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Interview with Antonio Morillas (ATC 2011)

16 October 2011, 08:25
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Interview on Automated Trading Championship 2011 from 16.10.2011.

Antonio Morillas from Spain (sallirom, by the way - it is reversed surname!) was first who doubled his starting balance from the beginning of the Championship and thus attracted our attention. His trading strategy is extremely risky. We decided to talk to Antonio about risk and luck as these are part and parcel of Automated Trading Championship.

Antonio, tell us about your experience in trading and programming Expert Advisors

I've started to successfully invest in stocks years ago. I don't trade Forex on real accounts, but I have participated in a semi-automated trading championship on MQL4. It was organized by one brokerage company here in Spain. Every participant launched his EA on his computer, so an author gained full control over his trading robot being able to interfere. I've always been interested in trading, as a hobby. I am a computer engineer. I am dedicated to teaching, I teach informatics in vocational training at a high school.

Antonio Morillas (sallirom)

I knew of automated trading systems, but I've came across the Automated Trading Championship just a year ago. Unfortunately, I couldn't participate, but I started to work on my Expert Advisor preparing it for the next Championship. MQL5 has the same syntax as C++, and this language is known to me. The tricky part was how to use trading functions properly.

Do you want to switch to professional trading for yourself?

I'd rather not. Managing assets of others is a great responsibility and it is emotionally stressful.

What do you prefer most: manual or automated trading? What do you thing about psychology of trading?

I'm sure that manual trading and automated trading must be used in different contexts. Automated trading best suits for volatile markets that are highly prone to news. No doubt, psychology is very important in trading. The most difficult both in automated and manual trading is finding the right strategy. You can get a system that works over a short period of time, but fails in long-run prospect.

Personally, I follow the philosophy of Stan Weinstein's Secrets For Profiting in Bull and Bear Markets book. It does not tell directly about Forex market, but I'm using the described principles to develop my trading strategies, including ones for the Automated Trading Championship 2011.

What was harder: to develop a strategy or program it? Which language do you like more: MQL4 or MQL5?

The hardest thing was of course the strategy. Is not too difficult to code, by using MQL5 Wizard for example. I like MQL5 much more in this respect. It allows you to easily create a multi-currency Expert Advisor or an EA that contains several strategies. Personally I do not use MQL5 Wizard, as I prefer to have maximum control over the program. However, this tool will be very useful to create Expert Advisor for testing, especially for traders who do not know how to program.

Your adviser doubled the deposit during the first day of the Championship, closing the order with the maximum allowable volume of 15 lots (and the closing occurred by the Stop Loss order.) And then there were several unsuccessful trades that threw your EA away from the first place. What can you say about your risky strategy?

My Expert Advisor is trading on long-term trend with broad Trailing Stop. Many EAs are working on a similar scheme. To obtain an advantage I thought of doing something unusual. While profits are growing and there is a signal for buy or sell, my Expert Advisor increases the volume of position up to the maximum allowed value.

It uses almost all the available equity to maintain open position. The volume is increased until free margin reaches 30% of balance. Because of the high risk my EA also controls the Margin Call level by closing positions before it happens.

In order to take profits (in case of luck, of course) Expert Advisor has an upper limit of the free margin. When it is achieved, the profit is fixed and then EA starts again with $10,000. Frankly, this EA is very optimistic.

What your trading strategy is based on? Why do you use volume adding?

To determine the trend, I use my own indicator based on Moving Average. Depending on the slope angle it gives three possible signals: buy, sell or wait for more suitable moment to open positions. Trying to counteract false signals, I let the profits run, if the direction of opening position was guessed correctly.

Some EAs perform only low-volume operations to stay alive, others seek more aggressive strategies to win. I believe that to win we need not only strategy, but also luck. Of different versions of Expert Advisors I've built, I chose the one that takes advantage of luck. This is an unpredictable EA, but with luck it can get very high.

After all, if we are talking about victory - then either sink or swim! It makes no difference to be 4th or 395th. It is more important to get the top three finalists.

What were the results in Strategy Tester on 8 months of current year? How many parameters do you have and have you made any optimization?

The end result was $135,000. The balance/equity chart showed many ups and downs. I used 4 common parameters and 6 parameters for each symbol. In the final stage of optimization I considered 4 parameters for each symbol, keeping other parameters fixed.

As expected, the results of testing on history data and real trade are very different. If I had an opportunity, I would have changed a lot in the current version of my EA.

So why did you choose EURUSD? Why do most of traders choose this instrument?

The EURUSD usually has a more smooth trend lines, than other pairs. I think this is the main reason why the majority chooses this symbol. My Mercurius - is a multi-currency Expert Advisor trading EURUSD, EURAUD, EURGBP and EURCHF. It doesn't start to work immediately on all pairs, but waits for the sufficient equity gained on EURUSD pair to open positions on other instruments.

As always, there is a challenge of choosing the right strategy for each pair. Another difficulty was not to exceed time allowed for automatic tests, while preparing EA for the Championship.

Interestingly, all the currency pairs of your Expert Advisor are all EUR based. Why is that?

The EUR pairs allow you to spend more dollars. There is a limit of lots and the account is in dollars. The EA was optimized on the conditions of last summer, with frequent changes of trend.

What are the prospects of your EA? Will it rise again or not?

Now the Expert Advisor has little chances, but so far it has not given up. I think it would be difficult for it to return to the leaders, although there is hope. In competitions like this, in just a few days you can rush from outsiders into leaders, and vice versa.

What are the strange messages in Experts log? Do they help to understand what's going on with your EA?

Of course. For example, "**** No se puede abrir posicion - 4756.00000000" tells that it can not open a position. As you know, the OrderCheck function checks if there is enough money to open a position. Given the fact that my EA consumes almost all available equity to maintain positions, verification can be successful, and then suddenly there is not enough money.

What do you think about new services: Jobs, Market and MQL5 Cloud Network of distributed calculations?

The Jobs service seemed very interesting to me. It raised very seriously from its start. As for testing - currently I'm using local agents of 4 processor cores. But I am sure that MQL5 Cloud Network will become a greate tool in testing trade robots.

what helped you most in learning MQL5: Documentation, Articles, Code Base or Forum?

All these ways are useful. Documentation is very comprehensive and the most used in my case. In cases where the documentation does not clarifymy doubts, I always have Forum or Articles.

Do you have any wishes or suggestions to MetaTrader 5 and MQL5 developers?

in my opinion, you have done a great job. MQl5 programmers got a good development and testing environment. As a suggestion, it would be great compiler warnings or errors about deprecated functions such as the Type method of the CPositionInfo trade class.

Why your EA is called Mercurius?

I thought for the name of a mythological character. Among the candidates I've found that Mercurius was the ancient Roman god of trade and I liked it.

Well, we hope that your Mercury will soar once again. What can you wish to other participants of the Championship?

First of all, I would like to thank MetaQuotes Software Corp. for organizing Automated Trading Championship on equal terms to all. I think I will participate in the next Championships as well. I wish all the participants a successful trade, and I hope that the decisions of Mrs. Merkel and Mr. Sarkozy to stabilize the euro will beneficially affect the results of Expert Advisors.

Thank you for the interview. Happy trading!

Translated from Russian by MetaQuotes Software Corp.
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