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Systematic trading also known as mechanical trading is a way of defining trade goals, risk controls and rules that can make investment and trading decisions in a methodical way. Systematic trading includes both manual trading of systems, and full or partial automation using computers. Although technical systematic systems are more common, there are also systems using fundamental data such as those in equity long: Systematic trading includes both high frequency trading HFT, sometimes called algorithmic trading and slower types of systematic trading strategies such as systematic trend following.
It also includes passive index tracking. The opposite of systematic trading is discretionary trading. The disadvantage of discretionary systematic trading strategies is that it may be influenced by emotions, isn't easily back tested, and has less rigorous risk control.
Systematic trading is related to quantitative trading. Quantitative trading includes all trading which use quantitative techniques; most quantitative trading involves using techniques to value market assets like systematic trading strategies but the trading decision may be systematic or discretionary. Suppose we need to replicate an index with futures and stocks from other markets with higher liquidity level.
An example of systematic approach would be:. Following the ideas of Irene Aldridge's,  who describes a systematic trading strategies HFT system, a more general systematic trading system should include these elements:. The key point in systematic trading is systematic trading strategies use of backtests to verify at least partially  strategies and alternatives. It's a basic point in backtesting to have easy and robust access to trading data.
Systematic trading should take into account the importance of risk management, using a systematic approach to quantify risk, consistent limits and techniques to define how trading account definition business close excessively risky positions. Systematic trading, in fact, lends itself to control risk precisely because it allows money managers to define profit targets, loss points, trade size, and system shutdown points objectively and in advance of entering each systematic trading strategies. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.