Discretionary Trading Q1 2020 commentary

SaxoSelect Commentaries
Saxo Markets

Instruments traded
FX spot and CFDs
Asset classesFX, equity indices, commodities, government bonds
Investment styleDiscretionary (non-systematic), volatility, opportunistic
Quarterly return+15.9% (after trading costs but before any management and performance fees)
Annualised return volatility (since inception)35%
Average trades per week13

Market overview

It has been an historic quarter. Markets started the year overextended and there was complacency in muted volatility and signs of froth in some speculative activity. Then the coronavirus outbreak in China hit, but initially, though the risk of a pandemic was high and the outbreak was taking place in a country systemically important to global commerce, markets continued to go up. At this point however, the Discretionary Trading strategy started trading less aggressively.  

After the outbreaks in Italy and South Korea, it became clear that the world was facing a developing pandemic. This event, coupled with the possibility that Bernie Sanders might be the Democratic nominee, spooked markets at the end of February. March brought real earthquakes in the markets and it became a fight between unravelling financial markets, collapsing economies and unprecedented policy response by central banks and governments. It was the fastest bear market in history, with mind-boggling intraday volatility. 

Portfolio performance

Since inception (29.12.2010)

(Returns include transaction costs but are before service and performance fees.)

Volatility is beneficial for the strategy and as a result, performance has been good. However, the extreme volatility witnessed in March was a double-edged sword, as the strategy is constrained by stop loss and limited permitted loss on any given position. The focus in March was to protect capital, limit the size of positions, avoid being harmed by volatility and profit from opportunities. Timing-wise, there were some good decisions.


Ultimately, after the earthquake, its consequences and aftershock, comes the recovery. Though it will be very complex, it will also be good for trading as we navigate along the epidemic curve and the long-lasting economic consequences.  Some volatility is to be expected, as there is no going back to the muted environment of the past. The extreme volatility phase is probably behind us, but there should be consistent opportunities in equities, currencies, commodities and bonds. 


Saxo Markets provides personal portfolio management via its SaxoSelect service. Before entering any managed portfolio, we must first take into account your investment objectives, goals and financial situation. 

This material should be considered as a marketing communication under the Financial Conduct Authority’s rules. Saxo Capital Markets UK Limited (SCML) undertakes reasonable efforts to ensure that any information published in this communication is reliable. SCML makes no representation or warranty, and assumes no liability, for the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in this communication. 

Investing in financial products always involves risk. As a general rule, you should only invest in financial products if you understand the risks associated with them. Investing in a portfolio with currency that differs from the base currency of your account carries the risk of exposure to changes in the rate of exchange between them. See the full Managed Portfolio Disclaimer for more information. Past performance is not a guide to future performance.

Saxo Markets
40 Bank Street, 26th floor
E14 5DA
United Kingdom

Support Centre
For existing clients, please click here to request support via the Support Centre.

Have a question about our products, platforms or services? Visit the Support Centre to find answers for our most frequently asked questions. If you are still unable to locate an answer to your question, you will also find contact details for your local Saxo office to speak with a representative.

Contact Saxo

Select region

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Trade Responsibly
All trading carries risk. To help you understand the risks involved we have put together a series of Key Information Documents (KIDs) highlighting the risks and rewards related to each product. Read more
Additional Key Information Documents are available in our trading platform.

Saxo Markets is a registered Trading Name of Saxo Capital Markets UK Ltd (‘SCML’). SCML is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Firm Reference Number 551422. Registered address: 26th Floor, 40 Bank Street, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DA. Company number 7413871.

This website, including the information and materials contained in it, are not directed at, or intended for distribution to or use by, any person or entity who is a citizen or resident of or located in the United States, Belgium or any other jurisdiction where such distribution, publication, availability or use would be contrary to applicable law or regulation.

It is important that you understand that with investments, your capital is at risk. Past performance is not a guide to future performance. It is your responsibility to ensure that you make an informed decision about whether or not to invest with us. If you are still unsure if investing is right for you, please seek independent advice. Saxo Markets assumes no liability for any loss sustained from trading in accordance with a recommendation.

Apple, iPad and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Android is a trademark of Google Inc.