A Quick Guide to Using TradingView Charting Software

One of the questions that a lot of traders have been asking me is recommendations for trading software, more specifically what charting software I am using.

Hence, in this video I am going to do a quick guide on TradingView, one of the most popular charting software that most traders are using at this point of time.

If you are totally new to this, this video tutorial will save you a lot of trial-and-error, by focusing on the essential features of this software.

Enjoy the video! 😀

Simple Video Tutorial: How to Set Up & Use the MT4 Trading Platform

This is a simple demonstration on how you can use the MT4 platform to:

  • Add and view charts
  • Add trendlines, support/resistance, indicators
  • Customise charts layout and colours
  • Toggle between different timeframes and charts
  • Place trades using various methods, including the EP, TP, SL

In this video, I did a sample trade on my live account to show how easy it is to place trades, and this can actually be done very easily via my mobile phone as well.

If you are keen to see more real-life examples, I will be logging in to my live trading accounts to show my open positions, and also take some new trades if there are any good opportunities.
Register to meet Spencer live: http://synapsetrading.com/trading-foundation-workshop/

See you there! 😀

Career Paths for the Trading & Fund Management Professional

Here are a list of common career paths in trading, with each requiring different skill sets. When you send in your applications, it would be good to indicate what kind of career path you are looking for, so that it would be easier to find a good match. We are always on the lookout for trading job opportunities offered by our partners, and we will send in our database of resumes submitted by our students, hence it would be a good idea to send yours in early too. 🙂

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Sales & Trading (S&T)
This highly paid and highly coveted position is usually offered by investment banks, but are hard to come by, especially given the freeze in global headcount for most front office roles. Typically, the basic requirements would be a degree, as well as stellar academic achievements. Previous experience working in a bank would also improve your chances.

“Sales and trading is one of the key functions of an investment bank. The term refers to the various activities relating to the buying and selling of securities or other financial instruments. Typically an investment bank will perform these tasks on behalf of itself and its clients. In market making, traders will buy and sell financial products primarily to facilitate the investment and trading activities of its clients with the goal of making an incremental amount of money on each trade. The Sales component refers to the investment bank’s sales force, whose primary job is to call on institutional and high-net-worth investors to suggest trading ideas and take orders. Sales desks then communicate their clients’ orders to the appropriate trading desks, who can price and execute trades, or structure new products that fit a specific need.” – Wikipedia

Proprietary Trading
In the past, most banks used to have this job function, but the number has been on the decline. Nowadays, most of the hiring comes from private funds (prop funds). Typically, these funds hire experienced traders to trade the firm’s funds, but usually has training programs to train new traders to groom them into successful traders. The selection is stringent, and the turnover rate is high, as it is not an easy environment to thrive in. Usually, remuneration is on a profit-sharing basis (ranging from 30-80%), with a small allowance, so one should have at least a year of savings to live on during the learning phase. Strategies vary, but most involve high-frequency trading on short timeframes, with high-leverage products such as futures and options.

“Proprietary trading (also “prop trading” or PPT) occurs when a firm trades stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities, their derivatives, or other financial instruments, with the firm’s own money as opposed to its customers’ money, so as to make a profit for itself. They may use a variety of strategies such as index arbitrage, statistical arbitrage, merger arbitrage, fundamental analysis, volatility arbitrage or global macro trading, much like a hedge fund.” – Wikipedia


Fund Management

Fund management typically requires more experience and a track record, and traders are expected to have an advanced knowledge of trading. Products can vary widely, and strategies and usually flexible, depending on the discretion given by the fund. Given the larger capital base, strategies may be geared towards a longer holding period. Typically, there will be some sort of benchmark and drawdown limits, and remuneration is a combination of a base salary (management fee) and profit-sharing. 

“A hedge fund is an investment fund that can undertake a wider range of investment and trading activities than other funds, but which is generally only open to certain types of investors specified by regulators. These investors are typically institutions, such as pension funds, university endowments and foundations, or high-net-worth individuals, who are considered to have the knowledge or resources to understand the nature of the funds. As a class, hedge funds invest in a diverse range of assets, but they most commonly trade liquid securities on public markets. They also employ a wide variety of investment strategies, and make use of techniques such as short selling and leverage.” – Wikipedia


Research Analyst
These jobs are offered by banks and brokerage firms, as well as some independent research houses. These jobs are suitable for those who have good analytical and writing skills, and enjoy doing research and analysis, but do not like the stress of executing trades and holding positions. Depending on the level of experience, these jobs are usually paid quite well at banks and financial institutions.

“A financial analyst, securities analyst, research analyst, equity analyst, or investment analyst is a person who performs financial analysis for external or internal clients as a core part of the job. Writing reports or notes expressing opinions is always a part of “sell-side” (brokerage) analyst job and is often not required for “buy-side” (investment firms) analysts. Traditionally, analysts use fundamental analysis principles but technical chart analysis and tactical evaluation of the market environment are also routine. Often at the end of the assessment of analyzed securities, an analyst would provide a rating recommending an investment action, e.g. to buy, sell, or hold the security.” – Wikipedia


Brokerage & Dealing

These jobs come in various forms, including working as an in-house dealer for a retail brokerage or an institutional brokerage, or an independent remisier. These jobs require less analysis and trading skills, since you will be mainly executing orders for clients, although clients may rely on your input to make their decisions. Remuneration is typically a base salary plus a sales commission if certain targets are met.

“A brokerage firm, or simply brokerage, is a financial institution that facilitates the buying and selling of financial securities between a buyer and a seller. Brokerage firms serve a clientele of investors who trade public stocks and other securities, usually through the firm’s agent stockbrokers. A traditional, or “full service”, brokerage firm usually undertakes more than simply carrying out a stock or bond trade. The staff of this type of brokerage firm is entrusted with the responsibility of researching the markets to provide appropriate recommendations and in so doing they direct the actions of pension fund managers and portfolio managers alike.” – Wikipedia

My Reading List – Top Trading & Investing Books I have Read Over the Years (Updated)

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Here are some of the better books among the 200+ that I have read over the years, so if you want to learn the basics & foundations of trading by yourself, these might come in handy.

However, do note that trading for real is very different from textbook examples. If you are new to trading, you will realise the difference once you start trading.

If you are serious about learning this skill on your own, make sure you finish all these books before you start putting your real money into the market. That was what I did when I started my trading career. This is just the bare minimum, and anything less is likely to end in failure. Even if you finish reading all these books, it is unlikely that you will be able to trade well.

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There are many things which cannot be learnt from books, such as “market feel”, behavioral analysis, applied price action, and real trading psychology. These can only be learnt by paying “tuition fees” to the market (paper trading or demo trading is a waste of time), or learning from a real trader who has mastered these skills and get them to guide you. Investing in education is a small price to pay to help you avoid the costly mistakes in trading.

Without further ado, here are the list of books:

  • The Secrets of Economic Indicators – Bernard Baumohl
  • Freakonomics – Stephen Dubner & Steven Levitt
  • The Undercover Economist – Tim Harford
  • The Pocketbook of Economic Indicators – Manual Jesus-Backus
  • 
International Economics – Paul R. Krugman
  • Trader Vic – Methods of a Wallstreet Master – Victor Sperando
  • The Trader’s Guide to Key Economic Indicators – Richard Yamarone
  • 
One Up on Wall Street – Peter Lynch, John Rothchild
  • How to Make Money in Stocks – William O’Neil
  • The Alchemy of Finance – George Soros
  • Hot Commodities – Jim Rogers
  • Investment Biker – Jim Rogers
  • Technical Analysis from A to Z – Steve Achelis
  • 
Technical Analysis – Power Tools for Active Investors – Gerald Appel
  • Bollinger on Bollinger Bands – John Bollinger
  • Technical Analysis Demystified: A Self-Teaching Guide – Constance Brown
  • 
All About Technical Analysis : The Easy Way to Get Started – Constance Brown
  • Technical Analysis for the Trading Professional – Constance Brown
  • 
Fibonacci Analysis – Constance Brown
  • Mastering the Trade – John Carter
  • Trend following – Michael W. Covel
  • Trend Commandments – Michael W. Covel
  • The Complete Turtle Trader – Michael W. Covel
  • How I made $2,000,000 in the Stock Market – Nicolas Darvas
  • Understanding RSI – Edward Dobson, Roger Reimer
  • Integrated Pitchfork Analysis – Mircea Dologa
  • 
Technical Analysis of Stock Trends – Robert D. Edwards, John Magee
  • Entries and Exits – Alexander Elder
  • Trading for a Living – Alexander Elder
  • Sell and Sell Short – Alexander Elder
  • Come into my Trading Room – Alexander Elder
  • Way of the Turtle – Curtis Faith
  • Inside the Mind of the Turtles: How the World’s Best Traders Master Risk – Curtis Faith
  • The Master Swing Trader – Alan Farley
  • The Elliot Wave Principle – A. J. Frost, Robert R. Prechter Jr.
  • Truth of the Stock Tape & Wall Street Stock Selector – William D. Gann
  • 45 Years in Wall Street – William D. Gann
  • 
New Stock Trend Detector – William D. Gann
  • How to Make Profits in Commodities – William D. Gann
  • Trend Trading – Daryl Guppy
  • Snapshot Trading – Daryl Guppy
  • New Trading Systems and Methods – Perry Kaufman
  • Breakthroughs in Technical Analysis: New Thinking from the World’s Top Minds – David Keller
  • How to Trade in Stocks – Jesse Livermore
  • Fibonacci and Gann Applications in Financial Markets – George MacLean
  • The W.D. Gann Method of Trading – Gerald Marisch
  • Dynamic Trading – Robert C. Miner
  • High Probability Trading Strategies – Robert C. Miner
  • 
Candlestick Charting Explained – Gregory L. Morris
  • Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets – John J. Murphy
  • Intermarket Technical Analysis – John J. Murphy
  • How to Get Started in Active Trading and Investing – David Nassar
  • Japanese Candlesticks Charting Techniques – Steve Nisson
  • The Candlestick Course – Steve Nisson
  • Beyond Candlesticks: New Japanese Charting Techniques Revealed – Steve Nison
  • Timing the Trade: How Price and Volume Move Markets! – Tom O’Brien
  • The Secret Science of Price and Volume: Techniques for Spotting Market Trends, Hot Sectors, and the Best Stocks – Timothy Ord
  • 
Candlestick and Pivot Point Trading Triggers – John L. Person
  • Technical Analysis Explained – Martin J. Prings
  • The Visual Investor – Martin J. Prings
  • Martin Pring on Price Patterns – Martin J. Prings
  • Dow Theory for the 21st Century – Jack Schannep
  • Trade like Jesse Livermore – Richard Smitten
  • 
The Secret Code of Japanese Candlesticks – Felipe Tudela
  • New Concepts in Technical Trading Systems – J. Welles Wilder
  • Secrets for Profiting in Bull and Bear Markets – Stan Weinstein
  • 
Stock Market Technique, No 1 – Richard D. Wyckoff
  • Stock Market Technique, No 2 – Richard D. Wyckoff
  • Studies in Tape Reading – Richard D. Wyckoff
  • Wall Street Ventures & Adventures Thru 40 Years – Richard D. Wyckoff
  • How I Trade and Invest in Stocks and Bonds – Richard D. Wyckoff
  • R N Elliott’s Masterworks, the Definitive Collection – R. N. Elliott, Robert R., Jr. Prechter
  • Technical Analysis: The Complete Resource for Financial Market Technicians – Charles D.Kirkpatrick II, Julie R. Dahlquist
  • Ichimoku Charts: An Introduction to Ichimoku Kinko Clouds – Nicole Elliott
  • Practical Speculation – Victor Niederhoffer, Laurel Kenner
  • The Wall Street Waltz – Kenneth L. Fisher
  • Stock Market Wizards – Jack D. Schwager
  • The New Market Wizards – Jack D. Schwager
  • Millionaire Traders – Kathy Lien, Boris Schlossberg
  • The Battlefield for Investment Survival – G. M. Loeb
  • Fooled by Randomness – Nassim Nicholas Taleb
The Black Swan – Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • 
The Education of a Speculator – Victor Niederhoffer
  • Liar’s Poker – Michael Lewis
  • Reading Price Charts Bar by Bar – Al Brooks
  • The Lexus and the Olive Tree – Thomas L. Friedman
  • The World is Flat – Thomas L. Friedman
  • Reminiscences of a Stock Operator – Edwin Lefevre
  • Trading in the Zone – Mark Douglas
  • The Disciplined Trader – Mark Douglas
  • Investment Psychology Explained – Martin J. Prings
  • Irrational Exuberrance – Robert J. Shiller
  • Beyond Greed and Fear – Hersh Shefrin
  • Trading Rules that Work: The 28 Lessons Every Trader Must Master – Jason Alan Jankovsky
  • Day Trading and Swing Trading the Currency Market: Technical and Fundamental Strategies to Profit from Market Moves – Kathy Lien
  • Bird Watching In Lion Country 2010 – Dirk Du Toit
  • Pairs Trading: Quantitative Methods and Analysis – Ganapathy Vidyamurthy
  • Quantitative Equity Portfolio Management – Ludwig B Chincarini, Daehwan Kim
  • Technical Traders Guide to Computer Analysis of Futures Market – Charles Le Beau, David Lucas
  • The Definitive Guide to Point and Figure – Jeremy Du Plessis
  • SteidMayer on Markets: Trading with Market Profile – SteidMayer J. Peter, Steven B. Hawkins
  • Quantitative Trading Systems, Practical Methods for Design, Testing, and Validation – Howard B. Bandy
  • Expert Advisor Programming – Andrew Young
  • Future Trend from Past Cycles – Brian Millard
  • Cloud Charts: Trading Success with the Ichimoku Technique – David Linton

Note: I will continue to add to this list as I discover and read more good books. Feel free to recommend any books not on this list!

Thanks! 😀

Tips for your Resume: How I Managed to Land a Job With the Big Boys

The point of a resume is to provide your future employer or headhunter a glimpse of your achievements and skill sets, and the purpose of this is to stand out sufficiently, so as to get an opportunity for an interview.

Resume-Tips

After looking through many resumes and talking to many employers, I have a pretty good idea of what they are looking out for, and what should be avoided in your resume. Here are some of my personal guidelines:

      • Keep your resume to ONE single-sided page. Employers have piles of resumes to look at. They will only spend a few seconds scanning your resume to decide if you are worth a shot. They do not have time to scan two pages.
      • Use a decent template. A resume with ugly formatting may get tossed away before getting read.
      • A photo is optional, but if you are including one, make sure it is a professionally taken portrait shot, and not one simply taken using your webcam.
      • Provide relevant data, but not more. Relevant data includes your name, address, mobile number and email address. Irrelevant data includes your birthday, height, weight, race/religion, horoscope, next-of-kin, favourite colour, etc
      • Have a professional-sounding email address. School email addresses are acceptable, but for personal email addresses, please use one that resembles your name, eg. john_tanxx@gmail.com, instead of something like cute_boi88@gmail.com. You get the idea.
      • Put in only the best stuff. Given the space limitations, and considering the few seconds of attention that will be given to your resume, you want to make sure they read the good stuff, so don’t dilute and bury it within other less important experiences. This is not an autobiography, so it is not necessary to write in every single experience you have been through. Write only what is relevant to the job, and things that will possible enable you to stand out. Hint: no one really cares about the medal you won in primary/secondary school.
      • Categorise your experiences. Common categories include “Education”, “Awards & Honours”, “Leadership & Activities”, “Professional Certifications”, “Skills & Interests”
      • Include the time periods for each work and education experience
      • After stating each work experience, include two or three bullet points of elaboration to give a brief description of what you did and what you achieved

If you have any additional tips to share, feel free to add them in the comments below.
Good luck! 😀