Some good instructors, course content & methodology valued by some students and reviewers
hard sell very offputting, some local offices and instructors have poor reputation
Could be a good option for those committed to study. Check opinion on your local office carefully.
Trading Academy Review - What are the students (and traders) saying?
Transforming lives worldwide through exceptional trading and investing education.
And there's no doubt that their reach is extensive. Through a series of franchises, this global network of trading schools has professional study centers from Vancouver to Dubai, as well as the now-ubiquitous online courses for home study.
Their reach is broad too.
Classes cover short term trading, swing trading, position trading, and investment theory. If this is a new language to you then it's time to start learning now - although OTA claim that they can teach even the most financially illiterate person how to successfully trade in some asset classes.
By signing up you become party of their community of traders who 'succeed through continuously improving their professional skills.' And why not? It's an accepted aspect of all sports that even the highest achievers need a coach, so why not in the bull and bear market of financial trading?
But what do they offer that you can't learn from a book or replicate through trading software?
Well, according to the blurb on their website, '(OTA) teach the real life way of doing this... There's the book version with charting and technical analysis, but we would never do that because it doesn't really work. If it worked that way, everybody would be making money who read the books.'
Who could argue with that? If everyone who bought a 'The Stock Market for Dummies' (or one of its many contemporaries) was making a fortune then surely we'd know about it.
But they don't, because (drum roll drum roll) stocks can go down as well as up.
So is it possible to be taught how to make money on the stock market?
OTA claim that their methods work, and that they give you their money in order to try it. The also offer one-to-one mentoring, how to interpret graphs and make trades based on that interpretation and 'live' trading in their classes. Sound attractive, doesn't it - the excitement of the stock market right there in your classroom and someone else's money to try it out with.
So do they live up to the blurb? Well, that depends on whose word you take. To find out, firstly research your local franchise.
The 'quality varies greatly and the franchisor needs to tighten things up' says one reviewer and there are a disproportionately large number of complaints about the Orlando office.
However another reviewer said, 'I had a good experience at my local OTA office.'
'They provide good education for a novice trader (how to read charts, chart and candlestick patterns, indicators, support/resistance)'
Opinions are equally varied about the content of the courses. 'I have learned more from free information that I got from the internet and learned how to trade better with the free demo accounts,' was one comment.
But another said, 'they did a good job explaining how the stock market works behind the scenes including how mutual funds and hedge funds operate.'
One aspect of the operation students didn't like was the hard sell.
There are some complaints on forums about high pressure sales tactics and 'special offers' which turn out to not be special at all, but more expensive than fellow students had paid. So look into costs very carefully. Some classes are just a few hundred dollars and some are several thousand. These more expensive courses claim that the courses will pay for themselves in just a few days of trading but of course this can never be guaranteed so don't re-mortgage the house!
'My instructor was very good,' said one student, 'but I do feel like there was too much emphasis on getting us to sign up for the [next] course.'
However... the same person said, 'my impression is that OTA is one of the better schools to learn day trading and that their graduates do better than the average day trader.'
Which is good news. However, it struck me strongly whilst researching this review how difficult the stock market is to play. As one trader said, 'trading is a mind-numbingly difficult process to master.' Yes, if you understand it well, the sky is the limit but it is hard, complicated and requires a great deal of self-discipline and skill none of which will come quickly. Another trader claimed that '[OTA's methodology] is not how the major institutions make money, and not how most small traders will make money.'
On the other hand, the Trading Academy do stress risk management and warn that students should paper trade for a month or two, and to trade a small share size until they are confident that they have incorporated the lessons learned and understand patterns in the market.
They also make it clear that almost all new traders get too emotional, which leads to loses.
And the methods do have recommendations, 'I have been working with their techniques for over 6 months and I think what they are teaching is the best method out there,' said one students. Other recommended signing up for their half day workshop, as long as you are prepared to deal with the 'pushy' hard sell.
Beware of advertisements for 'free' tuition though. These generally turn out to be rebates on your commissions from trading, and with tuition costs of up to $5,000, then you have to earn a lot of commission to pay for your study.
The bottom line is that the quality of tuition depends on the instructor.
'Some are terrible, some are wonderful, most are medium. I talked with a lot of other students at an alumni event about their instructors. They concur with me.' says one forum post.
Check out your local centre. Read a few books first.
Buying tuition (like trading on the stock market) is often an emotional decision. But in both cases the better decisions are made in the cool, calm light of rationality.
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