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Event Review – Scotia iTrade Educational Summit – Vancouver 2012

As part of its cross country tour, the Scotia iTrade Educational Summit stopped in Vancouver and we had a chance to check out what it was all about.  This evening session featured presentations on how to go about investing in markets using technical analysis and risk management (provided by AJ Monte of The Market Guys), as well as a presentation and product tour of the FlightDesk™ and mobile trading app provided by senior manager for product strategy for Scotia iTrade, Kevin Dunseath.

The first segment with AJ Monte, Searching for Opportunities in Volatile Markets While Managing Risk, kicked off with a fun little exercise of simulating an open outcry style market pit.  Nothing gets a room going like 200 investors being able to yell “buy Apple” pit-trader style.  During the segment, AJ went through the basics of technical trading, the importance of volume and price action, and how to manage risk by controlling position sizes and using stop-losses.  While the session provided a brief overview of candlesticks and charting, the key takeaways are that buy-and-hold as a strategy may need to give way to buy-and-protect, and that managing risk effectively will ensure your odds of surviving and succeeding will improve.

Scotia iTrade also provided attendees with a chance to tour their new FlightDesk™ platform and their mobile trading app.  While we didn’t get to see the mobile app in action, we did get a chance to walk through some of the key features.  One of the interesting new features coming out in the next release of the mobile platform is the ability to receive ‘unauthenticated’ quotes and watchlist updates meaning that you won’t have to log in every time you want to receive a quote or view your watch list.  Also coming up in the next update of the mobile app is the improved ability to transfer between brokerage account and a bank account.

The FlightDesk™ platform has quite a number of tools that cater to both active as well as non-active investors.  The interface itself looks very slick; however with any piece of software, functionality will determine its worth.  Some interesting features of the platform include the ability to create heat maps (even with Canadian stocks), and the ability to chart options prices.  Some drawbacks, such as the inability to float windows (i.e. place FlightDesk™ windows anywhere on your desktop) mean that there is still some room for improvement, especially for active traders’ needs.  One popular feature on the release horizon is an upgrade to the order types that can be handled (such as bracket & contingent orders) as the current set of order types FlightDesk™ can handle is fairly standard.

Overall, the event was a good opportunity for do-it-yourself investors to connect with their discount brokerage and to get a basic introduction to some educational concepts and tools that can be useful when investing on your own. This type of event also provides the chance to ask and find out about specific features of interest from the iTrade representatives directly.

From an educational perspective, this event did provide a few basics, but is certainly something that individuals would want to build upon. Fortunately, Scotia iTrade offers a number of free webinars and seminars (here’s the link to the Scotia iTrade investor education calendar), many in partnership with AJ Monte, that cover educational topics of interest for the do it yourself investor.  To find out about more investor education events being offered in Canada and online, you can check out our calendar here.

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