Dan Goldberg Rode The Revolution In Electronic Trading And Now He Trains Traders To Operate Online

In an uncertain world you can be certain people are making money, because when markets move, opportunities arise – the difference this time is how accessible trading futures online has become…

RISING After starting out on the old-style trading floor at LIFFE, you now run Trader Training Hub – how has the customer profile changed over time – is it open to a wider range of people? DAN GOLDBERG, DIRECTOR ‘I think the profile has changed a little. More people have maybe come across trading before and are looking for a way to be more professional in their approach. Costs have reduced and access has become easier. Going way back to ‘pit’ days getting into trading was next to impossible, and then later on you really needed a firm to have the required trading lines and IT equipment, which was all at a very high cost. Now you can trade from your mobile phone with a little as a £50 account. Of course, with this comes a degree of extra danger and risk. Hence the need to be trained properly before you waste your money guessing.’

The golden rule of trading is: do not trade with what you cannot afford to lose

RISING In terms of available funds to invest, what level is this kind of online trading viable at? DG ‘It ultimately depends on what you are seeking from trading. Some people want a full-time career with the opportunity to make money, un-beholden to a boss or a company. Others look to make a little on the side to supplement their income. There are also many ways in today’s environment that you can do this. Whilst the most professional way is still by having Direct Market Access to a regulated futures exchange, there’s also the option to learn your craft through a spread betting account, which can be very beneficial. You can still trade but do so in smaller sums than you can with a futures exchange. Make mistakes, fine tune your trading plan but do so without it costing you larger sums of money. I have seen some excellent traders develop using this method starting from as little as £300 ($393) on account, and growing it to the thousands before moving over to a futures trading account. To trade futures properly and give yourself a fighting chance you would need, in my opinion, no less than £5000 ($6550).’

RISING Do you think that with interest rates low that there’s a real ‘sleeping demand’ for ways to make your money work that don’t rely on the banks? DG ‘I certainly think this is true. You just have to look at the insanity surrounding BITCOIN at the moment. People are looking for a way to make their money work for them, but also after the financial crisis there is a real distrust of regulation, banks and governments. It’s the perfect recipe for a cryptocurrency to take a hold, such as BITCOIN. From a professional standpoint I wouldn’t trade in an unregulated environment like this. There’s still enough opportunity in the world of forex, equities and bonds for me to not be too worried about jumping on the crypto bandwagon.’

RISING What are the things you need to remember about trading futures and options? DG ‘Well, the standard industry disclaimer is this: “Trading Futures and Options on Futures involves substantial risk of loss and is not suitable for all investors. Opinions, market data, and recommendations are subject to change without notice. Past performance is not indicative of future results.” And it’s true. The golden rule of trading is: “Do not trade with what you cannot afford to lose.” If you view it that way it will also allow you to trade with freedom and take trades based on whether they are good trades or not.’

Hold off from any trading until you’re confident you’ve learnt the skills required

RISING How do you go about choosing a platform, and become informed about the market? DG ’Learning from professionals is the best way. The internet is filled with anyone and everyone who needn’t be verified, littering it with nonsense. How do you separate the true from the false if you’re a beginner? It’s almost impossible. Look around, find professional traders and look at what is being said about them. Go check out that they have a trading floor, read reviews, go and see them. If they have happy traders around then you’re probably in the right place!’

RISING Do you need to invest 'PT job’ levels of time in the process? DC ‘It depends on what you want and the timescales that you want it in! Of course, the more you focus on trading and learning the quicker your path will be. For those that can the best way forward is a full 8-week in-house training course. You get to fully immerse yourself daily in classroom lessons, be surrounded by traders all profiting already from trading, and put into practice all the theory that is being taught.’

‘For those that don’t have that sort of time we created our On-Demand course so that people can watch at their own pace, in their own time and gain valuable insights. They can then practice in the same way and treat it almost as a hobby. It can be done that way, just expect it to be a slower journey and be patient with yourself. And hold off on any trading until you are confident you have learnt the skills required.’

RISING What kinds of customer are services like Trader Training Hub aimed at? DG** ‘We look to bring in anyone who has a desire and interest to trade, whether beginner or experienced. The course is designed to take you from the very beginning through to being confident enough to begin trading, and hopefully developing into a consistently profitable trader. If you have never heard of, or come across trading futures before we take you from the start of what these products are, how they work, what they are for through to understanding what influences them and makes them move. This would include a lot of work on fundamental economics as well as charting techniques we refer to as technical analysis.’

Learn techniques, understand why and how markets move, and you could go far

RISING Do new tools make it easier to assess risk? If so what are they? DG** ‘No, I don’t think so. Although you can see your risk and know where you are in terms of profit and loss, humans are still humans. They make mistakes, they get emotional and they do some crazy stuff when trading. I’ve been around long enough to have seen it and long enough to have lost the plot a few times myself! That’s why risk management lessons are so key – adopting the correct mindset but also having a team around you, or even better a risk manager.’

RISING What are the three biggest myths about online trading of futures and options? DG ‘If anyone says trading is easy, or they have a system they are willing to sell to you for a tenner, then run a mile! Trading is tough. You get out what you put in. The rewards can be great but you have to commit. Be mentally strong, be prepared to be wrong but get a process, learn techniques and understand why and how markets move, and you could go far.’

RISING Being financially informed depends on monitoring trends – where might be a good place to start? DG ‘Right now [October 2017] the market is very Central bank led. It's absolutely key to research what these countries banks are doing as it has a major effect. Plus always keep an eye on all news. At the moment we are seeing news from tax reform, European independence and of course North Korea tensions, all impacting on trends.’

RISING Where would be a good source of information for research into markets? DG ‘If you want to trade professionally I would advise a proper trading news service to help you understand what the market is focusing on, and data that may be out. There are a couple of very good ones. If it’s more of a side project then keep on top of sites like Bloomberg, CNBC and Investing.com, which are all very helpful. Some of the chat rooms for spread betting services could be useful, if you find the right people in there. Be cautious though – in these rooms everyone will tell you they’re always making money!’

RISING What are your three top tips for anyone interested in finding out more? DG ‘Learn first. Trade second. Most do the opposite. They lose money then decide to learn. Only trade with what you can afford to lose. Trade to trade well – the money will follow.’

WHAT NEXT? ‘If you’re curious to know more about the life of a trader, then reading Dan Goldberg’s blog on the value of learning patience, might be a good start…

Trading Futures and Options on Futures involves substantial risk of loss and is not suitable for all investors – no comments or opinions in this piece constitute advice – they are points of interest for further research only