Minute with the Trader: Meet Michael Matousek
Meet Michael Matousek – head trader at U.S. Global Investors. With almost 20 years' worth of industry experience, Matousek is responsible for monitoring our investment portfolios and conducting day-to-day trading. In addition to advising the investment team on market behavior, he spends his day buying and selling based on technical metrics.
Meet Mike Matousek—head trader at U.S. Global Investors. With over 20 years’ worth of industry experience, Mr. Matousek is responsible for managing the trading desk and conducting rebalances for our ETFs and growth and large-cap mutual funds. In addition to advising the investment team about market behavior, he spends much of his day executing trades based on technical and quantitative metrics.
Mike joined U.S. Global Investors in January 2008 and was promoted to head trader not long after. Before joining our team, he was a proprietary trader and then director of institutional sales and trading for a broker-dealer, advising the firm’s hedge fund clients on technical trading strategy and implementation.
In this brief Q&A, Mike recounts how he found his way to U.S. Global Investors and shares his take on what it means to be a trader.
Tell us about your journey to become a trader. What drew you to the investment business?
When I was younger, I remember seeing news of the 1987 crash. Later, in my sophomore economics class, we studied the junk bond fiasco in the early ‘80s. I believe those events, along with the excitement of building wealth for clients and myself in the capital markets, drove my interest early on in stocks and trading. As I gained experience, I started to learn I really enjoyed trading—specifically proprietary trading, or the art of pulling money out of the capital markets.
I traded for myself and started teaching others some of my strategies before becoming a full-time proprietary trader. My trading style in those days could be described as scalping, or trading for “quarters” on an intraday basis.
Then in 2001, when U.S exchanges started quoting the bid/ask prices in decimals, my trading profitability started to decline. I figured I needed to reinvent my trading style, so I enrolled in the Chartered Market Technician (CMT) program to learn more about technical and quantitative trading. This was a real eye-opener. It showed me you always have to be seeking new and different ways to pull money out of the markets.
Once I passed the CMT program, I was one of only 500 CMTs in the world. Now I think there are about 3,000.
Eventually, I thought I was getting “burned out,” so I stepped away from trading and became a consultant for a sell side broker-dealer. I focused on trading strategy development and implementation for their hedge fund clients. It was a really fun position. I had the chance to meet with multibillion-dollar investment advisors and talk markets and trading strategies.
But eventually I began to miss trading, so when the company was purchased by another entity, it seemed like the right time to exit this part of my career path.
I started trading for myself again and was living in San Antonio when I came across the opportunity at U.S. Global Investors. They were looking for a derivatives/ETF trader for their hedge funds and mutual funds. Because San Antonio doesn’t have a huge financial district, and given my trading experience, I was a top candidate. I remember the director of human resources telling me it was hard to find someone with my experiences in “sleepy San Antonio.” Initially, I wasn’t sure if I was going to accept the offer, but one of my friends said, “You’ve got a chance to work with Frank Holmes! You’ve got to do that!” I figured it was a great opportunity, so I accepted.
ETFs have become increasingly popular in the last few years. What is your take on the shift from mutual funds to ETFs?
It’s funny—I was a proponent of ETFs even before I joined U.S. Global Investors. In fact, I started trading them back in 1998 and would write about them in a newsletter I was publishing as a hobby. I remember when I first started at U.S. Global, we were a “mutual fund shop.” At the time, there was a huge rivalry between mutual fund firms and ETF providers, with both sides claiming they had the superior product. Today, I manage our lineup of ETFs.
What should traders keep in mind for the remainder of 2018?
Everyone has a different view of what a trader is. My opinion is that traders are more short-term in nature. We generally don’t buy and hold something for a long period of time. But the trade can become “longer term” if the position continues to turn a profit. Admittedly, my background in proprietary trading and day-trading might skew my thoughts about this a bit.
Knowing that, I don’t believe in predictions. I don’t want to have an opinion, but I also want to follow the market direction with the least amount of resistance.
So I believe for the remainder of 2018, traders need to trust the trend when it is heading in a particular direction. Stay invested, but always manage the risk. Risk is the only thing we can fully control.
There’s a saying in the industry: “Do you want to be right in your opinion—or make money?” Unfortunately, when people have opinions, pride steps in and bad decisions are sometimes made. I would rather make our investors’ money.
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All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor.
Alpha is a measure of performance on a risk-adjusted basis. Alpha takes the volatility (price risk) of a mutual fund and compares its risk-adjusted performance to a benchmark index. The excess return of the fund relative to the return of the benchmark index is a fund’s alpha.