Brant Hahn: From technology to trading

An entrepreneurial spirit led Brant Hahn into the world of trading. Hahn, now the managing principal at Aurapoint Asset Management, has a background in software, earning a degree in computer information systems from Purdue University. An internship at Charles Schwab that included classes in investing and finance drew him into trading. “I didn’t think I’d like it, but I took the classes and it peaked an interest in me,” he says. After college, he took several consulting jobs in software before going back to Indiana University for his MBA and master’s degree in finance.

Hahn started trading for himself in 2002 after his mutual fund investments lost nearly 40% during the Internet bubble. “I thought ‘there’s got to be a better way to do this.’ Using my software background, I developed a black box system to automate my trading.”

Throughout 2003 and 2004, he automated several day-trading stock trading strategies, teaching himself futures markets along the way. “There are several websites out there where guys are pretty open about their strategies. I borrowed from different sites and added my own twist to things. I got into futures trading based on my work with different clients [at IT firms]. I was trying to help other guys automate their strategies.”

In 2009, he started Aurapoint Asset Management with Tom Trimmer. Hahn trades the Dreadnought program, an automated program that trades the British pound, New Zealand dollar, Australian dollar and U.S. dollar. The program trades off of economic reports such as the gross domestic product (GDP), unemployment, and the consumer price index (CPI). “It tries to get in there before the numbers are announced and ride that price movement,” Hahn explains.

He developed Dreadnought through observation of how spot rates would react when certain economic numbers were released, figuring out how to take advantage of movements in rates. He doesn’t trade the euro because it doesn’t react as much to economic numbers. “The euro encompasses the entire European Union. You’re not going to see the euro move reactively to the German unemployment numbers [because of that].”

Hahn describes his trading philosophy as more defensive than offensive. “Risk management is more important than any other part of your strategy, in terms of [where to] put stop-loss and leverage you’re going to use. That’s almost as important as the strategy itself in figuring out if it’s going to be successful or not,” he says.

And for Hahn, the most exciting thing about trading is the success he sees in strategies he has worked on for a long time. “The most exciting thing is when you finally see some really good numbers based on backtesting, to see that the strategy you’ve been working on for months looks like it’s going to be working. Only one out of 10 [strategies] seem to work, so having the [moment] when you realize it’s going to work [is exciting],” he says.

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