About a month ago I signed up for Covestor Investment Management (CV.IM). I put $10,000 into a new account at Interactive Brokers controlled by them and then signed up for that $10,000 to be auto-traded following Timothy Sykes. I mainly did this out of curiosity to see how well the trade replication worked. Please note that only Sykes’ trades in one of his two Interactive Brokers accounts are replicated by those following his strategy on CV.IM (trades in his other IB account are replicated with the CV.IM Tim Sykes Aggressive strategy, while trades in his SogoTrade and ThinkorSwim accounts are not replicated anywhere).
My biggest problem with CV.IM is that it subdivides orders and then sends those orders at two minute intervals, guaranteeing that the last shares filled will be filled long after the first shares were filled [Edit 12/10/09 see comment #7 below for an explanation from Covestor]. While this may make sense to minimize market impact for longer-term traders, it is absurd to have an order-replication algorithm that does such a thing when trying to track a day-trader of volatile stocks. Even ignoring the problems with subdividing the orders, out of 7 total trades (three round-trips), 2 had initial fills over 15 minutes after Sykes’ order was filled (the initial short on DRAM and the buy on LZB). Because of this risk of delayed replication time I must emphatically recommend against signing up with CV.IM to follow Tim Sykes or any other short term trader.
Below are my round-trip trades so far and the comparisons to where Tim Sykes made the trade and when I received an alert from his TimAlerts trade alert service. First I compare my profit margin per trade with Sykes’ profit margins:
IMGG — Me: +14.3%
IMGG — Tim: +13.1%
Difference: +1.2% in my favor
DRAM — Me: (8.3%)
DRAM — Tim: +5.6% (approximate)
Difference: (13.9%) to my detriment
LZB — Me: (4.4%)
LZB — Tim: (2.0%) (approximate)
Difference: (2.4%) to my detriment
From these three trades I have lost a net of $30.78, including commissions and short stock borrow fees.
The first trade, IMGG, was replicated quickly:
My CV.IM account short sold 571 IMGG on 11/17/09 at $1.645 at 9:34:40
My CV.IM account covered 571 IMGG on 11/18/09 at $1.41 at 9:36:20
Tim Sykes short sold IMGG on 11/17/09 at $1.64 and I received the TimAlert email at 9:39
He covered IMGG on 11/18/09 at $1.425 and I received the TimAlert email at 9:38
For IMGG, everything worked well and both sides of the trade were replicated quickly and almost exactly at the same price Tim Sykes trades were at.
The second trade, DRAM, was not replicated quickly:
My CV.IM account short sold 131 shares of DRAM at $4.28 at 12:03:07.
My CV.IM account short sold 146 more shares of DRAM at an average price of $4.53 between 13:50:19 and 13:58:34. This was submitted as four separate orders spaced 2 minutes apart on average.
My CV.IM account covered all 277 shares of DRAM at an average price of $4.746 between 9:42:18 and 9:48:26. This was submitted as four separate orders spaced 2 minutes apart on average.
Tim Sykes short sold DRAM on 11/23/09 at $4.68 and I received the TimAlert at 11:46.
He short sold more DRAM on 11/23/09 at $4.59 and I received a TimAlert (text only) circa 14:25.
Tim covered all his shares of DRAM on 11/24/09 at $4.40ish and I received a TimAlert email at 9:47.
For DRAM, the first short trade was over 17 minutes after the TimAlert (so probably just about 20 minutes after Sykes actually made the trade). It was also at a price over 8% lower than Sykes’ trade. Because I do not have adequate records of when I received the second short alert, I cannot say how close the first trade at CV.IM was to it. However, there was still 8 minutes between first and last fill on the subdivided short orders. The cover orders began before I received the TimAlert, but the fills on the buy to cover orders were still over 7% higher than Sykes’ cover.
The third trade, LZB, was not replicated quickly:
My CV.IM account bought 123 shares of LZB on 12/8/09 at an average price of $10.125 between 15:24:18 and 15:40:28. This was submitted as five separate orders spaced 3 minutes apart on average.
MY CV.IM account sold those 123 shares of LZB on 12/9/09 at an average price of $9.761 between 9:52:15 and 10:00:16. This was submitted as five separate orders spaced 2 minutes apart on average.
Tim Sykes bought LZB on 12/8/09 at $10.00 and I received the TimAlert email at 15:06.
He sold LZB on 12/9/09 at $9.80ish and I received the TimAlert email at 9:55.
For LZB, even the initial buy order from CV.IM came 25 minutes after Tim Sykes bought and 18 minutes after I received the TimAlert. The fills on the sell were better, with the initial fills beating the TimAlert, but because of the spacing of the subdivided sell orders, many of the shares were not sold until after the TimAlert was received.
Here are the details from each of my trades copied from my Interactive Brokers activity statement:
|Symbol||Date/Time||Exchange||Quantity||T. Price||C. Price||T. Amount||Comm/Tax||Basis||Realized P/L||MTM P/L||Code|
|Total in USD||3.14||-24.74||0.00||-27.87||121.42|
Disclosure: No positions in any stocks mentioned in this post. I currently have $5,200 subscribed to follow Tim Sykes at CV.IM. I receive a commission for every DVD or TimAlerts subscription bought through my affiliate link to Sykes’ web store. To see more details on my relationship with Sykes, please see my disclosures. I have a disclosure policy and you can find all my disclaimers there as well; those disclosures & disclaimers are incorporated by reference into this post.