Back in 1998, when Merlin Rothfeld was just finishing up college, he stumbled upon an article in Forbes Magazine on electronic day trading. The front cover read, “A bunch of kids are tormenting Wall Street!"
It was an article on a relatively new profession, digital day trading, in which young people were making big bucks in the market—sometimes thousands of dollars in just one day—flipping stocks.
“I was blown away by the article,” says Merlin. “I had gone to school for four years pursuing a Finance degree—traditional fundamental analysis by the book type of stuff—but had never heard of day trading. It was a whole new world to me.”
That is when Merlin made a life-changing decision. He found Online Trading Academy, one of only three financial education companies teaching trading and investing at the time and signed up.
When he told his professors of his plan, they said, "It’s a scam, don't do it. You will lose all your money.” Thankfully, he didn’t listen to them.
Twenty years later, Merlin is a prominent fixture at Online Trading Academy. As an active trader, OTA instructor, and thought leader, Merlin not only built curricula and programs to teach the European community about the financial markets, he created the first dedicated trading lab at a European University and has been a guest speaker at trade shows and Universities around the world. Merlin has also been instrumental in building Online Trading Academy Franchises, as well as helping to win FXStreet.com's Forex Best award for Best Podcast/Video in 2014. Today, he is the Director of Content Production and the host of Power Trading Radio offering students a well-diversified perspective of smarter trading and investing.
“We've been doing Power Trading Radio live for almost 10 years now, which if I'm not mistaken, is probably more shows than the Simpsons, Seinfeld, and Jay Leno,” says Merlin.
Five days per week for one hour, Merlin brings on one of OTA’s instructors to talk about the markets.
“When you hear these people talk,” says Merlin, “you realize they're real traders. They're doing this for a living. Seeing real people trading has helped soften any negativity that's out there in the industry.”
When CEO Eyal Shahar and Senior Director of Media Production Gary Christmas first came to him with the idea of Power Trading Radio, Merlin immediately said yes.
“That’s what I love about the OTA culture. Part of the excitement of being here is you never know what's going to come at you next. The key is to be open and ready for it. It's like trading. One day, you have your path and your trades all set up and all of a sudden market direction changes, and you just have to go with it.”
Sometimes “going with it” involves taking on new projects that are out of one’s comfort zone.
“We do things that challenge us. When you look at the end result and you go, ‘Wow, we did something that's never been done before.’ It’s part of that innovation process that I love, pushing the envelope,” says Merlin.
Merlin went from helping to build educational content and finding methods to deliver and fine tune the OTA education online to XLTs, the Mastermind Clubhouse, and Mastermind Community. Now with better technology, you're seeing this kind of innovation on a much broader scale such as the new proprietary, educational, analysis and trading interface, Clik.
“Again, it's all about vision, foresight and seeing, says, Merlin. “Where can we take things next? Allowing the organization to grow as well as helping employees and students achieve their goals.”
I have gotten a lot of emails from students I've taught over the years who've said, ‘Thanks for changing my life and allowing me to pursue my dreams and achieve my “WHY", as we like to say. That's probably the most rewarding part.”
Merlin truly personifies how trying out new, often radical ideas can result in amazing opportunity both personally and professionally. On behalf of the OTA family, congratulations Merlin to 20 years at OTA! Thank you for all that you continue to do to bring OTA to new levels! We love you!