering positions as new trends reassert themselves but before the momentum players join the party.
If you were starting out in your career now, where would you want to work?
I would look to join a trading group like the one I created, Yourika Capital LLC, offering truly unique tools and a strategic trading edge that I could learn to use and leverage to give me the best possible chance to successfully and consistently beat the market.
What is your favorite career accomplishment/best trade ever?
Creating my own trading platform to use for trading, and using it to find and analyze high-probability trading opportunities throughout the day.
Who are your heroes or role models, fictional or real?
Jesse Livermore's trading style and acumen, Warren Buffet's long-term value investing approach.
What is the most important quality a trader should have?
Discipline, humility, accepting losses gracefully, and understanding yourself.
What is the worst character fault for a trader?
An addictive personality and needing to always be right.
Tell us about the lowest of low points, the time you thought should just give it all up and take a simpler, easier job?
Probably 9/11 - the day of the World Trade Center attack. Although I wasn't caught in any positions, I was in such shock at the time watching it all happen from my downtown apartment that it took me a while to get back the nerve to start trading again. Events such as that remind you to step back from trading and take a moment (or two) to enjoy life.
What job would you have taken? What's your 'exit strategy'- how long until you retire or move on?
It's hard to say since trading really seems to be “in the blood” and it's not something that you ever have to give up completely. Over time, while I may become less active in trading the markets, I'll always be ready to pounce if I see the right opportunity to do so.
In terms of the “bigger picture” I'm also a partner in a hedge fund called “Eagle's View,” whose purpose is to invest in 'niche oriented' off-radar strategies, such as Electricity Arbitrage, Environmental Credits (Emissions) Trading, and Natural Gas Delivery Basis Arbitrage, unknown or inaccessible to most investors. These strategies have the potential to generate attractive, diversified, low-volatility returns in a "fund of funds" capacity, which is managed by a solid and well- established team. For those interested in investing in hedge funds, this is the ideal situation for most investors to consider.
What is your motto?
I'm generous - I'll give you three mottos!
"I'm convinced that life's 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it."
"Feed the ducks while they're quacking."
“Add to positions as they prove you correct, reduce positions rapidly as soon as the market proves you wrong.”
Whose teachings are more useful in your business-Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, Jesus Christ or Marquis de Sade? (Feel free to nominate another choice.)
Certainly Sun Tzu's Art of War, since it disciplines the mind in preparation for battle. Also Jesse Livermore, who seems to be appreciated more by seasoned traders who reread “Reminiscences of a Stock Operator” because they are able to relate through experience to the many points he makes throughout the book. One of my favorite Livermore quotes is: “Stocks are manipulated to the highest point possible and then sold to the public on the way down.” Also Barton Biggs of Traxis Partners, whose book “Hedgehogging” is a must-read for anyone interested in getting involved with hedge funds.
In fact, for those who want to learn how to trade, I recently released a DVD that guides people to exactly what it takes to successfully trade the stock market. I also host an online financial show at that keeps viewers informed on important trading and money tips and concepts.
(If you missed the last installment, featuring independent trader Tim Sykes, click here. And if you think you’d make a good subject, or want to nominate someone else, please email us at tips (at) dealbreaker (dot) com--subject line: “Better Know A Trader”).