Akif Din is a 19-year-old junior trader. Having been trading since February 2017, he gained his trading qualification in May 2017, and in a new series exclusive to TraderLife, he offers some behind-the-scenes insight on the life of a trainee trader. Here's part 2...
The Final Steps at London Academy of Trading
At the end of my course study and exam, I was on the final part of the course completing my preliminary trading strategy. With so many different technical indicators and tools to use, I began by examining and selecting what I thought would be best for my style of trading.
I had created an in-depth and detailed trade plan, including my main objectives, STEM (Setup, Trigger, Execution and Management) and the pros and cons of my strategy. After my mentors at London Academy of Trading (LAT) reviewed my trade plan, I finalised my plan by making a few adjustments suggested in the feedback. I was now ready to implement my trading strategies in my assessment month.
My mornings for the entire month would begin with a very methodical routine concentrating on fundamentals, overnight news and macroeconomics. I would read relevant news articles, filtering it down to only the useful bits. This would take me about 40 minutes in the morning.
A daily session of the live webinars from an expert was something I was very keen to continue focusing on for further research and learning. After doing enough research each morning, I would get into analysing the charts and begin by evaluating the overnight moves. I would follow my strategy systematically and look for any trading opportunities. I was very cautious with my first few trades, as I knew this was an assessed piece of work and was a vital part to the entire course.
Once I found an opportunity to enter a trade, I filled out a detailed logbook, which included the traded asset, entry/exit prices, stop loss, targets, exit types and a psychology tracker. I would also be filling out a trade sheet for every trade I entered. The trade sheet gave me recorded observation of why I entered a trade, including factors of what determined me to close a trade. The final part of my trade sheet included a detailed account of what I had learnt from each trade.
I began my trading assessment with a couple of losses. I spent some time analysing the reasons behind these losses and once the mistakes were recognised, I went back to my trade plan and made some changes. This helped remove any psychological biases that may have affected me after making these losses. Regardless the losses affecting me slightly, I still trusted what I was taught at LAT and was still keen on my strategy.
A week was spent on campus in my assessed period, which meant I had more direct contract with my mentors. On my first day on campus, I met the whole team and spent some time going through a few questions I had. My morning routine on campus wasn’t any different than my time away from campus. I still stuck to my essential morning research and analysis before placing each trade. I spent a lot of the week talking to my mentors and going over my trade plan again, and how I was doing in my assessed trading so far. Near the end of the week, I had an end of week review, which was going over a good and bad trade.
My one week on campus was very useful for me as it gave me a lot of insight on my trading and made me more aware of my mistakes pointed out by an expert. Everyone was very helpful in providing me with knowledge and important information. What was beneficial was that everyone at LAT was very knowledgeable on the subject; regardless of the question an accurate and understandable answer was delivered back to me. The week was a very beneficial and enjoyable experience and resulted in me gaining very relevant and precise information to help me for the remainder of my assessment.
Now in my final week of assessment, I had to begin preparing for my presentation, analysing my assessment month. I finished my assessment month with a 6.6% profit, with a 0.03% drawdown. My presentation covered quite a few key factors about my strategies, examples of good and bad trades, trading statistics, statistical review, further developments and more. After a week of working on my presentation, my assessment month was completed. I was pleased with the final result and was working towards giving a compelling presentation.
At this stage, my presentation was completed, ready to present my strategies and results in front of my LAT mentors and students. As this was my very first presentation, I was definitely feeling the nerves. The presentation took about an hour to complete, and it received a positive response by all the mentors and students. A month later, I received my final grade for the course, completing with a distinction. Not only was I proud of myself, but I was ready to being trading live!
After opening a live trading account, I was ready to begin trading without the help of my LAT mentors. This was a very important step for my future in trading, as this was my first time putting everything I learnt into practice. Trading live for the first time after completing the course, I had my typical morning routine, which did not have many significant changes.
Once I reviewed the overnight moves that had occurred, I went straight into analysing my chosen assets. I had a combination of FX pairs, commodities and indices, so I was sure to find at least one opportunity each day or week. When placing my first couple of trades, I made sure I wasn’t misjudging a trade because of any psychological factors. I learnt remaining completely psychologically discouraged by trading factors was a slow journey I had to take.
Since trading live my I have made a few adjustments to my strategies, and developing them continuously. However, I have not made any changes with my risk management and overall routine. I have remained disciplined with my entries and my risk management. With all these factors combined, I have been profitable repetitively. Going live has definitely given me the confidence and experience in remaining profitable.
A few months after trading live, I felt I had gained relatively good experience to find myself a job in the financial markets. It was a long and difficult process as it's a very competitive and compelling industry. Trying to stand out as a 19-year-old provded quite challenging, as companies underestimated me against applicants with much higher qualifications. However as I was still in contact with LAT I received a great amount of help in my job search. They started by suggesting a few vacancies that I could apply at and I was promised they'd provide a form of reference for me.
After continuous job rejections, I finally managed to obtain a job as a proprietary trader. I had two interviews before being accepted. London Academy of Trading helped me greatly with my final interview, sharing all the relevant information I would need to know prior to my interview with a proprietary trading firm. After being accepted, I was ecstatic and eager to begin another chapter of my trading career.
After getting setup at the firm, I began my initial training. I had learnt the firm’s proprietary trading strategies and their methods & approaches to trading. I had also learnt how I could use high probability trading to reduce risk and institutional risk management. Once I had learnt each section, I went through an assessment to see how much I had learnt. Due to my performance and results in those assessments, I was fast-tracked to advanced methods, which included pairs trading, Elliot Wave theory and commodities & indices strategies.
This has been a big step in my career development as I have learnt many new methods and approaches to trading and expanded my knowledge of financial markets.
Now that I am working in the financial services industry, it has given me a much more positive outlook for my future. I began researching into different paths that I would be interested in and could be helpful in my development.
I have done some research into quantitative analysis & trading and it was something of interest to me. I came across the Certificate of Quantitative Finance (CQF), which focuses on real-world financial engineering and analysis of quantitative techniques used in the industry.
I have also continued to look into developing my current technical analysis knowledge and have been considering in joining the STA. The STA trains and recognises members interested in the study of technical analysis.
I would like to end my diary by thanking the London Academy of Trading. LAT has helped me throughout the whole course and have given me a great start in the financial world. Not only would I like to thank them for great education, but also for providing me with a great career opportunity. I have remained in touch with LAT and they have been very helpful and influential in my decisions outside of LAT. Thanks to the LAT team: Gavin, Alex, Asanka, Steve, Ahmet, Ron, with a special thanks to Duncan & Paddy.
Follow Akif on Twitter @AKD_D1N