Anyone who is new to the financial markets or who wants to brush up on their skills may find it helpful to attend a spread betting training seminar. Traditionally, spread betting brokers have always provided some educational seminars on the use of spread betting. However, recently a number of providers have ramped up their educational and research content in a big way in a continued effort to attract more mainstream investors and differentiate themselves from the rest. Where in the past they competed for clients by offering tighter spreads and account opening offers, many have realised that educational seminars and online tutorials are the way forward.
One of the interesting ways in which spread betting providers providers are trying to stand out is in the quality and range of the trading seminars and the educational programs that they provide. A number of providers now offer diverse training channels to suit different investor needs including seminars and webinars, market updates and demo accounts. Most now offer free financial spread betting seminars in-house, regionally as well as in conjunction with trusted trading coaches – on topics ranging from ‘An Introduction to Spread Betting’ to ‘Technical Analysis’ and ‘Advanced Strategies’.
Having said I do not look well at those seminars packed full with forty people or more because this severely hampers attendees’ ability to take in the knowledge that is presented to them. Also, you would probably get only one chance to ask one question when you have a seminar full to bursting point with forty people or more, all eager to ask their own questions. Private tuition in this regard is better as it provides you with undivided attention and is naturally more flexible towards your needs than seminars.
Here’s a comment I received from one reader of this column: “I think the only thing you will learn from an IG seminar is that if you put £1000 in to an account and after 12 months you still have £1000 then you should pat yourself on the back. Which I think is the best bit of financial advice I’ve had. Most people will lose that £1000. I’m still trying to hang on to mine with 6 months to go.”
Many spread betting brokers now offer training classes and/or live-trading events which are usually available to clients and non-clients alike. The courses and spread betting webinars that are given by the spread betting brokers cover the fundamentals at least, although you cannot expect them to train you in all the finer details of spread betting strategies and tactics. This is the most basic level that you should take before you consider spread betting with real money. In effect, this is just the start of your trading education.
Seminars are to this effect a good way of involving clients and prospective clients, and passing knowledge on to a large group of participants. Not only can a subject be explained in a helpful manner, but the ability to ask a speaker questions afterwards is a great way for people to learn more. Trading events where traders of varying levels of experience meet are also increasingly common and these give you the possibility to meet and interact with like-minded people – and learn from one another in the process.
For instance, David Jones, Chief Market Strategist at IG Index presents regular seminars in its London offices highlighting the risks and rewards of spread betting, CFDs and technical analysis. IG Index is now making available a programme of regional seminars in venues such as Milton Keynes, Glasgow and Edinburgh, following on from its national programme at the end of 2010. These include such topics as an introduction to margin trading and workings of financial spread betting and a basic introduction of chart analysis.
Here’s a take from a trader who attended on of IG Index’s spread betting seminars:
“It wasn’t too long, had half a glass of decent red which was nice and the guy was engaging and entertaining. Turned out second half was a bit more interesting but didn’t touch on more than common sense stuff. I felt a few things contradicted the point of it being a spread betting seminar. For example he used the price of gold over the last 20 years as an example to not bet against the trend. His point was don’t bet short on Gold. I asked if this was relevant to spread betting because people use spreadbetting for daily, weekly and perhaps up to 3 monthly trades which wouldn’t always tally in with a 20 year gold chart… he quickly moved on.
He also discussed risk, made some very good points and provided a helpful spreadsheet to help calculate risk level per trade between 1-3% of total pot. But he was also pushing FX trading AND pointed out that people’s average pot for spread betting was £1000. At this point I just had to ask how those 3 things could possibly work as FX was too volatile to set your stops at sensible levels and keep risk below 3% per trade with a £1000 pot with min bets on IG. Again, he moved on quickly. I then decided to shut up as he clearly wanted to get to the restaurant before it closed. Another interesting point is that from over 100 delegates there was only 1 woman in the room, fortunately she was quite attractive.”
City Index also holds regular educational evenings on various topics, such as technical analysis, trading strategies, spread betting and CFD trading at its London office in Finsbury Circus. All attendees to CityIndex’s seminars can use their own simulator accounts and get a virtual cash balance to spread bet without risk on live prices, much like one would with a spread betting demo account. The best choice for beginning would be the interactive workshop – An Introduction to Spread Betting which is held in the evening and goes on for two hours. The seminar provides a great opportunity to try spread betting without risking real money and to ask questions along the way. The seminar is divided into two sessions with the first hour being about the workings of spread betting and about the benefits and risks of using spread betting to trade – and covers risk management tools that are available to help you minimise potential losses. The second part, the attendees have an opportunity to try out spread trading using a demo account.
Another seminar; the ‘Technical Analysis for Beginners’ seminar, which is free to City Index account holders and non-account holders alike, teaches attendees to identify trends, reversal points and potential price targets in their spread betting. Over the course of the 90-minute workshop, Sandy Jadeja, and experienced trading expert and Chief Technical Analyst at City Index outlines the most effective ways to study charts, demonstrating how to chart performance, target historical patterns and look out for trends so as to recognise low-risk trading opportunities through technical analysis.
If you would like to learn more about charts you could attend an advanced course on technical analysis which is again hosted by Sandy Jadeja. These advanced classes relate to such subject matter like ‘Using Candlestick Patterns for Short-Term Trading Strategies’ and ‘Forthcoming Trading Opportunities’. In ‘Using Candlestick Patterns for Short-Term Trading Strategies’ an experienced trader from City Index’s team guides students through candlestick patterns and how to build them into your trading strategy. During these seminars, Sandy not only narrates how to set up your trading charts properly but also provides an overview of how to come up with an effective trading strategy. Sandy also talks about his own research on where he think the markets are heading in the coming weeks.
For those interested in spreadbetting and CFD trading, ETX Capital now offers a range of products and services, including free weekly trading seminars for both potential and existing clients. In particular, ETX offers an education program as part of its standard client package which includes an overview technical analysis and trading strategies, complemented by a mentoring program for advanced traders as they progress along.
Capital Spreads offers a basic ‘learn to spread bet’ seminar that is open to all attendees, irrespective of whether they have an account with the company or not. However, Capital Spreads is also known to host more advanced seminars highlighting trading strategies and trading psychology that are usually presented by an independent strategist and held at the Capital Spreads offices. The Capital Spread’s ‘advanced’ and ‘trading strategies’ seminars are for smaller groups of people, up to a maximum of 20, and reserved for account holders. These seminars commonly pack in 3 hours of analysis of charts, trend spotting and strategy, but the most emphasised advice is to always have a written plan.
Whatever you do if you are serious about trading I recommend that new traders get some form of formal training and mentoring – trading is harder than it appears and to succeed in this business you need to develop specific skills and a trader mindset.
“Beware those courses and seminars asking you to pay a couple of thousands for attending, ask yourself if these guys are so good then why are they not trading and are teaching instead. Nobody will sell the goose that lays the golden eggs, they might sell you the eggs alright but never the goose.”
The ‘Questions and Answers’ sessions also allow providers to receive useful client feedback on how they trade, how they monitor their investments, which seminar topics are popular and which markets are of interest. Using this model of client interaction and feedback, spread betting providers are able to further enhance the services they provide.