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Managed Futures Performance, Strategy and Rankings

What are managed futures?

The term managed futures describes an industry comprised of professional money managers known as commodity trading advisors (CTAs). These trading advisors manage client assets on a discretionary basis using global futures markets as an investment medium. By broadly diversifying across markets, managed futures may simultaneously profit from price changes in stock indices, currencies, treasury futures, bond futures as well as from various commodity markets. Trading advisors can participate in more than 150 global markets; from grains and gold to currencies and stock indices. Many funds further diversify by using several trading advisors with different trading approaches.

  • Investment Universe
    • Traditional Asset Classes
      • Cash Bonds Equities Real Estate
    • Alternative Asset Classes
      • Hedge Funds Managed Futures Private Equity Credit Derivatives

How does Optimus Futures work with CTA’s?

Optimus Futures assists clients with selecting a Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA’s), opening a trading account for the CTA to manage, and monitoring the trading activity of the Managed Futures Program on an ongoing basis. We spare no effort in finding CTA’s that we feel offers the potential for good returns while also employing good risk management strategies. We use very specific criteria when recommending Commodity Trading Advisors, including a disciplined investment approach, a positive track record and a strong management team.

What are the benefits?

  • Potential to lower overall portfolio risk.
  • Potential opportunity to enhance overall portfolio returns.
  • Potential opportunity to profit in a variety of economic environments.
  • May limit losses due to a combination of flexibility and discipline.
  • Broad diversification opportunities.

TRADING FUTURES AND OPTIONS INVOLVES SUBSTANTIAL RISK OF LOSS AND IS NOT SUITABLE FOR ALL INVESTORS. PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS.

How do I begin?

Our Managed Futures Broker services start with one of our brokers conducting a one on one session to help you select a CTA or portfolio of CTA’s that best fits with your investing goals and risk tolerance. We will take you on a “guided tour” of our CTA database and provide you with customized recommendations tailored to your personal investor profile. We will show you our entire list of approved CTA's, their track records and present a portfolio selection giving a full explanation of the strategies used and the risks and potential rewards involved. Our intent is to inform you so that you may make a decision as to whether or not this investment is right for you. Managed futures can be used in several account types including individual, joint, and corporate and partnership accounts. They can also be used in a variety of retirement plans including IRAs, trusts and pensions.

What happens after I open my account?

After the account has started trading, Optimus monitors the account daily on behalf of the client. Your Optimus Futures advisor will receive a daily equity run detailing all your open positions, netting all profits and losses, and showing the exact daily balances in your account. We will be able to guide you through the positions and tell you what the risk and reward benefits are for each position entered. A statement will also be automatically be sent to your chosen mailing address on every single trade. The purchase and sale statement shows the date and price entered, and when you exit the trade, the date, price, net profit or loss on the trade, and your account balance. Furthermore, a summary of all transactions showing their results are sent each month for the entire month’s transactions. Therefore, you will always be provided with a written, detailed report of the transactions and the performance of your account.

Managed Futures CTA Database

Register below to Access Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA) performance results and create a hypothetical portfolio of managed futures programs and see how you can diversify your portfolio. Once you feel comfortable with your selection, Optimus will help you open and fund your account and set you up with all the necessary paperwork to get you started with the CTA.

Sign Up For CTA Database Access

Our CTA database allows you to:

Analyze risk statistics and benchmarks

Go beyond basic performance data, review advanced statistics and ratios for each program; benchmark against various indexes.

Hypothetical portfolio builder

Mix programs together and set allocations to create and save a hypothetical portfolio, updated with each month’s performance.

Track managers with your Watchlist

See a program you’re interested in? Save it to your Watchlist for easy review.

Easy-to-read from any device

Data is clearly presented with charts and tables in an easy-to-read format, even on mobile phones.

Create a hypothetical portfolio of managed futures programs and see how you can diversify your investments

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Schedule a Personal Portfolio Consultation

If you need help or some guidance in determining the right CTA, please fill out the form at the top of this page. One of our licensed brokers will help you develop a managed futures portfolio that best fits your specific needs, taking into account your overall investment objectives, your risk tolerance, your trading time horizon, and the amount of risk capital you can invest.

If you have any questions or need assistance right away, please feel free to contact us at 800-771-6748. We are available to assist you by phone, Skype, chat or email Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM EST through 5:00 PM EST.

Managed Futures FAQ

1. What are managed futures & why should I use them?

Managed Futures are an alternative investment asset class that allows investors to simultaneously participate in multiple global market sectors such as currencies, energies, metals, short and long term interest rates, domestics and international stock indices and traditional commodities.

Managed Futures can be a valuable part of an overall asset allocation plan; their purpose is to add portfolio diversification, potentially reduce overall portfolio volatility and potentially achieve higher overall portfolio performance over time when compared to traditional investment portfolios alone. A study by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) concluded that a portfolio with 20% Managed Futures has less risk than a portfolio of Stocks and Bonds alone. The major benefits with using managed futures are as follows: diversification beyond stocks and bonds, potential for higher portfolio returns, potentially reduced portfolio volatility risk, access to broader market opportunities, potential to profit in any economic condition, professional management, and portfolio liquidity.

BE ADVISED THAT DIVERSIFYING ONE’S PORTFOLIO WITH MANAGED FUTURES DOES NOT GUARANTEE PROFIT, OR PROTECT A PORTFOLIO FROM SUBSTANTIAL LOSSES OR VOLATILITY.

AN INVESTMENT IN MANAGED FUTURES MAY HELP ENHANCE RETURNS AND REDUCE RISK. HOWEVER, THEY MAY ALSO DO JUST THE OPPOSITE AND IN FACT RESULT IN FURTHER LOSSES.

THE RESULTS OF STUDIES CONDUCTED IN THE PAST MAY NOT BE INDICATIVE OF CURRENT TIME PERIODS AND MAY NOT REFLECT THE PERFORMANCE OF ANY INDIVIDUAL CTA.

2. Who regulates CTA’s?

CTA’s are typically registered with a national regulatory body. CTA’s trading futures in the U.S. are regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the National Futures Association (NFA).

3. What is a disclosure document?

A disclosure document is a description of the CTA’s trading program and procedures that apply to accounts under the CTA’s control. CTA’s are required to provide sufficient disclosure to the investor. The document is required by the NFA and CFTC and describes the fees, trading program, procedures for entry and exit, past performance and rules for the overall trading program. Each disclosure document is different, so please ensure you read the CTA’s disclosure document before investing.

4. What is an incentive/management fee?

Most CTA’s charge both a management fee and an incentive fee. An incentive fee is based on the CTA’s performance. CTA’s typically charge a 20% incentive fee based on net new profits.

Most CTA’s also charge a management fee to trade the account. Management fees are often around 2%, but can be lower or higher, depending on the CTA.

5. Where is the money deposited when a managed futures account is opened?

The funds in your account will be deposited to the clearing firm you open your account with and maintained in a customer segregated funds account.

6. What types of investors utilize managed futures accounts?

Individual investors seeking to obtain futures market profits without having to make the trading decisions in the account. Also, individual investors who trade their own account, and are seeking further portfolio diversification through a different trading program. A number of corporate and institutional investors allocate a portion of their portfolio to managed futures. The total amount of capital in managed futures programs is estimated to exceed $200 billion.

7. Is a managed futures account appropriate as a short-term investment?

No. Futures markets, like most markets, tend to be cyclical. Even investors that are successful over the long-term experience periods where there are losses. Although an investor is free to close an account at any time, it is not recommended that you open an account that you don’t plan on maintaining for at least a year. Managed futures are not appropriate for everyone. Only risk capital should be used to invest in managed futures. Risk capital is capital that you do not want to lose, but if you did, your lifestyle would not be changed. We recommend that the amount of money you invest in managed futures be dependent on your risk tolerance and financial goals.

8. Can I invest funds from my Individual Retirement Account (“IRA”)?

Yes, there are IRA trust custodians who accept futures accounts; they are referred to as self-directed IRA’s. If you do not already have a self-directed IRA which accepts futures trading, you will have to open one with a trust custodian that does. Your Optimus Broker can offer assistance with this process.

Learn More about Managed Futures

The following information has been prepared by the CME Group

10 Compelling Reasons to Consider Adding Managed Futures to Your Portfolio

This article from the CME Group outlines 10 great reasons to consider adding Managed Futures to your portfolio including reducing volatility, increasing returns and more.

Read Full Report

Why Managed Futures?

This article describes that growth and discusses our “top 5 list” of reasons why investors should be interested in managed futures investments.

Read Full Report

A Quantitative Analysis of Managed Futures Strategies

This paper endeavors to re-introduce managed futures as a liquid, transparent hedge fund sub-style which actively trades a diversified mix of global futures markets.

Read Full Report

TRADING FUTURES AND OPTIONS INVOLVES SUBSTANTIAL RISK OF LOSS AND IS NOT SUITABLE FOR ALL INVESTORS. THE USE OF THE PHRASE “MANAGED FUTURES” REFERS TO THE ASSET CLASS, AND NOT TO ANY INDIVIDUAL COMMODITY TRADING ADVISORS PROGRAM. BE ADVISED THAT AN INDIVIDUAL PROGRAM COULD HAVE BETTER OR WORSE PERFORMANCE RESULTS WHEN COMPARED TO THE STOCK MARKET. THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES OF PROFIT NO MATTER WHO IS MANAGING YOUR MONEY. PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT NECESSARILY INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS. THE STUDIES PRESENTED IN THE BROCHURES ABOVE ARE BASED ON ACTUAL PERFORMANCE OF MANAGED FUTURES AND STOCKS FOR THE PERIODS SHOWN, THEY ARE NOT BASED ON ACADEMIC THEORY.

THIS MATERIAL MENTIONS SERVICES WHICH RANK THE PERFORMANCE OF COMMODITY TRADING ADVISORS. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE RANKINGS APPLY ONLY TO THOSE CTAs WHO SUBMIT THEIR TRADING RESULTS. THE RANKINGS IN NO WAY PURPORT TO BE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE OF COMMODITY TRADING ADVISORS. THE MATERIAL IN NO WAY IMPLIES THAT THESE RESULTS ARE OFFICIALLY SANCTIONED RESULTS OF THE COMMODITY INDUSTRY. BE ADVISED THAT AN INDIVIDUAL CANNOT INVEST IN THE INDEX ITSELF AND THE ACTUAL RATES OF RETURN FOR AN INDIVIDUAL PROGRAM MAY SIGNIFICANTLY DIFFER AND BE MORE VOLATILE THAN THE INDEX.