PM: = Paul Mullen (Interviewer)
RJ: = Richard Joyson (Mr Charts)
PM: What markets do you trade and what do you do?
RJ: I trade almost entirely U.S. shares on a day trading basis. I’m in trades for really anything from half a minute to as long as two or three hours. So, there isn’t an average length of time that I’m in a trade. I’m in a trade as long as it’s going my way, and if I get a signal to exit the trade, I take the signal. If the signal comes a minute after I enter, then I exit. If a signal doesn’t come for another two hours, then that’s when I exit.
Basically, I trade the U.K. afternoon, (which is the U.S. morning). Occasionally, I trade in the evening, but generally not. I used to trade the evening and the evening only, when I was a dentist in practice but I packed in dentistry many years ago now, and I trade fulltime. Before that, I was trading the evenings only and on my afternoon off. But, I enjoyed it so much that I eventually gave up dentistry several years ago to trade fulltime. I make my money in the afternoon and do social things in the evening. It’s a nice, easy, enjoyable life and my only regret is that I didn’t do it years before.
PM: What you’re saying is you’ve developed the approach you have to trading from when you were originally trading in the evening, when you were working in dentistry, to where you’re primarily now working in the afternoon, and you spend the evenings doing more leisurable things or other activities. How did you get started doing this? Many people have different ways of coming to it but how did you get started?
RJ: I can’t say I had a great interest in trading years and years ago. It was triggered in the 1980’s by the Thatcher privatizations. I’d read what they were saying in the financial papers and newspapers and gradually became interested. I bought some shares in the privatizations, and gradually got more and more interested. I started trading U.K. shares on a swing trading basis. This was back in the days when you could do something called T25 which was to buy or sell a share and you didn’t actually have to settle the account until 23 days later, 2 days before the 25 days elapsed.
I traded like that for a while, on a swing trading basis. That proved successful and I quite enjoyed that. I also traded some FTSE futures and also some fairly simple options trades. Again, I seemed to be able to do those okay. Eventually it dawned on me, probably later than it should have done, that when the U.K. market opened it often gapped. The reason for that is the U.S. market was trading the previous evening, not to mention the Far East and so on; it struck me that what I was doing was to trade the tail rather than trade the dog.
I then began to look at U.S. shares. There were set ups and triggers and ways of looking at things, which I had been using successfully with U.K. shares, so I simply started off in the same way with the U.S. shares, testing the same concepts, testing the same methods to see how well they worked. I started out thinking they probably wouldn’t work as well and to my surprise I found that they worked better.
That basically enabled me to start thinking about short-term trading, where the capital I had could, in reality, be almost geared through re-use; I could use it repeatedly rather than it being tied up for a period of time. I found that trading in the evenings was working and very well. I’d come home after a long day at dentistry, and was trading some evenings. Obviously, some evenings were family orientated, but I found that I could do it. Things were working. My set ups and triggers were working, and I carried on doing that.
After a while, I began to realize this could actually be my living. I could get out of dentistry, which was beginning to pall a bit in the sense of the responsibilities of it: the regulations, the fact that you had to achieve a high turnover before you even broke even, all of these pressures, stresses, and commuting and so on.
I began to think seriously about trading for a living. That was something I should have done earlier than I did do, but at the time when I made the decision to give up dentistry, our children were 19, 16, and 12, so they were entering a period of time when they were going to be very expensive. I was reluctant to give up the practice.
I phased things in and got somebody to work for me part time. I did two or three days of fulltime trading. That worked well, so eventually with a great deal of hesitation I gave up dentistry and started trading for a living.
PM: One of thing things you said there, Richard, was after you explained the progression from how you got started, through to where you currently are now, you’re obviously known as a day trader. How long have you been doing the day trading aspect, and how long have you been doing it completely professionally, in terms of just time?
RJ: I’ve been doing it fulltime for 10 years now.
PM: You’ve had two parts to the way you’ve set up your trading career. The first part, you were within dentistry still and you were trading in the evening. You switched at some point to trading fulltime. How long had you been doing it part time and then how long have you been doing it fulltime?
RJ: I was doing it part time, trading U.S. shares, for about a year or two. Then when I was satisfied that what I was doing was essentially working, basically whatever the market itself was doing, whatever the market was trending up, trending down, ranging, basically going nowhere, grinding up slowly, grinding down slowly; once I was convinced that the different set of methods I was using would be effective in all those markets, then I made the decision to go fulltime.
I sold the practice in 1999. I kept on working for two mornings per month to keep my hand in, just in case anything went wrong with trading. I did that until 2004, which is almost seven years ago. In other words, in 2000 I had been trading fulltime, day trading U.S. shares and a little bit of U.K. shares to begin within that period. I certainly did quite a few shorts after the tech market rolled over in March of 2000. I’ve been fulltime for about ten years.
PM: You said a bit about the fact that you worked the afternoons and I know you do some preparation work. What are the hours like in what you’re doing now?
RJ: I start doing some preparation work about an hour or an hour and a half before the market opens. That preparation work consists, broadly speaking, of reading any stories that came out after the market closed the previous evening, and reading all the news stories that come out before the market opens. That?s to give me some general feel for the sentiment of the market when it opens, and also to produce a watch list before the market opens, where because of news stories, something drastic might happen. Obviously, there are other ways of doing that, including using a pre-market scanner, which I do anyway or do as well. I do like reading the news stories so I get a sense of things. Also, if you just use a scanner, then you’re not picking up on the overall economic and economic-political moves, which might affect the way the market is going.
I start generally about an hour or an hour and a half before the market itself actually opens, and that watch list – I have a private, subscription only alert site which is educational and I always alert people to the stocks I’m looking at before I trade them. I post on that, and put my alert list on there. I also run scans throughout the afternoon and put the results on there as well. I also put the results of my trades on there and why I’ve gone in and why I’ve exited, and what the profitable ones were and what the losers were. I also post up charts of trades I?ve done with explanations. I don?t take a trade without alerting my members to what I?m looking at before I actually take the trade.
PM: You started to talk about the fact that you offer a service to people that alerts them to particular trades. Do you want to say a bit more about that, about what the service is?
RJ: It’s tied up essentially with my coaching. I do coaching a maximum of one day a week and trade the other days. I enjoy coaching. I enjoy teaching and I have to admit; I do actually enjoy getting out of the house, away from my own screens, and away from trading once a week. The point is that throughout my many years in dentistry, I was essentially living my working life in one room – a dental surgery. It dawned on me not too long after I gave up dentistry that I was exchanging that for working in one room all the time.
I wanted to get out. I belonged to a group of traders before that, a private group of traders, and we used to give talks to each other about what we were doing, how we were doing, our own field of expertise and so on. Somebody asked me if I’d teach some friends of theirs. Initially, I said no because I couldn’t see myself doing that. Eventually I said yes because my attitude was if other people can do it, I can do it, perhaps at least as well and possibly better so I’ll have a go.
The coaching started from there. Most of them come from personal recommendation from others who have done my course. That’s been very enjoyable. I’ve met some very interesting people. I’ve gone three times to the United States and several times to different places in Europe. The coaching has been very enjoyable. It’s been good being able to convey information in what I think is an easy to understand way, and being able to give people the ability to change their lives as a result of what I’ve said to them and then their own efforts afterwards: practicing, testing, and gradually learning, gaining experience and getting to be able to trade. That’s been good.
I do it in other ways, as well. I also do remote coaching by telephone to people all over the world via phone and email images. I also have my course on video files. I email those to people so the whole course is there on video files and that goes all over the world. That is what is tied in with my private site. Everybody or virtually everybody on the private alert site has been trained by me. It’s a great help to them learning, as it’s live as everything happens. The people there have been trained by me; they know what my set ups are, they know what my triggers are, they know how and why I do things.
PM: You talked about various things there. How long have you been coaching?
RJ: I started in 2002, so it’s eight and a half years.
PM: You talked about various aspects of the way you do that. One thing I’d like to ask you, and you partially covered this, but is there anything else that is included in a typical day for you?
RJ: My typical day is essentially having the morning to myself, starting off preparation for the markets around lunch time. I?m answering questions from people who I’ve coached who have emailed me, and answering questions that come from people on the website. They email me questions so they get support that way. Basically, by about six o’clock in the evening UK time I’m finished and the evening is mine. I work, if you can call it work, half a day a week. I have to say it doesn’t really feel like work. It does feel very enjoyable and when I’m away on holiday I do miss it. It’s not that I’m obsessed with it but I do enjoy it.
PM: How has the credit crunch affected this industry you’re involved in?
RJ: As far as my own trading is concerned, absolutely not. It’s made no difference to me. There certainly were more opportunities, more shorting opportunities during the worst of the situation, about fifteen or sixteen months ago, but it’s not affected me in any way whatsoever. I’ve been immune from it.
PM: There are a number of new financial legislative activities that have come out. Has that had any impact on your trading at all?
RJ: None whatsoever. I would expect that in the next few weeks, the Securities and Exchange Commission is going to come out with new regulations to impose on the exchanges, which will almost certainly involve some sort of uptick rule. I can’t remember when it was originally abandoned, probably a couple of years ago, I think, but I never had a problem with the uptick rule.
PM: Do you want to explain what the uptick rule is?
RJ: The uptick rule, like I said; at the moment it doesn’t apply anyway. It’s largely irrelevant. It was a very complex thing, but the last move of price had to have been up before you could actually short, even if it was just a one cent rise. What the details of the new regulations will be when they come in remains to be seen, but I cannot imagine that it’s going to create any sort of problem, unless they’re quite stupid about it and insist on a much larger rise before anybody can short a stock. I don’t think so. It’s also going to be typically a political thing, which is essentially closing the door after the horse has bolted.
PM: Yes, I tend to agree with you there. I think the legislative things that normally come in tend to just stop people doing business, which is not what you want.
RJ: It’s not. You need to add liquidity to the market, not remove liquidity from the market, but of course politicians do things not so much for economic reasons but for political reasons. They play to the grandstand. They say the sort of things which people want to hear because it makes them popular. They basically don’t understand the details of the whole financial industry themselves.
PM: What advice would you give to somebody who wants to get started in trading?
RJ: I think it depends on what sort of instrument they want to trade. When I’m coaching people, I personally prefer it if their mind is completely open, a blank board, not full of all the popular but wrong ideas they?ve picked up. It helps if they basically understand the rudiments, understand what candles are, what support and resistance are, etc. Those rudiments of TA are freely available on the web. No-one should pay for that.
Then I think they need to read and understand. I don’t even think there are a number of books people should read or anything like that. I just think they should have the attitude in mind that when they start trading they must not think about gambling, not about getting instantly rich, not regarding the market as a casino where all they have to do is paint by numbers, 1-2-3-4 and the money will pour out of the one-arm bandit which is the market.
Trading isn’t like that and they need to understand that. They also need to have a strong degree of self discipline. If they haven’t got that then they’re going to start over trading, they’re going to not be in control of their emotions. People need to understand that trading is not simply about following simple rules 1-2-3-4; there are a lot of other things involved in it.
I say to people, "If I can do it, then I think anybody can do it." As far as learning things, I have to say that the First Steps forums on Trade2Win are very good. Pick it up, free, on the First Steps posts of Trade2Win. The stuff is there so people have got the rudiments. After that, they need to think about what type of instrument they want to trade, and what kind of time scale they’re interested in, and so on. Everybody is different and everybody comes to it from a different place, and copes with it differently.
Trading is not as simple as people think, but like everything else it’s do-able. The image that I have, and I say to people who I’m coaching, is I think trading has a lot of analogies with driving. If you’re in a situation where you’ve never been in a car before, you start driving lessons. You sit in the car and you’re told that you have these two or three pedals to control, the steering, the wheel, the lights; you have to learn the highway code. You have to learn this book of things. You have to be able to read the road ahead and be aware of what?s ahead, at the side and behind you. You have to be able to make pretty much instant decisions or decisions that you’ve only got a few seconds to take, and you’re in a dynamic situation which is changing constantly. If you say that to somebody who is just about to start to drive, and they’ve never been in a car before, that person is going to think, "Oh my goodness, there is no way on this planet I can ever do that. There’s too much. It?s too difficult. It’s multi-tasking. It’s beyond me. It’s impossible." Then that person says, since there seem to be an awful lot of people driving cars, it must be do-able. I think that’s a reasonable analogy with trading.
You need to come to trading with a humble frame of mind, and in fact I think you need to carry on trading in a humble frame of mind. I’ve seen it happen with many of the people I’ve coached; they get long runs of successes and they start getting arrogant, a bit full of themselves, and they start thinking that they’re invulnerable, masters of trading. They start over-trading. Then their emotions start kicking in and they fall to pieces. They then need to stop, take stock, and start all over again. You’ve got to have a bit of a peculiar type of character to be a successful trader and to be very much in control of yourself and your emotions
PM: I agree. Particularly in view of the fact that there are certain people who have been very successful who suddenly blow up their accounts and I think as you’re saying; being consistent is probably one of the most important things. Is there anything else you wanted to add, Richard?
RJ: Not that I can think of really, no.
PM: Thank you Richard
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