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Strategies by Charles Tines


I want to open a thread where I can write more in depth about my strategies and answer common questions relating to my strategies here for the public to reference. Feel free to ask question or offer criticism - just keep it respectful of everyone.

I first started C2 back in May and created and deleted many strategies rather quickly as I was trying to link different strategies to different IB accounts, had some problems with the API, tried to figure out what I wanted to actually provide, and tried to figure out what subscribers would like. Though these strategies were killed you can still look up details by going to Strategy Activity Details. Just be warned that many of the strategies continue to accumulate stats despite the fact they were killed off. Therefore if I closed a strategy in May while it was holding a stock that has gone up, the strategy will look like it has gone up after May. The reverse is also true.

In August, I eventually settled on 3 flagship strategies with various degrees of risk and return projected. So about 96 days ago I created those three strategies, and now believe it is safe to say all kinks have been worked out.

Today I want to talk about the most conservative and favorite strategy that I offer, DIVERSE. 55% of this strategy is just long and short term bond ETFs from Vanguard and 15% in a mixture of gold and commodity ETFs. Those portions of the strategy are purchased once a year and re-balanced every year following.

Despite the fact that I only actively trade stocks and ETFs with about 30% of this portfolio, in the last 96 days it has roughly doubled the return of the S&P500. Because of its broad diversification into stocks, bonds, gold, commodities, and volatility this strategy is practically ready to survive an apocalypse. Honestly though I believe this strategy is well protected from any kind of black swan event outside of one that makes us all wish we had been doomsday preppers.

Being that many people on C2 are looking for high flying portfolios, they could find this strategy boring. Fortunately, because of the way AutoTrading works they could easily manually exit the bond, gold, and commodity ETFs and remove those ETFs from auto syncing. By doing this you can effectively scale up on the strategy and get a portfolio similar (not identical) to my COMPACT and NOT YOUR FATHER’S VIX strategies blended half and half. Essentially you can subscribe to 2 of my strategies for the price of one. I am not saying changing the allocation is a good idea. I will leave that decision to you. I am simply saying that this strategy can appeal to people looking for high risk high reward and people looking for lower risk and lower reward.

If you have any questions feel free to ask. If you find this post annoying I apologize and suggest that you scroll to the bottom and mute the conversation.



why start this at 250k ? easier to start at 10k and wont only get 6% TOS.


Great question! Here are several reasons and related points.

  1. I know that C2 has enabled some scaling restrictions. For example, if you subscribe to the Solo Plan you can scale at 100% max. Because of the nature of this strategy, I figured there would be people looking to follow with more than what I could afford to do at 100% TOS.
  2. DIVERSE actually receives signals from my stuff running on Google servers. The orders are sent to Collective2, then my regular brokerage account at IB receives orders via AutoTrade. Because of this set up, C2 allows me to have the strategy set up to $250,000. I picked the largest available so others could scale more easily.
  3. While C2 says DIVERSE can be traded with as little as $5,000, personally if I were to follow the strategy as a subscriber I would not do it with less than $10,000 to ensure it is worth it after AutoTrade fee, strategy fee, and broker fees. At the time I started I did not have $10,000 in this account. Starting with a larger account value also reduces the affect of fees on my stats which makes the strategy look better.
  4. While it shows 6% TOS at the moment, that is a little deceiving. I personally do what I said is possible above, where I have override the bond, gold, and commodity trades in my personal account. When I do buy those items I do so at other brokers that allow me to buy them for free. So, I scale at 6%, but only 6% of the stock and volatility picks. Essentially I scale at 6% of 30% so roughly 2%. Right, all I have in there is roughly $5,000 to $6,000 and I only take the stock and volatility picks. I am wiling to take on more risk because I am young and employed. I will certainly add more to it as time goes on, but I can say I probably won’t add to it again until I have maxed out my IRA’s for 2018.
    5.Currently, COMPACT and NOT YOUR FATHER’S VIX are managed through BrokerTransmit. So, I place a trade in my broker using my algorithms, which C2 sees and makes a part of my strategy record.


Today is a perfect example of what can happen while trading VIX products and using strategies such as my NOT YOUR FATHER’S VIX. Prices can rise or fall dramatically in just minutes. When it first began to move today I was not even near my computer nor logged into my server that runs the trading algorithm.

However, after about a 6% drop in the price my algorithm detected a sell signal due to the indicators I use. This strategy is not for everyone because a 6% drop in a matter of minutes is not something most people can stomach. Also, the fact that I do not use hedges for overnight risk means that this particular strategy likely fits even fewer people’s risk profile. This strategy fits my profile because I trade with only a portion of my funds and make sure I take profits and diversify into other assets. Because of these factors, this is a strategy that I plan to have as a part of my portfolio for a long time, but never all of my portfolio.

You should be aware if these risks and others before you subscribe to my strategy NOT YOUR FATHER’S VIX.



My strategy’s track record is young compared to many but over its short time frame it has been performing well with the popular strategies. As of right now my signals have almost exclusively said to just hold XIV. There will come times when it will hold cash or VXX. This strategy is automated and requires no user input from me other than turning it on and routine checking etc. It runs on a very reliable cloud system with multiple backups and stop losses. It will buy and sell in a matter of seconds as it monitors the markets. I started this strategy after back testing it and showing myself that it did well from 2007 to 2017. I did and do a lot of backtesting because I don’t want to lose my money. I want to make more!

I don’t share backtest results because I don’t want to promise returns or get in legal issues etc. I just want my track record on C2 to grow and speak for itself. Of course, I don’t mind chiming if I think it is going unnoticed.

Tonight I found the 9 most popular volatility strategies (based on 6 week popularity) and graphed them next to mine. No doubt most of us have done very well in part because it has been a favorable time for being short volatility. Many may want to discount us and say well yes you are doing well because of the market. This is true, but 120 days ago when I started this system I did not know without a doubt that it would be a good time to own XIV. However, my system has repeatedly given buy and hold signals for XIV over this favorable time frame. My system has not always gotten it right, but over the last 120 days, I would say it has been pretty darn close. I encourage you to subscribe, simulate, or add me to your watchlist. Also, ask questions if you have them.

There are many volatility strategies out there. Some that are systematic, others that sell short, others that use massive amounts of margin, others that are very well hedged. I think there are many good ones out there. In my opinion I think I have one of the best if not the best. However, that is all a matter of what you are looking for.

I will say that NOT YOUR FATHER’S VIX has these great points.

  1. 100% TOS
  2. IRA friendly
  3. I don’t use margin. (If you want to swing for the fences just increase your scaling percent.)
  4. Minimal effort to follow manually or on AutoTrade
  5. The developer currently has over 1/3 of his net worth following this strategy.
  6. Having a C2 auto-constraint to 15% stop loss will not likely interfere with the strategy.
  7. Over the last 120 days it had a total return greater than any of the 9 most popular volatility strategies.
  8. Currently the subscription price is only $50.
  9. Minimum capital required is only $5,000

The obvious downside is that my track record on C2 is young. Because of that, new subscribers who are on the fence can use this coupon for half off for 6 billing periods, UGUG63647. However, please note that this coupon expires on 2017-12-23 01:18:00 Eastern U.S. time.


Do you have any hedges to prevent a total account wipe out or possibly a negative account balance with your broker in case of a black swan event while you are short volatility? And that applies to all other volatility systems no matter how well they have performed in the past.


@KarlA that is a very important question. Based on the way I trade my account balance with my broker could not go negative. Here is why:

  1. Anyone with naked calls, short futures positions, or net shorts on other volatility products could easily lose far more than they put in. If I see such things I stay away because that does not fit my risk tolerance and in my opinion it feels like a ticking bomb. That is why you can’t do these things in retirement accounts.

  2. XIV and VXX are ETPs (Exchange Traded Products) and their share price cannot go below zero. It is theoretically possible for XIV and VXX to go to 0, but the issuer of the ETP, Credit Suisse, would be on the hook to pay all remaining obligations. Long shareholders could not lose more than they put in, just like a share in Apple could not become a liability to the shareholder of the common stock.

  3. If you were to buy XIV or Apple on margin then yes you could have a negative balance due to a decline. NOT YOUR FATHER’S VIX trades with available cash - not margin.

  4. Since, I only go long and do not use margin I have eliminated the possibility of a negative account balance.

  5. To eliminate the possibility of a zero account balance I don’t put all my money in XIV or VXX. I take profits every now and then and put them in something else like stocks, bonds, gold, cryptocurrencies, or even a Nintendo Switch :grinning:

  6. Right now my strategy is up about 50% in just 120 days. The following are not expected numbers, but assume it went up only 50% a year on average and every 3 years XIV went to zero. If I took out the profits each year I would be up 50% even after a crash to zero for XIV. Keep in mind that no event since 1987 would have caused this to happen. That is 30 years with no such event. With many of the new systems in place, some believe it is not possible to repeat.

  7. However, I do think it is always possible. Therefore, I take profits! I do take out small percentages of my profits overtime and put them into stocks, bonds, and other assets. I try to keep NOT YOUR FATHER’S VIX as approximately 30-50% of my portfolio. Another good strategy is to cut your scaling percentage in half after you are up 100%. Then you will be trading volatility with profits only. I do everything I can to not have to change the scaling of NOT YOUR FATHER’S VIX for the sake of my loyal subscribers. I try to take my profits from other accounts that also trade it. I am no financial adviser and will not take the profits for you or tell you exactly how much you should take. Even though I am confident my system will have me out before most - if not all - major declines, I highly encourage you to take some portion of profits and put them in other assets.

  8. NOT YOUR FATHER’S VIX is not designed to be a target date retirement fund that you buy and don’t touch for 30 years. If that is what you want I would check out DIVERSE instead.


The strategy is not bad. You deserve a better name for it, e.g. you can call it macho man.


That seems to me to be a very reasonable approach besides hedging short volatility positions with options. I wonder how many subscribers to volatility systems have given thought to that.


@TaoLi2 I really couldn’t decide on a name. I eventually just went with something different than others. At first the name I had was just too similar to others. I like Macho Man too. @KarlA all investors, especially on C2, need to always consider the extreme market conditions like you did. I hope most take it into consideration and do not just gamble on high fliers. @TaoLi2 and @KarlA thank you both for the kind words. They mean a lot.


Hi Charles, first, I have a lot of respect for you and your strategies. I love the fact that they’re fully automated and running on cloud based servers. However, I’m a little fuzzy on your risk management philosophy. Some of what you wrote seems like you’re addressing risk management in the way your models will adjust and react to rapidly changing market conditions in real time through their algorithms and through stop losses. But then in reading through your 8 expanded points, it sounds like you’re putting much of the risk management responsibility on the subscriber: only put in a certain percentage, take out profits every now and then, rescale one’s percentage after being up a certain amount, etc. It may be helpful to provide some more detail on the risk management actually built into the strategy itself, so that subscribers can decide if they’re comfortable with that risk or if they should add additional risk management on their own. Keep up the good work, David.


Well-said! As an investor and active trader, I can always appreciate developers who always put out good work and contribute with insights like this. Keep up the good work! We need developers like you around here on C2 for long time.

I think you have great strategies on C2. Your approach to build your strategies and reputaion with trading strategies with well-managed risks, providing insights, information, and professional & courteous support to the investors will definitely make you stand out and take you to the next level. I wish you all the best from the bottom of my heart!



@DavidJuday First, thank you! Second, I have a lot of respect for your strategies as well and like your hedging. Maybe this will clarify, but if not let me know. If someone wants to subscribe to something that they never have to re-balance I think DIVERSE is a better option. This is what I suggested to my mother who has no interest in markets, trading, or money management, but wanted to ride my coattails. If someone wants something with very high returns NOT YOUR FATHER’S VIX is the better option. Because of backtests, I am confident it will never experience a drawdown even close to the S&P 500, but I am not so big a fool as to think it isn’t possible for me to be wrong or the world to change. Therefore, I put only but about 30-50% of my portfolio in NOT YOUR FATHER’S VIX. Below are just some details of why I feel this way and why I have decided to not hedge with options or other assets inside of NOT YOUR FATHER’S VIX. (Maybe I should rename to, "NOT YOUR MOTHER’S VIX :joy:)

  1. I fully expect that this system will get me out before any catastrophic drawdown because of its ability to “react to rapidly changing market conditions in real time” and because backtests have gotten me out way before the very worst days. I would say the real risk to NOT YOUR FATHER’S VIX would be something like September 29, 2008 to occur over night instead of during the day and with none of the signs in the days and weeks before it occurred. As I said, in my backtests my strategy was out of XIV long before September 29th, 2008 and other days like it.

  2. Despite my best intentions or yours we can’t prevent all scenarios. For example, I have to log into my servers once each 24 hour period when there will be trading to give it permission to run for the next 24 hours. Say I died young of a heart attack and the next day the market crashed and my system did not have permission to run. (If this is something anyone is worried about I will add a page to my website and update every 24 hours so you can see I am alive and well :grinning:)

  3. We should all consider the “what if scenarios” such as a developer dying or a system being wrong. I fully expect for NOT YOUR FATHER’S VIX to keep my money safe and growing, but because I always want to consider the what if scenario I own other things too and think it would be good for other people to do the same.

  4. I see NOT YOUR FATHER’S VIX more as a tool for the interested investor rather than a automatic 401(k) for the person who doesn’t quite know the difference between a stock and a bond. If someone arrives at C2 without knowing the difference between a stock and a bond I would say use DIVERSE instead.

  5. Basically NOT YOUR FATHER’S VIX allows others to use my algorithm without me having to give it away, and it has the flexibility for them to buy options to hedge with, buy bonds to hedge with, not hedge at all, or any other number of combinations that fit their risk profile. As I gain more subscribers and can justify paying to publish more strategies I will likely add more variations of NOT YOUR FATHER’S VIX and do the hedging work for those who want that convenience. Right now DIVERSE is my most heavily hedged option and does use the same signals as NOT YOUR FATHER’S VIX as a portion of the strategy. I feel that most people on C2 don’t come to C2 to link all of their assets to one strategy. So, I believe the format of NOT YOUR FATHER’S VIX is a perfect addition for just about anyone here at C2. However, for those that get really worried by a drawdown of more than 10% or that want to tie their entire net worth to one strategy, please consider DIVERSE instead of NOT YOUR FATHER’S VIX.


Charles, I totally admire your energy! It’s obvious you have a passion for what you’re doing.

Thank you for the thorough overview of your strategies. I’m a newbie at C2 (a couple months) and find the conversation with others to be refreshing. At the same time - and maybe my impression is wrong - but I’m also quite surprised by the seemingly lack of attention about risk considerations in many of the strategies. I get the shivers looking at some of positions being taken with such a small amount of capital!

You provided considerable discussion about your risk considerations. I have a few followup questions about your overall investment philosophy that I could not quite pickup from your overview. I want to make sure I know where you are coming from.

  1. What’s more important to you, risk or return and why?

  2. Are you completely satisfied with your 3 flagship strategies? Why or why not? What would you have differently if you were to start over?

  3. Do your 3 strategies compliment each other by design or are they more standalone strategies? In other words, do you have an overall business plan (not trading plan) for them collectively?

  4. To what extent are your strategies algorithm based versus discretionary?

  5. In your diverse strategy, you show a large number of different securities. How are you selecting those and what is your exit strategy on each? What value added factors do you feel you provide in stock selection that some fancy stock picker on wall street isn’t already providing?

  6. Just curious – this question may show my inexperience with C2 – why do you execute your trades at the broker through C2’s autotrade system? Why not do the trades at your broker and then transmit to C2?

Sorry for all the questions!


@RFC-Agathos1 No need to apologize for questions and thank you for the kind comments. I will try and answer as concisely as possible, a tough task for me :grinning:. Please let me know if anything is unclear still or if you have other questions.

  1. I believe that risk is like a foundation. However, without a house a foundation is a pretty boring and pointless slab of cold concrete. I think most of use define risk in different ways too. Just like I am terrified of skateboarding but have no problems jumping out of a plane. To mitigate what I define as risk, I don’t trade with borrowed money and don’t do trades where I have the possibility of losing more money than I put into the trade. I am uninterested by any strategy that has less risk than the S&P 500, but doesn’t also outperform the S&P 500 return. In that sense both are very important to me. I am also uninterested by a strategy that outperforms the S&P but has the ability to lose more than the investor put in.
  2. I am very satisfied with my strategies at this time, but I do wish I had not rapidly created and deleted strategies and changed names as I tried to decide on my overall offering and marketing strategy. After finding C2 created and deleted multiple versions of the strategies I have now. With the way the deleting works they stay on my record and look messy. Also, the ones that I wasn’t smart enough to close all positions before deleting still rack up more data on the chart. I talk about this in one of the first few posts in the thread if you want to know more. The other thing I would have changed is finding and starting C2 earlier. In the future I do want to add more strategies. Some that are completely different and some that are variations of the existing ones.
  3. My business plan for my flagship strategies was to offer various mixes of return and risk -something for everyone. DIVERSE has 55% bonds and is a very conservative strategy that is designed as a full service strategy, managing total allocation between a wide variety of asset types while seeking to have far above S&P returns with minor draw downs. NOT YOUR FATHER’S VIX is designed more as a tool for traders to incorporate into their portfolio, similar to how DIVERSE already incorporates NYFV. The other two strategies, SAFETY MARGIN and COMPACT, fall in between the other two on the scale of tool to full service. SAFETY MARGIN always holds 15 stocks while COMPACT will hold as few as 5-6 positions at a time. In order of total return over long time periods say 10 years I expect the best in terms of total return from largest to smallest NYFV, COMPACT, SAFETY MARGIN, DIVERSE. In terms of largest draw downs from worst to best it would be SAFETY MARGIN, COMPACT, NOT YOUR FATHER’S VIX, then DIVERSE. Despite those expectations I would still say NOT YOUR FATHER’S VIX is the most risky because it holds one position at a time that is very a very volatile product and capable of large overnight moves.
  4. All are algorithmic in the sense that it is strictly rule based. That being said there are parts that I do point and click to trade such as SAFETY MARGIN and parts of DIVERSE. However, it is more similar to me saying 1 + 2 = 3 so I am going to type 3 into the computer. It is not me saying I really think 3 is a good number so I am going to type it into the computer. All strategies were created from back testable rules and are being traded with those same rules.
  5. Keep in mind that in the trade record of DIVERSE you do not see any bond, gold, or commodity ETF trades but those comprise about 70% of the strategy. For the securities, I use the same rules as were used in my backtests. The securities selected in COMPACT and DIVERSE are almost the exact same ones. You could recreate DIVERSE yourself by subscribing to COMPACT and NYFV, setting COMPACT to 15% of your account, NYFV to 15% of your account, long term bonds as 40%, intermediate term bonds as 15%, gold as 7.5%, and commodities as 7.5%. If you have access to a fancy Wall Street stock picker that has a track record of outperforming mine and they will charge you a reasonable price - say $50 a month - I would by all means use that. In other words I think there are many of us who do not have access or cannot find something with good out performance at a reasonable price where you can keep your money in your own account. Sure there are many newsletters out there but how many have third party verification. If you are more so asking why do I think it is possible for me to outperform a fancy Wall Street stock picker, I would say size. If I was managing multiple billions of dollars COMPACT or DIVERSE in their current form would not perform as well. In fact the rules that I use to select my securities would not work well on S&P 100 stocks if I applied them to that universe of stocks. If you look at the stocks I buy most are not your Apples or Amazons. The reason is that many of the rules I use are the same rules that large mutual and hedge funds use to select stocks. However, when they select stocks they are typically holding much larger and longer positions in much larger stocks. The stocks I select are obscure and small enough that a large value or growth mutual fund cannot just throw $1 billion dollars into them a day. They are the kind of stocks a mutual fund can and do find, but can only put $500K to several million into a day. They take their time building up positions and I seek to be in for a portion of that time. The key is that I and my followers are more nimble and the idea of liquidity is very different when working with thousands, millions, or billions. Right now I am working on the scale of thousands of AUM. I do not see any degradation for COMPACT or DIVERSE until it is on the scale of millions. Size will eventually degrade my performance at which point I would either limit subscribers or quite C2. However, just the handful of stocks I trade has huge room for growth and currently I am only using a small number of the many stocks that I would be buying if I had enough money to put on all of them. There are between 50-100 stocks I want to be buying each day that are similar to those in DIVERSE and COMPACT. So, I believe I have a lot of room for growth in AUM.
  6. Actually COMPACT and NYFV are traded at my broker then transmitted to C2. I was auto trading DIVERSE but currently am not because I withdrew the money for other purposes. In the next year you will likely see the TOS badge return to DIVERSE. I see many benefits to BrokerTransmit and to AutoTrade as a trade leader. BrokerTransmit is great because it is virtually no more work. However, if it is an account you will be depositing and withdrawing from frequently it can cause problems for your subscribers etc. Both COMPACT and NYFV are run in IRA’s that will not be touched for a long time so it works well for them. AutoTrading to get TOS is a great option for accounts where the developer wants to deposit and withdraw easily. However, AutoTrading is an additional fee for the developer whereas BrokerTransmit is free.

Theses answers may have been a bit long winded, but hopefully they help. If you have any follow up questions don’t hesitate to ask.



Thanks so much for great answers! In an earlier life, I managed an equity portfolio of over $12 Billion for a large company pension fund. I met with many “fancy stock picker” managers from the big wall street banks and I always asked them similar questions to what i posed to you. Not all gave the same degree of explanation.

Let me throw in another thought to add to yours. Many times, whenever I talk to folks (especially Financial Planners) about “beating the market”, I get that look that says “what are you, nuts?!” Believe me - I am a CFA and I know all the stats. What these folks miss is that a smart small individual investor (like many on C2) CAN beat the market not JUST because they are better stock pickers, but rather due the use of the tools now available to the retail investor (like futures). That’s probably the biggest factor I have seen in the 35+ years I’ve been doing this. It also has to do with the challenge of market liquidity that you cite. It’s like the difference between the maneuverability of a wave runner versus that of a cruise ship. I also cite the tools you used to make adjustment s since you started with C2.

Keep on trucking, my man! I think 2018 will be very interesting.


Thank you very much! I remember asking myself, “what are you, nuts” when I started thinking I could beat the market. I am glad to know that someone with you background also sees the opportunity. As always let me know if I can be of any help and I will do my best to keep the wave runner going strong :slight_smile:


Is there an intraday stop? You don’t think it’s risky holding some of these positions for up to 1 month?


stop a stop will stop your consistent loss.