Algorithm trading systems minimize emotions throughout the trading process. By keeping emotions in check, traders typically have an easier time sticking to the plan. Once the trade rules have been met, traders will not be able to hesitate or question the trade. In addition to helping traders who are afraid to “pull the trigger,” algorithmic trading can curb those who are apt to overtrade, buying and selling at every perceived opportunity.
Backtesting applies trading rules to historical market data to determine the viability of the idea. When designing a system for algorithmic trading, all rules need to be absolute, with no room for interpretation. The computer cannot make guesses and it has to be told exactly what to do. Traders can take these precise sets of rules and test them on historical data before risking money in live trading. Careful backtesting allows traders to evaluate and fine-tune a trading idea, and to determine the system’s expectancy – i.e., the average amount a trader can expect to win (or lose) per unit of risk.
Because trade rules are established and trade execution is performed automatically, discipline is preserved even in volatile markets. Discipline is often lost due to emotional factors such as fear of taking a loss, or the desire to eke out a little more profit from a trade. Algorithmic trading helps ensure discipline is maintained because the trading plan will be followed exactly. In addition, “pilot error” is minimized. For instance, if an order to buy 100 shares will not be incorrectly entered as an order to sell 1,000 shares.
One of the biggest challenges in trading is to plan the trade and trade the plan. Even if a trading plan has the potential to be profitable, traders who ignore the rules are altering any expectancy the system would have had. There is no such thing as a trading plan that wins 100% of the time. After all, losses are a part of the game. But losses can be psychologically traumatizing, so a trader who has two or three losing trades in a row might decide to skip the next trade. If this next trade would have been a winner, the trader has already destroyed any expectancy the system had. Algorithmic trading systems allow traders to achieve consistency by trading the plan.
Due to the spread of coronavirus, stock markets plunged in March 2020, triggering circuit breakers that halted market-wide trading several times. Algo trading has been contributing to the market rebound after the March lows. Thus, algorithmic execution tools in foreign exchange increased significantly since March 2020. As per the latest Survey by JPMorgan, more than 60% of trades for ticket sizes bigger than USD 10 million were executed in March via an algorithm. This was compared to less than 50% a year ago. Hedge funds and real money accounts are leading the end-user industry. Additionally, a report on algorithmic trading by the National Institute of Financial Management, submitted to the Department of Economic Affairs in May 2010, found that algorithms accounted for half the orders on the National Stock Exchange and the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).