PRESS RELEASE: Online Trading Academy Research Center begins to Dispel Myths about Educated Retail Traders & Investors

Leading educator of retail traders and investors launches a research center to give its educated retail traders and investors a voice to speak up.

There is a rising tide of interest in the voice of retail traders and investors as an increasingly important and not well understood segment of the financial markets.

Having served over 80,000 students with lifelong trading and investing education, Online Trading Academy is well placed to research the sub-segment of educated retail traders and investors.

“The OTA Research Center gives our student body a voice to speak up and be heard through research surveys, insights and sharing perspectives,” said Mike Richardson, President of Online Trading Academy.  He went on to say, “There are four contributing factors for the timeliness of us launching our research center now.  Firstly, as widely reported, there are large numbers of novice retail traders and investors entering the financial markets through online trading platforms and smartphone apps.  Secondly, there is a general lack of research into this increasingly important segment which is not well understood.  Thirdly, of the limited research there is so far, it is hard to know how much of it may be skewed by a predominance of uneducated retail traders and investors as opposed to those who are educated.  Fourthly, we are well placed to research the sub-segment of educated retail traders and investors helping them have a voice to speak up.”

For more than two decades, Online Trading Academy has been dedicated to levelling the playing field between Wall Street and Main Street.  The great equalizer is education, but not all education is equal.  Online Trading Academy has emerged as a leader in educating retail traders and investors to build skills, evolve proficiency and develop confidence with trading and investing.  Most recently, Online Trading Academy is revolutionizing the student learning journey having developed a first-of-its-kind, all-in-one trading platform called CliK, integrating education, analysis and trading, embedding its rules-based, step-by-step methodology, education, and risk management-focused approach.

The Research Center conducted an in-depth study of student attitudes and behaviors.  “For us, it is absolutely critical to have our finger on the pulse of our students.  We gain tremendous insight into how our students are consuming our education. What’s working and what’s not.   And most importantly, how we continually evolve our offering as the markets evolve,” said Ted Francisco, Vice President of Insights.

“In April 2021 we conducted a study with more than 1,200 students who had completed OTA’s Core Strategy Class with a distribution of students ranging from new to just a few months to students who have been with the company for more than five years,” he added.  “What’s interesting as a researcher is how our students’ insights differ from what we gather from reporting in the media and public domain research of retail investors and traders.” Students were not required to answer each question, but those that did offered some key insights:

  • Students report that prior to coming to OTA, the majority had little or no experience. 70% said they had either no experience or were novices.
  • 70% reported that they are trading live in the market (OTA encourages newer students to stay practicing in simulator mode), and 37% report that they spend more than 6 hours per week doing so, across a range of asset classes, Stocks, Futures, Forex and Options, with 83% reporting that they do not trade Cryptocurrency. 
  • Nearly 2/3rds (64%) report that they are not day trading (intraday).  Nearly half (47%) report they are swing trading (few days to a few weeks), with another 17% reporting that they are position trading and long-term investing.
  • More than half say they spend more than 4 hours per week in their education, with 20% saying they spend more than 10 hours per week, predominantly spending that time in weekly online sessions with instructors and each other; 38% report that they are spending more time in their education since COVID but more than half (53%) report that they still prefer in-person classes (OTA is looking forward to reopening its centers)

In particular, the survey further studied student confidence.  “As an educator, Online Trading Academy’s ultimate goal is to help our students become more confident in investing and trading,” said Francisco. “It’s essential that we get a baseline and are pleased with what we saw.” he added.  After completing at least one foundation course with OTA:

  • 81% of students said they feel more knowledgeable about how the markets work
  • 76% said they were more knowledgeable about how to manage risk
  • 64% said they were more confident in managing their money
  • When focusing on the key concepts of the Core Strategy methodology that Online Trading Academy teaches, respondents reported a weighted average score of 7.55/10 (75.5%) for understanding the concepts of Core Strategy and 7.37/10 (73.7%) for being confident in knowing where to set a stop loss;  Most importantly, 85% report that they created a trade plan (Online Trading Academy’s Core Strategy methodology teaches this as the first step of risk management, which is the foundation of everything it teaches).
  • 69% said they wished they had started their education sooner.

When asked why students felt they were or were not achieving their objectives, the two most critical factors were “sticking to their rules” and “managing emotions”.

Francisco explained, “This is no surprise to us.  We have created a continuous feedback loop with many of our students.  We have created student panels and regularly conduct qualitative research.  We know that students struggle with the emotional side of trading, which is why we place an extraordinary emphasis on creating a trade plan, following the rules and steps with discipline and learning to manage emotions.  These key concepts are at the heart of our design of CliK, which is a first-of-its-kind, all-in-one trading platform integrating education, analysis and trading”

“These kinds of data and insights into educated retail traders and investors are invaluable in beginning to dispel some commonplace myths about them, primarily that they are predominantly day trading the stock market, with simple buy, hold and hope strategies, taking untold risks.  These data begin to indicate otherwise, that the journey from novice to confidence comes from education, with sustained engagement, in a tailored methodology that embeds the disciplines of risk management.  It has never been more timely for us to launch our Online Trading Academy Research Center and we will be quickly ramping up our research surveys and insights and sharing perspectives.  Not least of all, as we continue to develop and deploy CliK over the coming years, our aggregated data diagnostics will become increasingly powerful to triangulate education, analysis and trading data for powerful insights unlike any other.  We look forward to helping our student body have a voice, speak up and join the narrative,” added Mike Richardson.

Visit OTA Research Center | Online Trading Academy to find out more and follow further releases of research data analysis.

About OTA:

Online Trading Academy (OTA) is a leader in financial education for people looking to build skills, evolve proficiency and develop confidence for trading and investing in the financial markets. OTA's proprietary and step-by-step Core Strategy methodology is designed to teach strategies to help traders and investors make smarter decisions aligned with their short-term and long-term financial goals. Students learn under the guidance of knowledgeable instructors, in an interactive classroom setting with extensive online education resources and a next-generation education, analysis, and trading platform called CliK. The courses are geared toward individual investors or traders, novice or experienced, who want to learn how to use similar tools and trading techniques as the professional traders on Wall Street. From a single location in Irvine, CA, Online Trading Academy is in its 24th year, has expanded to more than 40 worldwide education centers, has served over 80,000 students with access to lifelong education who have rated their satisfaction at 94.4% from more than 200,000 post-class exit surveys. It all starts with a free introductory class, which over 500,000 people have attended.