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Richard Donchian Proteges: Top Traders

Brent Elam of Elam Management Corp. had this to say say about Donchian’s students:

“I remember in 1979 or 1980 at one of the early MAR conferences being impressed by the fact that I counted 19 CTAs who were managing public funds, and I could directly identify 16 of the 19 with Dick Donchian. They had either worked for him or had had monies invested with him. To me, that¹s the best evidence of his impact in the early days. Dick has always been very proud of the fact that his people have prospered. He also was proud that after so many years in which his was the lone voice in the wilderness, his thinking eventually came to be the dominant thinking of the industry.”

Richard Donchian is known as the father of trend following. His original trend following ideas form the basis for all trend following success that has followed, including Richard Dennis. Donchian’s original methods involved the use of a moving average for the entry/exit indicator portion of his system. Of course, he knew that money management was still the majority of any Trend Followers’ success in the market. Richard Dennis, however, did not use a moving average for entry/exit and concentrated even more heavily on money management than Donchian.

Donchian and his Students

Richard Donchian, though now deceased, left many students that still trade or run money management firms. A sampling of his students include:

  • Nelson Chang worked for Donchian: Started Chang-Crowell Corp.
  • Robert Crowell worked for Donchian: Started Chang-Crowell Corp.
  • Barbara Dixon worked for Donchian: Started Spackenkill Trading
  • Bruce Terry worked for Chang-Crowell Corp.

What’s the point? Trading as a trend follower is a learned behavior. Not everyone is going to trade this way. Most people want no more complexity in their life than to buy and hold. Most people don’t want to think or learn about new methods. It takes discipline. But, if the students of Richard Dennis or the students of Richard Donchian don’t provide inspiration as to how important learning the right method is toward achieving success…well buy a mutual fund and shoot for 12% a year.

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