nearly 15 years now, I have run courses, mainly in technical analysis, at all levels teaching institutional traders, portfolio managers, analysts, corporate and bank treasuries, commodities, particularly energy, hedgers. Many many people from many asset classes and levels. Most in-house courses for firms are Essentials or a follow-on Advanced Technical Analysis course. It is great to be invited back for more so often. In these cases, it is easy for me to create a content rich course as I already know who they are, their time-frames, asset classes, work-flow and their level of knowledge. I can deliver an Advanced course very much suited to their needs. I have the information to do this.
In London, I teach an Advanced Technical Analysis course about every two months. Very often their attendees have been to my Introduction to Technical Analysis course. London attracts people from all over the world. We limit the groups to no more than ten signups to ensure everyone gets a personalised course. Most of those who come are referrals from others who have attended one of my courses. Usually, less than half the attendees are from the UK. The others come from all over the world. Often they are combining the learning with a trip to see their counterparts or clients. Sometimes they bring their partners and have a nice weekend in London. I know these people and know what level they are at and what they have come to the Advanced course to learn. But some of those who join us are unknown to me.
Sometimes I am meeting the people for the first time, knowing only their names, firms and job titles. What did they mean by Advanced Technical Analysis? What are they expecting? Why did they come?
How do I handle this? I am experienced in finding their level and what they are looking for quite quickly so I can deliver the course they want at the level they want. Immediately after I introduce myself, I ask them to introduce themselves to the others and to me. I ask them to answer the following questions as they introduce themselves. 1. Name and for whom do you. 2. What is your job? I am not interested that you are a Vice-President – what do you do? I ask them to answer in such a way I can write down some security symbols and a timeframe in which they operate. If they say they are an FX Spot trader I can write down currencies including Exotics if they are from an Exotic country. If they say Asian Equities Analyst, I will probably ask them to give me some RIC Codes/Symbols for stocks that interest them. If they say European Power Hedger, I will know exactly what they want.
3. The next question I asked them to answer in their introduction is, what level of knowledge of technical analysis do you have? This is a very difficult question to answer. Some (only a few) are modest. Some don’t want to admit they are not Advanced at all. How to help them answer without embarrassment but helpfully for me? I suggest the following answers: I am new to technical analysis/trading but could not come to the Introductory course. I have been in the markets for a while but as an analyst I’ve not used technical analysis before. I use technical analysis in my work but learned it from colleagues by osmosis and attended a course some years ago but want to get it sorted out so it works for me. I use it every day and swear by it. I am a professional technical Analyst and write our firm’s research report and am hear to hear what you say. That puts people at rest, and their responses give me a good idea of their level of knowledge of technical analysis.
4. I ask one question more: what, on the list of subjects we are due to cover particularly attracted you to sign up. What would disappoint you if I left out? I suggest they do not answer now but once we get going, and we know each other better.
Armed with this I decide what I am going to include in the two days we have together. If there are only OTC people there, I do not waste their time doing anything to do with volume analysis. If there are lots of equities people and strategists there, I include Relative rotation GraphsTM. If there are prop traders there, I include a fair bit of mean reversion techniques. I list what I propose to cover and ask them to talk to me by lunchtime about anything else they want to be included. I ask again at lunch on the second day.
I feel that being so thorough and flexible over the content of the Advanced course I earn the very complimentary feedback after the course. “I learned a lot.” “It was just what I wanted.” “Not long enough.”
In my next blog on the subject, What do you Mean by Advanced Technical Analysis, I am going to look at another group of people who book me and are the hardest of all to fathom? When a firm or bank books me for an Advanced Technical Analysis course. What are they after? How do I find out? The person I am dealing with, often a Human Resources manager, does not really know. I will share more of my secrets soon.