OTA President Mike Richardson Comments on GameStop and Government Hearings

A Message from OTA President Mike Richardson.

It’s been an eventful past few weeks in the U.S. equities markets.  OTA has always believed that exceptional financial education should not be exclusive to the Wall Street elite and it’s been great to see a new generation of retail investors coming into the markets in record numbers … some estimates say as many as 10 million during 2020 signing up with online brokers, platforms and apps.  We also believe it’s never been more critical for novice investors to get educated before they start trading.  We believe the events that have unfolded over the last few weeks make this abundantly clear.  Consider this analogy.

If you were walking past a high-stakes poker table in a casino and you saw a player with a huge pile of chips in front of them and a bit of a crowd gathering because something big is happening, would fear-of-missing-out (FOMO) cause you to sit down, put your chips on the table and join in the game?  Perhaps, if you are a well-educated, practiced and experienced poker player.  If you are a novice, hopefully not!  Hopefully you would be prudent and remain standing.  But as the crowd disperses and you walk away, perhaps you are reminded once again that you have always wanted to learn to play properly and are inspired to explore how to best begin that learning journey.

The dust is beginning to settle on all the whole retail traders versus Wall Street professionals, short squeeze, David and Goliath excitement over the last few weeks!  Government hearings starting on February 18th will begin the process of cutting through the bluster and clarifying what happened, how, when and why, and who’s who around the table.  Yes, of course, laced with hidden agendas, lobbying and politics, but nevertheless, we will likely learn more about what played out - where the chips started, where they ended up and who were the momentary winners and losers in the process of the chips moving around the table.  I wonder how many times we will hear use of the casino and gambling metaphors.  Hopefully, the general public will have the opportunity to learn a lot more about how things work behind the scenes, in the financial markets, in the Wall Street firms, in the brokerages and their direct access platforms and smart phone apps, in the clearing houses and in the regulators.  We look forward to helping you make sense of it all and who knows what regulatory changes will emerge from the process.

But we already know that one thing remains the same.  It is a high stakes endeavor which novices should not be engaging in without becoming well educated, practiced and experienced. Otherwise it is like gambling and a casino!  No matter what technology retail investors have or what bluster they engage in about David and Goliath and taking on Wall Street.  Otherwise there can be tragic consequences.  Nobody believes more than we do in democratizing finance and levelling the playing field between Wall Street and Main Street.  But that doesn’t change the fact that the real great equalizer is education.  Not technology.  Not bluster.  Not government hearings or regulatory change.  Education.  To some degree, it always has been the great equalizer and it always will be.  If the events of the last few weeks have served to fuel the fire of your FOMO (fear-of-missing-out) and inspired you to explore how best to begin the learning journey, then we are happy for that.  We don’t want you to miss out.  We want you to get educated.

But be careful though, as not all education is equal.  “Education” is a word that is used by a lot in the financial industry, and similar words like learning and training, as well.  We will likely hear these themes a great deal in the upcoming government hearings and these words, therefore, will likely only become more prevalent afterwards. But be careful, not all “education” is equal.  

  • Some education is just informational.  This kind of education tends to be basic information about the financial markets 101, what things are, how things work, when things happen, who’s who and various facts, statistics and trends.  All very interesting and foundational information but not very actionable.
  • Some education is just theoretical.  This kind of education tends to be about basic theories and strategies of how to engage with the financial markets but in a “paint by numbers” kind of way.  All very good but not of much value unless you can practice and gain experience with them in a safe practice environment.
  • Some education is experiential.   This kind of education starts to become more valuable for building a skill.  It facilitates evolving your proficiency through practical application with guided practice.  As a result, we can experience a progression through the complexities of actually doing this in practice.  Even better to be in a comprehensive community and learning environment in which we can progressively develop confidence through repetition where we can make mistakes and fail safely.  That is the only way to really learn in practice and go on the journey of building consistent, lasting and disciplined skills you can develop confidence in, embodying the 3 trading and investing intelligences required.  Intellectually (IQ – Developing Your Trading and Investing IQ … knowing what you need to know), Emotionally (EQ – Developing Your Trading and Investing EQ – knowing how to manage your emotions) and Motivationally  (What we call YQ – Developing Your Trading and Investing YQ – knowing why and how to manage your motivation).  These are the human factors of the learning journey. 

That is what we do at OTA.  In our more than 2 decades of facilitating learning journeys with more than 80,000 students, we are continually evolving what we call our “Compass” program, to facilitate skill building education with the human factors involved.  In our experience over so many years and with so many students, that is the level of education that it takes.  So be careful, because not all education is equal and up to the task of true skill building.  There is not quick and easy fix to learn something meaningful and worthwhile.

For sure, the best way to learn trading and investing would be to get a top tier finance education, perhaps followed by a finance-oriented MBA, be recruited by a Wall Street firm, go through their training and join the elite!  For sure, that would be a skill building education.  If you don’t have that option, OTA is the best alternative.  Why?  Because we provide a comprehensive and unique combination of 3 Ps and Cs:  firstly our proprietary methodology called “Core Strategy” based upon the fundamentals of supply and demand.  Secondly, our patented technology inclusive of “CliK” which is our platform integrating education, analysis and trading all in one.  It is revolutionary, a first of its kind and progressively award-winning.  And thirdly our powerful learning process which I mentioned called “Compass” which helps students navigate their learning journey with confidence.  Our continuous investment in these 3 Ps and Cs combine into a comprehensiveness of skill-building education and OTA being the best alternative to Wall Street.  

The more things change the more some things remain the same.  What remains the same is that a skill-building education is the real great equalizer.

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