Conversation with a Master Trader: Gary Fichardt

Gary Fichardt’s trading career features so many highlights that it’s hard to choose a single achievement as his finest.

The 25-year Forex market veteran has managed large accounts up to $30 million, and traded for banks, brokers, and other massive Forex clients before joining Market Traders Institute in 2005.

As MTI’s Director of Trading, Fichardt has taught thousands of students in live trading sessions. He also helped develop several highly successful systems including Target Trading Max, RightTrader Max and Divergence Trading.

Fichardt perfected his own “Hybrid” method of trading – deploying an automated strategy that uses technical analysis to identify market direction. In the weekly Hybrid Trading Room, he shows traders how multiple strategies can be used together or separately depending on different market conditions.

We asked Fichardt to share the biggest life experiences that shaped his trading mindset and core beliefs.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Fichardt: I’ve had so many that stand out but one of the top ones does involve Forex. I was the head trader supervising 64 traders on an onsite trading platform that oversaw millions of dollars every day. So that was probably one of my more exciting and bigger achievements. I had years of professional Forex trading experience before I took on that position in 2001.

Was there a single moment that greatly impacted your life as a trader?

Fichardt: Something happened to drastically change my mind about scalping, trading the markets and the amount of volume that I was trading.

In 2008, I traded 2,000 standard lots at a time and I got very much over-leveraged in an overnight trade for two days solid. I was in over my head on that trade big time.

My wife told me that evening, “Gary, set chart alerts. You’ve got to get rest.” So I set the alerts and went to bed. I was sleeping when the alert came on at about three in the morning. I was so tired but I can still remember the alert, like if it was yesterday.

I jumped out of bed, ran to the computer and saw that a position that had been down about $200,000 was now up $300,000. So there was a $500,000 swing in just the morning trading. And that was actually at a point where this trade was still doable.

If the market went any further against me, I would have received a margin call and lost a bunch of money. But I actually turned the trade around and moved into profit. That trade made me realize that I have to really pay a lot of attention to how I manage my risk.

You cannot “Live or Die” by one trade. Those one off trades, where either you win or you die, do not exist in Forex. They cannot exist in Forex if you want to be a trading survivor.

The funny thing is that I was sitting in front of the computer watching the trade with my elbows on the table for so long that today I actually have nerve damage there as a result. If I put my elbows on a certain spot, then my whole hand goes numb. So I still have long-term physical effects because of that two-day trading marathon.

What things in life do you value the most?

Fichardt: First, I value my relationship with Jesus Christ. Second, I value my family relationship. They are definitely second above all else. And then third, I value my loyalty to people.

Loyalty is something that is extremely important to me. And when people violate their loyalty I take it very personally because I hold a very high standard on that quality.

What things are you strongly against or upset you the most?

Fichardt: What really upsets me the most is when people move the goalpost, which does not necessarily relate to loyalty but it’s really got to do with a person’s word. I’m talking about when someone claims he’s going to do something but then changes his mind.

If you say, “I’m going to call you tomorrow about this” and it’s an important thing, then you must keep your promise. I get that there are smaller things when someone promises to call you later and then forgets to do so. That’s not what bothers me.

But when there’s an important matter that needs to be resolved or a business deal or something along that line, it is highly important that you keep to those commitments. I’m old school. A handshake is all I need. I don’t need a contract.

I just want you to come here and look me in the eye, grab me by the hand, shake it and say, “I’m going to do this for you.” or “This is what I’m going to get done.” And having the trust that you will follow through is very important to me.

Why is loyalty such a key trait to you?

Fichardt: I’ve always tried to maintain that sort of loyalty because I’ve been an entrepreneur and a business person since a very young age. I served in the air force and I also played a lot of team sports.

Throughout my life, loyalty and trust are among the things I valued most. We all have to rely on someone else in order to reach our goals. And if someone says he’s got your back, then you know that he’s got you.

In the air force, when we were doing our military training you had to rely on the person next to you. You don’t know that person from a bar of soap. But if that guy says, “I got your back,” then he’s got your back. And that’s how it always was.

So I guess going through that it’s just instilled that sense of loyalty into my life that you’ve gotta be there for others. And I’ve had great parents. My parents always had my back. I could never say for one moment that I’ve been disappointed that they haven’t supported me. So I think it’s my upbringing that made me this way.

What makes you a person that traders should want to know?

Fichardt: I’m a trader that never leaves a man behind. I went through a stage of my life where I was managing money but I had a lot of traders that came to me for help because an account had been blown up.

I’ve managed some accounts where our team lost money because we made some bad management mistakes. But whether or not I put them in that situation, I’ve never turned away from a problem. I’ve never turned my back to those traders and walked away.

I’ve always offered traders an opportunity or a way to help them when they get into trouble. And if I didn’t go through that situation with them, then that is because it was their decision. But I would never leave a man behind.

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