Just how valuable and trustworthy is FX education? Who is real and who is fake? An incisive interview with TradingHD’s Neria Konrad

Noam Stiekema

Opinions vary with regard to the advantages and disadvantages of FX education and training companies, a plethora of which operate in some of the world’s largest financial and electronic trading centers including London, Toronto and New York. Often, FX training institutions fit into two categories, the first being independent firms which sell software and concentrate […]

Opinions vary with regard to the advantages and disadvantages of FX education and training companies, a plethora of which operate in some of the world’s largest financial and electronic trading centers including London, Toronto and New York.

Often, FX training institutions fit into two categories, the first being independent firms which sell software and concentrate on encouraging novice traders to follow their formula which often involves a fee and an IB relationship with a b-book brokerage with which the training company places client deposits, or university-backed academic courses such as the one offered by University of Essex Online in partnership with FXStreet.

In order to take a close look at the importance of courses and how to choose appropriately, FinanceFeeds spoke to Neria Konrad, CEO of TradingHD, a training firm which has a track record of taking traders to success. This is a very poignant subject, therefore some very incisive questions were asked!

 

Education is key to success. It’s a phrase that we hear all the time. How important is a trader’s education to their success in long term trading?

“The average man doesn’t wish to be told that it is a bull or a bear market. What he desires is to be told specifically which particular stock to buy or sell. He wants to get something for nothing. He does not wish to work. He doesn’t even wish to have to think.” Jesse L. Livermore

Conventional wisdom suggests that education is key to success and if we want to succeed long-term we have to be continuously learning. There is no magic fast-track formula, which can help you build financial independence or a solid investment portfolio.

 

TradingHD is the first trading and investment education company in the world to offer premium quality content from high profile experts. Can you tell us how you came up with an idea to launch such initiative/business and what motivated you?

Use of MOOCs and Online Education is exploding. According to a Forbes article published in January, more than 35 million people have enrolled in online courses in the last four years, and 2015 enrollments doubled from 2014.

These figures equate to one out of five working professionals in the U.S. Today there are more than 4,200 MOOC courses available, and indeed many more if you include the corporate training programs from companies like Udemy, BigThink, Pluralsight, Lynda, NovoEd, and Skillsoft. These programs, which are authored by academics, cover many topics, and are expanding into general business areas more each year.

Lex van Dam, the co-founder of TradingHD, successfully launched the Lex van Dam Trading Academy more than five years ago following the success of his TV program Million Dollar Traders which aired on the BBC Two in 2009.

Ever since launch, we have been closely observing the online education industry identifying the opportunities for trading and investment education. TradingHD’s expert educators encompass 20+ years worth of professional careers in finance as well as passion for financial markets and willingness to share their expertise, while the internet provides unique opportunities for our experts to transfer their knowledge so that many people can benefit from it.

As a result, we have identified that many traders and investors have been under represented when it comes to high quality learning tools and resources for a very long time while traders just like any other professionals who want to learn, for example, coding, IT, entrepreneurship skills, etc. should also have access to an unbiased education.

TradingHD was launched by Lex van Dam in partnership with iBus Media Ltd to serve traders and investors looking for high quality educational tools and expertise to help them succeed in the financial markets and we are very proud to be able to bring some of the world’s most accomplished traders and investment strategists to work together to help people build individual success stories while our educational platform is also top notch as we want our customers to have a great experience while watching courses which are all produced in high definition!

The videos play from any device and you can start a course at home, continue it at work, and finish it over the weekend. From anywhere.

Efficient learning is also about being able to ask questions and practice; therefore, all our educators answer all content related inquiries from our customers on an individual basis, no scripted answers! In addition, in the coming weeks TradingHD will be launching broker reviews page which will help our clients choose the right broker for them and gain real practice as they learn.

In addition, our company also provides corporate training programs and our experts produce various formats of finance commentaries and educational content on a regular basis for various media channels as well as brokerage houses who rely on us for their clients education.

So for anyone who believes in conventional wisdom or in other words that ‘education is what helps traders and investors succeed long-term’, because it helped our experts to achieve what they achieved having always been learning throughout their professional careers, TradingHD is the right place to be!

 

Does trading education help traders succeed long-term?

I have already probably answered above, but I would like to make one more simple analogy here, because I think this is so very important for anyone wanting to succeed in trading to understand it: does learning from our grandparents and parents life experience help us succeed in life long-term? The answer is YES.

One of our expert educators Ashwani Mathur said that he has put in his course everything he wishes he knew when he started trading.

He wishes there had been TradingHD back in the days when he started trading where he could have learnt practical things ‘to do’ and ‘not to’ from the industry gurus – that would have saved him a lot of money and time.

 

Who will benefit from TradingHD?

If you consider trading as gambling and if you open your trading account instead of going to a casino, then TradingHD is not for you as you are gambling your money away or perhaps relying on ‘luck’ factor, so best of luck to you! But if trading or investing is your passion or if you consider it as a skill to be mastered in life and in particular long-term, if you want to have mentors, TradingHD is the right financial education hub and community for you to join and follow.

You will have access to the leading experts at your fingertips all sharing their wisdom and teaching you their own methods and helping you find your own personal edge. Our educators panel covers topics chosen by TradingHD’s content board and even take special requests from our customers. This means our customers can establish personal learning goals and there are courses on the platform for every main asset class.

 

If there is one topic that you insist every trader should master; what would that be?

The question itself refers to the expertise of our educators, therefore, I have referred this question to our team of experts educators. Please find below what they had to say:

Ashwani Mathur encourages every trader to have a framework within which he defines his trend. For some it could be a long-term play and for others it could be shorter horizon periods. Whatever you choose depends on your personality. So understanding yourself – whether you are a long-term investor or a short-term trader – is absolutely critical in using the time frames you study.

You cannot be a short-term trader and try to implement the methods of Warren Buffett. Find your personality and then try to study the time frame of the trend that would suit it.

Helen Thomas points out risk management. It’s not just enough to make money, and focus on returns. You need to manage your downside and make sure you don’t lose too much!

Raoul Pal insists every trader should know how to research their own independent trade ideas if they want to succeed in trading or investing.

Lex van Dam insists that there has to be a balanced mix of crucial topics to master and this has also been the foundation of his flagship 5-Step-Trading® methodology. Every trader has to learn how to generate original investment ideas, how to do fundamental and technical analysis, how to manage risk, and how your own character, mental makeup helps determine whether you will be successful in buying and selling for a profit – trading psychology.

Louise Cooper encourages to be hyper aware of the costs of trading and / or investing.

Mark Chapman said:

What I’ve observed over the years is that there is something about the way price moves which focuses our attention and makes us take action. And that action can and does often lead to financial loss. Traders do not like losing.

For the savvy Trapped Trading protagonist, this creates a great opportunity. If we know many retail traders trade in a reactive fashion, and that nobody likes losing, we can understand with perfect clarity where these groups of traders will liquidate their positions. With this information you will be able to understand the losing human behavioural patterns which repeat and hopefully avoid financial loss yourself.

Steve Ward rounded it off by concluding “I dont think you can put it down to one thing….maybe the big three though are…having the required skills and knowledge to trade what you are trading…having an effective trading strategy and the ability to flex and adapt this over time…thirdly the psychology to allow you to execute your strategy and optimise your skills and knowledge effectively”.

 

Why does TradingHD teach others? I mean, Lex van Dam was successful – why in the world would he give his time to teach others? 

Trading is Lex’s passion and professional path for 20+ years. When one has a real passion and achieves success, life doesn’t stop, does it? The next natural and wonderful thing about it is to share your experience with others and help others succeed while also continuing to do something you love most. This has been the motivating force for Lex and similarly for other educators on our platform.

TradingHD invites only those experts to join the platform who have at least 15+ years of proven expertise in the financial markets and also genuine passion for teaching and helping others succeed. All educators are full-time professionals still closely involved with financial markets on a daily basis, and they all agreed that by making their experience available to retail traders and investors they would be also contributing to the transparency and quality of the financial education industry which is also their way of giving back.

To make this a reality, we all agreed that this has to be run in a professional manner, and, therefore, TradingHD was launched as the first trading and investment education company in the world bringing high profile experts sharing their expertise with retail traders and investors via professionally built and managed business venture.

This is, of course, not a non-profit initiative and we have invested heavily to build the team, to run the business day-to-day, to have services and products which you would expect to receive from a professional education provider and we do have a commercial interest as a business.

However, a brilliant and unique part about this venture is that our quality of trading and investment education is premium and non-existent elsewhere, we do not use education as a tool to sell a financial product at the back of it, our customers receive genuine knowledge and mentorships.

In addition, we have the flexibility to serve retail clients as well as institutional clients having built a trustworthy network of high profile experts globally genuinely wanting help others succeed as opposed to many other so called ‘finance and trading educators’ out there selling trading secrets which do not exist, or even some established trading education companies out there driven purely by commercial interest.

 

A quick Google search for Forex Education, and to a seasoned eye, one will find endless pages of (for lack of a better word) “shady operators” looking to prey off the weak. How does someone new to trading make the differentiation between an solid service vs. the majority of nonsense out there?

This has reminded me of a great article I read called “Digitalization for the little guy” by McKinsey Global Institute.

Digitalization has opened opportunities not just for small business but for every each of us as an individual to participate in the global business (it only takes a few minutes to create your profile on Linkedin and offer your services to well established businesses across the world, doesn’t it?) and how do we know who is fake and who is a solid professional, which business is scam business, which business has a solid service?

Unfortunately, that makes us all just ‘little guys and girls’ in the era of digitalization with overload of information, choices and lack of know-how to find the best. But one should not forget conventional wisdom here as well, which always suggests that you have to make serious decisions without rushing, only once you have done enough research and comparison and when you know you are not acting based on a single emotion, for example, ‘I want to learn trading and I am going to enroll on the course right now’.

If you are looking for high quality education, check who your teachers/mentors are, check their professional history, expertise, see if this relates to what you are looking for, check free trial, see if you find customer support service friendly and helpful enough, check previous customers feedback, reviews, social media presence of the company, do not rush to buy into someone’s service just by purely reading commercially well written landing page from someone who promises you can drive Ferrari in two months time having to pay just 1000 USD for a ‘great’ course.

Always do your research and by that you will be able to differentiate between a well-written marketing text for the product which is most likely just a scam product vs a solid product. It is all very tricky indeed nowadays and the only way to find the best service for you is by conducting your own research prior to enrolling on the course. Research, research, research.

 

Can you share some success stories with us? How education has helped your clients long term and achieve their investment goals.

We continuously receive positive feedback from our subscribers and we have filmed some success stories which are shared on our website. As we are a young company (we only launched last summer), we cannot share our clients long-term success stories just yet, but some very committed traders have already noticed our service and have been regularly attending our webinars, online courses. Please refer to the testimonials section on our homepage to find videos for the below testimonials which we are very proud of as these come from professional people acknowledging the need for our service to achieve their long-term investment goals.

In addition, TradingHD only works with expert educators who believe themselves in the importance of education short-term to avoid big mistakes and long-term to succeed. Every educator on our platform is a proof of concept and a great example of how education and conventional wisdom makes one a great trader and/or investor and also a sensitive person towards the world around us wanting to share their experience and help others do better as well.

 

We’ve noticed that the majority of shady education providers out there use the old pump and dump tactics. Large convention halls packed desperate punters listening to beautiful people wearing large Rolex watches, designer clothes, video clips of Ferraris, private jets and helicopters (no names mentioned).

Clients get fired up, pay copious amounts of fees only to learn the “three steps to millions” type strategies and end up broke. Should the education industry be further regulated in a sense that any claims, testimonials, and or selling tactics made to be proven or at the minimum monitored by some regulatory body?

We certainly do not aim to do the politics and become a lobbying organization here to regulate the financial education industry, but should regulators decide to establish some sort of credibility measures required for people wanting to teach financial literacy, trading or investment education we would support such initiative as we also find it difficult to operate as professionally established business in the industry where self-made educators without real credibility produce and sell courses, have access to the same tools Internet provides us and makes it nearly impossible for consumers to identify good service provider vs scam, and eventually many people choose not to learn at all as a result, which is a loss for the whole financial world and economy.

As a business, we are already self-regulating as we have high professional standards, we share high ethics and morals, and, as a result we have a top quality product delivered by real experts and we hope to inspire others to be more self-aware as well. With regards to selling tactics, I’d say, this is just a subject of marketing and not a primary concern for our industry or any other industry – there is no damage to advertise a great product in a great attractive packaging, but what we (‘we’ – media, regulators, other professional financial institutions who want to operate in the clean and transparent market environment) have to ensure is just that once the attractive packaging is removed, there is a real product people find and a real honest support for as long as people choose to use the service they bought, including clear terms and conditions, privacy, refund policies, educational disclaimers, etc.

Thank you for having me!

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