Tom Basso – Mr. Serenity

Last Updated on June 19, 2022 by Quantified Trading

Thomas F. Basso, Tom Basso for short, is an American hedge fund manager. He was interviewed in New Market Wizards by Jack Schwager. The title of this article is the same as Schwager used in his book.

This article looks very briefly at the trading career of Basso, and we end the article by taking some of the most interesting quotes.

Tom Basso’s life and trading career

Tom bought his first mutual fund at 12 from the money he made from delivering newspapers. From those early days, he has extensively traded different assets, including stocks, bonds, options, commodities/futures, and forex.

Tom graduated from Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York in 1974, where he majored in Chemical Engineering. Before venturing into a trading career, he worked as an engineer for Monsanto Company. Tom’s engineering background with knowledge of math and computers helped him leverage his time and talents in managing portfolios over his 28 year career.

He became a registered investment advisor in 1980 and a registered commodities advisor in 1984. That same year, he founded Trendstat Capital and served as its CEO until his retirement. Retired from active trading in 2003, he is enjoying managing his own portfolios and helping new traders learn their craft. Tom was one of several traders featured in Jack Schwager’s The New Market Wizards and dubbed “Mr. Serenity” by Jack.

He founded and ran Trendstat Capital Management until it was closed in 2003 when assets under management fell to $65M. Tom authored two books: “Panic-Proof Investing” and “the self-published The Frustrated Investor”. He was elected to the board of the National Futures Association in 1998, and he currently runs enjoytheride.world, a website dedicated to trader education. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Standpoint Funds, located in Scottsdale, Arizona, which specializes in All-Weather investing.

Tom believes that investment psychology is by far the more important element, followed by risk control, with the least important consideration being the question of where to buy and sell.

In describing his experience in the early days of his trading career, Tom has these to say:

Back in those days, there wasn’t Globex and electronic trading, traders had to call their broker to place or know about their trades. There weren’t computers that one could look at live over the internet. So I decided I’m gonna do some futures trading. I had already sort of not mastered but felt very comfortable trading stocks, and I’d made some money and I could split off some assets to trade futures. And I decided corn was a small enough contract and moved slowly enough that that would be a good place to start. And I only had like, I think $2,000 in my account. So I tried to understand it and I got my indicators all ready. I was using point and figure charts by manual on pieces of paper. I bought the breakout, promptly lost $600, and had no clue how I lost $600. And I had to go in and understand the math and what the value or the face value of the contract is, and what the big number value in front of the decimal point is with corn. And then I finally figured out okay, I really don’t need to be trading three or four contracts of corn, I need to be trading one and I need more capital. So that was a big lesson there and I had to take a hiatus for a while and figure out what was going on. I finally figured it out and started trading a number of different things.

Tom Basso is also active on Twitter where he frequently exchanges conversations with fellow traders.

Tom Basso quotes

It’s a matter of both having confidence and being comfortable in the approach you’re using.

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Keep things in perspective. The universe is overwhelming. It was here before you were born, and it will be here after you die.

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As soon as you take responsibility for your life, you can change the world.

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