Read the full interview here:
1. What excites you about trading as a career? What inspired you to start Synapse Trading?
Since I was young, I have always enjoyed mental challenges and puzzles. In high school, I was a national-ranked chess player. After graduation, I didn’t want a typical boring 9-to-5 office job doing something repetitive, and when I realized that there was a job that allowed me to make a living solely by utilizing my mental abilities, I got hooked instantly. From there, I went on to join several proprietary trading and private equity funds to trade professionally.
After spending so many years perfecting my craft, I wanted to provide a platform for new traders and investors to learn the skills which can provide them financial freedom.
2. Typically how much daily time do you spend on market analysis? For long term traders, is it important to track the markets every day?
I have 2 parts to my portfolio. The first part, which is my passive portfolio, is based on asset rotation, and for this I only need to rebalance it once every month. The second part, which is my trading portfolio, requires more attention, but my strategies are designed to be hands-free, hence I only spend 15 minutes a day placing new trades and managing my open positions. The rest of the time, I just let my positions run. As trading legend Jesse Livermore said, “the real money was made in the waiting.”
3. What’s your opinion on the impact of news and social media on stock prices and market trends? It seems to be making a big impact in US markets, is it happening in Asia too?
There are 4 main factors which affect market prices: psychological, technical, economic, monetary. When I study a price chart, I do not have to consider other factors, because all news/fundamentals/rumours are all factored into the price, and discounted for. Hence, as long as I follow my setups, I do not have to worry about tracking or monitoring the latest news.
4. How do you see the trader training space evolve in Singapore over the next 3-5 years?
In the past, in order to teach, one had to have many years of trading experience and a background in professional trading. However, recently many bloggers with little professional experience have started proclaiming their expertise and coming out to teach, with the danger of creating a market for lemons. I foresee potential controls or regulations in this area, hopefully some kind of certification or minimum qualification criteria for new trainers.
5. A lot of our readers are small or medium sized traders who cannot invest in expensive trend analysis systems or dashboards. Do you have any suggestions for managing stock analysis dashboards at low costs?
Back when I was doing intraday trading for the funds, we had such dashboards (like CQG, Bloomberg, etc) to help us track all the key news and data. This was because we needed to react quickly to capture small price movements in highly leveraged futures and derivatives.
However, for retail traders, I don’t think it is necessary. My philosophy now is to keep it simple, and to focus on a few key things that will make you a lot of money, instead of trying to have a finger in every pie.
6. Would you like to give any advice to startup traders?
Trading is a skill that can make you a lot of money exponentially, but before you attempt to reach for the stars, make sure you know what you’re doing. This means mastering the right skills, and you can start by opening a demo account, attending a course, or reading a book.
Spencer is an avid globetrotter who achieved financial freedom in his 20s, while trading & teaching across 60+ countries. As a former professional trader in private equity and proprietary funds, he has over 15 years of market experience, and has been featured on more than 20 occasions in the media.