Woman have traditionally been under-represented on Wall Street. The issue has nothing to do with mathematical skills or business prowess. Rather, we have simply held to a somewhat customary expectation that men are more suited for the battlegrounds of high finance.
Now that the web has created a genuinely open community for traders, both males and females are thriving in the meritocracy. One such excellent trader is Anne-Marie Baiynd.
Anne-Marie: I ran a technical recruiting business for many years. I started from the ground up and built the business to a very competitive level. I got tired of dealing with the people on both sides of the desk and the hundred hour work weeks. I was overwhelmed with constant employee issues of kinds you can only imagine, unless you’re in the business.
In July 2005, I bought a block of tickets for my recruiters to attend a Success Magazine seminar. I accompanied them on a whim. While there I saw an Investools presentation and I was instantly hooked on the technical aspects of trading. I sat there thinking:
“OK, finally, you get to use all that math you love at work (beyond addition, subtraction, and percentages). This is going to be awesome! Now I know why everyone on Wall Street is a millionaire … this stuff is a piece of cake! Holy cow, I’ll be basking in Monaco before you know it.” Now as I recollect that, because it is indeed what I thought, I laugh and shake my head saying, “What a DOPE! I was a babe in the woods.”
I immediately signed up for a class with Investools. Then, with the support of my really wonderful and patient husband (and a sizable loan from him), I started trading live about a week after my account was funded. After all, why in the world would someone like me need to paper trade? To say I was a complete idiot would be a gross understatement. By skipping the paper trading stage, I embarked on a sure fire way to lose copious amounts of cash.
Of course, I only needed about twenty hammers to the face to realize the truth: trading is both an art and science which takes a lifetime to develop. Moreover, the mind is not built to trade, but must be trained to trade. The market doesn’t care what you think or how you arrived at your conclusions — no matter how many degrees you have, how bright you are, or how logical you believe your approach to be. If you get caught up in being right instead of re-evaluating at necessary points, go ahead and kiss all your funds goodbye. It takes a lot of trades to go badly before you figure that out.
Along the way, I finally figured out what worked for me. I learned from the great work of Brian Shannon at Alphatrends, and Peter Reznicek at ShadowTrader. They taught me the proper way to look at stocks and how to understand the meaning of underlying market trends and movements.
Damien: Do you have any female idols in the trading world?
Anne-Marie: I do not have any idols because I am basically self taught and don’t read the pundits or anything opinion based in any major news venues unless it’s for pure entertainment purposes. When I first began trading, I was glued to that guy who comes on CNBC at 6pm Eastern with the crying babies and such — I’ll leave him nameless. But soon, I figured out he’s just gaming the system for himself. I haven’t watched business television in 2 years. I am highly suspect of opinions.
Damien: What is your trading style?
Anne-Marie: My trading style is based on a combination of things. I am a swing trader, by and large. I usually trade the 1-2hr charts, but I also trade smaller time frames if good opportunities arise. I trade high beta stocks because I am impatient. They are usually higher priced stocks with good price patterns. I trade those same stocks constantly because I get a feel for what the chart is going to show next. I can surmise how those stocks will behave at earnings. I understand the volatility spikes which are important when trading options — which I spend a lot of time trading. I used to be all over the map with different stocks. But I needed to focus. I realized — by losing money — my overly-analytical brain paralyzed my trading while trying to understand why a stock was moving. As a result, I would end up entering trades late and leaving early.
I have only a few indicators. I once had about 7-8 of them. That was ridiculous. Now I use the slow MACD line, the fast Stochastic Momentum line, and a weighted moving average or two. I mostly trade slopes and inflection points — so long as they coincide at a price level I’m watching. The convergence usually occurs at the “golden ratio” of a Fibonacci drawing. I do not trade when my moving averages are flat because this indicates chatter. Trading in a flat market is a great way to give too much money to your broker and the guy on the other end of your trade.
Damien: How does it feel to be a female trader in a male dominated business?
Anne-Marie: Trading is an extremely unnatural business for a woman to be in. Most women thrive in an environment of certainty. If not for the absolute support of my husband and family, I would have been long gone from this business. Real support is the single most important aspect of becoming a successful trader. You must have reinforcement somewhere: family, wife, kids, or whoever. This is the most brutal business I have ever been in. However, at the same time, this is also the most rewarding business. Truthfully, there is no other occupation I would rather have than this one.
Damien: Thank you very much, Anne-Marie.
Anne-Marie: Thank you.