Clive Lambert of Futurestechs highlights the importance of humanising automated technical analysis

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Fresh from winning best independent research house for fixed income (and equities and multi-asset finalist) in this year’s The Technical Analyst Awards.

We catch up with Clive Lambert of Futurestechs on providing technical analysis for traders and brokers

First off – what does Futurestechs do and who do you do it for?

We write daily analysis on 25+ markets spanning 4 different asset classes: We cover Bond Futures, Equity Index Futures, Commodities (mainly Oil, Gas and Energy markets) and Forex.

Our clients are mainly professional traders, brokers, fund managers and the like.

How would you say that Futurestechs differs from mainstream technical analysis providers like Autochartist and Trading Central?

An easy answer to that would be that our analysis is written by humans! Machines can do a lot but TA is one of those things that can be subjective and experience can win the day on that basis!

There are lots of “boutique” operations like us out there though. As our clients are mostly “Pros”, some who are using only TA, some who are using it as an “add-on” to their fundamental approach, we try to strike a balance between getting too “techy” with the language and being too simplistic…

What markets and time frames would you say technical analysis is most applicable to?

I started my career as an analyst looking at Fixed Income markets and I’ve always used Candlesticks, Market Profile and two or three other methods to analyse markets.

So far I’ve managed to successfully use the same set of tools across asset classes and markets, which to me is a testament to the robustness of the methodologies…

As far as timeframes are concerned a few years back I would have said “mainly short-term” but I see evidence that longer-term players are increasingly keen users in recent years.

In the 20 or so years that you have been running Futurestechs, what would you say have been your best and worst calls?

I used to go on CNBC a fair bit and one time I said that we MUST be getting near a low in Equity markets. 3 days later was the 666 low (March 2009) in the S&P 500.

It was a contrarian call which I don’t often like to make, but it seemed like there weren’t any bulls left anywhere…

It’s been a fair old rally since then! More recently we have been following many markets in the Energy complex higher, sticking to a trend following “mantra”, and that’s served us and our clients well.

I’ve made plenty of bad calls, trust me, but the thing about Technical Analysis is you can always cite a level where you’re wrong and a rethink is required.

From all the clients and customers you’ve had – what would you say is the greatest misunderstanding they have when it comes to technical analysis?

That’s a tough question… I’d say it’s that people think my job is predicting the future.

It’s not. It’s looking at the chart to try and work out the most probable future direction: Where’s the momentum and is it sustaining said momentum? … I’m no Mystic Meg, but a trend is a trend!

What’s the ultimate goal for Futurestechs?

Early retirement for yours truly!! (As well as that) I’ve always strived to write analysis that helps traders on a day to day basis as well as educating them on the methodologies.

With my STA (Society of Technical Analysts) hat on I think it’s important that people are properly educated on TA.

There are a lot of amateur chartists out there that can give the industry a bad name. If people took time to educate themselves they may find it will save them money when it comes to trading the markets!

And finally, what would be your top three sources of analysis and education for traders? Other than Futurestechs of course...

  1. To follow on from the above I’d say the first stop, Technical Analysis-wise, is the STA. The courses are all delivered by/written by industry pros who know their stuff.
  2. If you wanted a “one-stop shop” book on TA I’d recommend “Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets” by John J Murphy – The Bible! Other books I’d recommend are here…
  3. One more… Hmmm… I’d say Twitter. There are some excellent traders/analysts on Twitter… but also a lot of dross… as is the case with Twitter in general!! So chose carefully!

You can see Futurestechs other awards here…

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Richard started the Good Broker Guide in 2015 and has been a broker for 20 years most recently at Investors Intelligence and previously a multi-asset derivatives broker at MF Global (Man Financial). Richard started his career working as a private client stockbroker at Walker Crips and Phillip Securities (now King and Shaxson) after interning on the NYMEX oil trading floor in New York and London IPE in 2001 & 2000.