Compound Trading Strategy: Definition and Use


Compounding is a powerful strategy that includes reinvesting returns from trades to achieve exponential growth over time. According to theory, by consistently reinvesting returns, traders can potentially increase their capital base.

This article explores the mechanics, benefits, risks, and practical steps to effectively implement a compound trading strategy, providing valuable insights for traders aiming for long-term growth in the financial markets.

Understanding Compound Trading

Compound trading is a strategy that involves reinvesting returns from trades to increase the volume of future trades, aiming for exponential growth over time. Unlike simple trading, where traders might withdraw returns after each effective trade, compounding leverages these returns to progressively build a larger trading capital.

The concept is rooted in the principle of compound interest, where the returns generated are reinvested to generate additional gains. In trading, this means each effective trade adds to the capital base, which then potentially earns more in subsequent trades. This snowball effect can potentially amplify the growth of the account balance.

To illustrate, consider a trader starting with $1,000 and achieving a 5% return each month. Instead of withdrawing the $50 profit, the trader reinvests it, increasing the capital to $1,050. The next month, a 5% return on $1,050 yields $52.50, and so on. Over time, the capital grows at an accelerating rate, thanks to the reinvestment of returns.

However, the power of compounding also comes with increased risk. As the capital grows, so does the amount at stake in each trade. This requires careful risk management and discipline to avoid significant losses that can also compound. Traders need a solid strategy, consistency, and a clear understanding of market conditions to take full advantage of compound trading.

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Compound Trading: Calculation

To understand the mechanics, let’s delve into the mathematical foundation. The core formula for calculating compound returns is:

E = P * (1 + r)^n


  • E is the ending balance,
  • P is the initial principal (starting capital),
  • r is the monthly return rate,
  • n is the number of intervals compounded over (months)

Note that percentages are expressed as decimals.

For instance, if a trader starts with $1,000 and achieves a monthly gain of 5%, the formula calculates how the capital grows over time. After one month, the capital would be:

E = 1000 * (1 + 0.05)^1 = 1050

After two months:

E = 1000 * (1 + 0.05)^2 = 1102.50

This compounding effect accelerates as time progresses. By the end of 12 months, the capital grows to approximately $1,795.86—a 79.586% return compared to a 60% return if returns aren’t reinvested (5% of $1,000 each month). After 24 months, the compounded capital is now worth $3,225.10 vs $2,200.

It’s also possible to estimate the power of compounding if a trader knows their win rate and average risk-to-reward ratio. The formula for calculating the long-term effects of compounding with this information is:

E = P * ((1 + %win) * (1 − %loss))^(N * WR)


  • E is the ending balance,
  • P is the initial capital
  • %win is the percentage of profit gained per winning trade
  • %loss is the percentage of loss per losing trade
  • N is the total number of trades
  • WR is the total win rate

For instance, consider a scenario where the same trader has a win rate of 60%, with a risk-to-reward ratio of 1:2, meaning the trader risks 3% per trade to gain 6%.

Using the formula above, we can calculate the total return after 100 trades:

E = 1000 * ((1 + 0.06) * (1 - 0.03))^(100 * 0.6)

The effect can be substantial, with the trader’s capital potentially growing to $5,304.64 after 100 trades. After 200 trades, the capital may grow to $28,139.21.

Benefits and Risks of a Compound Trading Strategy

Compounding offers a unique approach to growing trading capital by reinvesting returns. While it holds significant potential, it's crucial to understand both its benefits and risks to make informed decisions.

Benefits of Compound Trading

  • Exponential Growth: Reinvesting returns allows traders to take advantage of compound interest, leading to accelerated capital growth over time.
  • Enhanced Returns: As the trading capital increases, the absolute gain on each trade becomes larger.
  • Disciplined Trading: Compounding encourages a long-term perspective and disciplined trading practices, as traders focus on consistent returns rather than short-term gains.
  • Increased Capital Base: By reinvesting gains, traders continuously increase their capital base, providing a cushion to absorb market volatility and potential losses.

Risks of Compound Trading

  • Increased Risk Exposure: As the capital grows, the amount at risk in each trade also increases, which can lead to significant losses if not managed properly.
  • Market Volatility: Financial markets are inherently volatile, and sudden market changes can adversely affect compounded investments, leading to substantial capital erosion.
  • Emotional Pressure: Larger positions can increase emotional pressure on traders, potentially leading to impulsive decisions that deviate from the trading strategy.
  • Overconfidence: Continuous success can breed overconfidence, causing traders to take undue risks or abandon their disciplined approach, which can result in significant losses.

Practical Steps to Start Compound Trading

Using compounding in trading requires a blend of strategic planning, discipline, and consistent tracking. Here are the practical steps traders can follow for an effective compounding journey:

1. Setting Clear Goals and Expectations

Before getting started, it's crucial to establish clear financial goals and realistic expectations. Traders typically determine what they aim to achieve—whether it's a certain percentage of growth per month or a specific financial milestone. Understanding that compounding is a long-term strategy helps set the right mindset and manage expectations.

2. Creating a Detailed Trading Plan

A well-defined trading plan is essential. This plan should outline the trading strategies to be employed, including entry and exit points, risk-to-reward ratios, and criteria for reinvesting returns. Consistency in following the plan is key to leveraging the advantages of compounding.

3. Tracking Profits and Losses

Maintaining a detailed record of all trades is vital. Using a spreadsheet to log profits and losses allows traders to monitor their progress and analyse the effects of compounding on their capital. It can be useful to review this weekly and monthly to check how aligned a trader is with their goals and potentially reassess their approach.

4. Establishing Withdrawal Strategies

For those trading full-time, it's important to establish how much can feasibly be withdrawn while still allowing the capital to grow. This involves balancing personal financial needs with the goal of compounding returns. Deciding on a fixed percentage or amount to withdraw periodically can help maintain this balance.

5. Maintaining Discipline and Emotional Control

Holding on to large amounts of money and coping with potential losses requires significant discipline. Traders must remain calm and stick to their plan, especially during volatile market periods. Emotional decision-making can derail the strategy, so it's crucial to maintain a level-headed approach.

6. Treating Trading Like a Business

Effective compound trading requires treating it as a business. This means reinvesting returns back into the trading account to fuel growth, just as a business would reinvest earnings to expand. Viewing trading through this lens encourages a professional and strategic approach.

7. Protecting Compounded Capital

During trading slumps or periods of high market volatility, it's essential to protect the compounded capital. This can be achieved by limiting risk exposure, most often by adjusting position sizes. Preserving capital during downturns ensures that there is still a solid base to build on when the market—or the trader's own mindset—stabilises.

8. Using Technology and Tools

Leveraging platforms and tools that offer automated tracking, analysis, and risk management features can streamline the process. These tools can help maintain consistency, make data-driven decisions, and stay disciplined.

Compounding Trades

Compounding trades, also known as pyramiding, involves increasing the size of a position as it becomes profitable. While compounding capital focuses on reinvesting returns to grow the trading account, compounding trades means adding to an existing position during a trade to potentially maximise returns.

Pyramiding is typically employed when traders have strong confidence in their position or are engaged in long-term trades. For example, if a trade is performing well and moving in the anticipated direction, traders might add more capital to that position. This approach can significantly amplify returns from a trade since the increased position size benefits from the continuing favourable price movement.

However, pyramiding trades carry substantial risks. Adding to a position increases the overall exposure, and if the market turns, losses can be magnified. This risk underscores the importance of only adding to winning trades. Adding to losing trades in an attempt to lower the original entry price can be detrimental. This practice, often called averaging down, significantly increases risk and is generally not recommended.

Some strategies incorporate pyramiding as a core component. These strategies usually involve strict criteria for adding to positions, such as specific price levels or confirmation signals to ensure the trade is still valid, and are usually considered advanced.

The Bottom Line

Compounding offers traders a powerful strategy to grow their capital over time through disciplined reinvestment of returns. By understanding its mechanics, advantages, and risks, traders can harness the potential for significant long-term growth. Ready to start your compounding journey? Open an FXOpen account today and leverage our tools and resources to improve your trading journey.


What Is Compound Trading?

Compound trading involves reinvesting returns from trades to grow capital exponentially. By adding the returns back into the account, traders can potentially achieve significant long-term growth as the capital base increases.

How to Start Compound Trading?

To start compounding, traders set clear financial goals, develop a detailed trading plan, and maintain a record of all trades. Consistency and discipline are also key to reinvesting returns while managing risks effectively.

How Do You Compound a Trade?

Compounding a trade, or pyramiding, involves increasing the size of a position as it becomes effective. Traders typically add to winning trades to maximise returns and avoid adding to losing trades to manage risk.

How to Compound a Trading Account?

To compound a trading account, traders reinvest returns rather than withdraw them. Using a strategy that consistently generates positive returns, maintaining detailed records, and adapting your trading plan based on performance and market conditions is key. Effective risk management can help protect and grow your capital over time.

This article represents the opinion of the Companies operating under the FXOpen brand only. It is not to be construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation with respect to products and services provided by the Companies operating under the FXOpen brand, nor is it to be considered financial advice.

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