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Bell Curve and Outliers

Why have the successful trend followers grown from one man shops to large firms that beat Wall Street powerhouses routinely? Why did Wall Street allow originally no name traders, true outsiders, entry into the marketplace to dominate arenas they could have easily controlled? The answer lies in Wall Street’s fascination with averages.

Large established firms describe their success with measures of central tendency. These large firms have evolved to the point where an average measure (mean) and the variation from that average are the core focus of their operations. They are beholden to the masses (the very people that make up the middle and invest with their firms) and thinking in terms of outliers (trend following traders) is not plausible.

What do we mean exactly? The majority are comfortable with averages in return. They want consistency, not necessarily great returns. Consistency will hover in the middle of the bell curve. Of course, this allows great opportunity to exist in the outliers (or the edge of the bell curve). The will to stick with trend following strategies (and stay at the edges of the bell curve) is the core of success.

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