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Event Review – TD Waterhouse Discount Brokerage Direct Investing Expo – Vancouver 2012 – Part 2

TD Waterhouse Discount Brokerage Direct Investing Expo Review (part 2)

To view part 1, click here.

Options basics – using covered calls

After a long break for lunch, attendees were treated to a session from Investools, an investor education company that was purchased by TD Ameritrade in 2009.  Even though Investools isn’t available to Canadians anymore, rumour has it that there may be something in the works to have them here sometime in the not-too-distant future.    The presentation “using options to help generate cash flow – fundamental options strategies and covered calls” led by Linda McCoy was by far one of the most engaging investor education seminars I’ve ever sat through.  Running a post-lunch seminar with the objective of successfully teaching participants of various experience levels about covered calls was no small undertaking but armed with a healthy dose of dramatic flair, a rock-solid understanding of options, and an obvious grasp of adult learning strategies, Linda was able to successfully lead the room through an often intimidating subject. Using everything from coupons for limes to hand gestures for telephones to get her point across, Linda drove the point home that the world of options is well worth the time it takes to learn about them  Looking around the room, it was clear that I wasn’t the only one who found her presentation both educational as well as entertaining (i.e. nobody was seen knitting at this one).

Risk-defined options strategies

The last portion of sessions for the afternoon had three concurrent sessions, including a repeat of the two sessions from the morning: The Art and Science of Analyzing Charts and ETF Trading: Income Investing Using ETFs, and a third session entitled “Learn to Trade in Any Market Direction – Risk-Defined Option Strategies”.  I sat through the latter, again led by Linda McCoy.  Equally animated, this was a challenging topic as it got into some of the more complicated trade strategies that can be done using options.  For example, in this session Linda went over trading strategies such as vertical spreads, “iron condors” and “calendar spreads”.  While to most people the names of these strategies  can sound like something out of a kung-fu movie, our instructor was able to successfully walk the audience through a full trading plan for each, eventually having the audience put together a hypothetical trade themselves.

The key point of both options sessions is that options can offer a way to make money from markets while controlling risk, especially by taking advantage of a feature of options known as time decay.  While much easier said than done, every successful trader knows that the ability to make a sound trading decisions starts with a trading plan that includes entry and exit rules as well as well-defined money management criteria.


Overall the TD Direct Investing Expo was a well-attended (~160 people), well-planned event.  The speakers kept to the schedule, and events were run generally on time. As far as investor seminars go, it was certainly the type of event that made it worth getting up early on a rainy Saturday morning to attend.  If there were any downsides, they were fairly minor. One suggestion would be to provide a compiled set of notes and slides from the speakers (which to their credit, Investools did do) but which would have been helpful for the Bob Gorman session and for the technical analysis section. In addition, the event did not have a twitter plan in place so even though SparxTrading was tweeting from the event, other clients or followers of TD could not follow along with some of the events of the day.  Incidentally, for those that would like to review the tweets from the event, you can find them below.

For self-directed investors thinking of attending similar events, it’s certainly worth doing a little research on the speakers and the companies in attendance in order to know if it’s the right type of event for you.  A full-day event such as this presents a lot of information to take in. While some may argue that certain types of stock market information just makes things more complicated than they need to be, it is nonetheless important for beginner self-directed investors to be active learners in order to get the most out of what’s being presented.  Taking active notes and asking questions (if there’s the chance) are two tips that ensure that what’s being said will actually stick.

In case you missed it, here are our tweets from the event

Sparx Trading ‏@SparxTrading: Great breakfast before a big day at the #directinvestingexpo @TD_Canada

Sparx Trading ‏@SparxTrading: Bob Gorman talk launching – exciting stuff! Starting with dominant theme – the US mkts #directinvestingexpo @TD_Canada

Sparx Trading ‏@SparxTrading: Fiscal Cliffs, Fiscal Norms = Fiscal Cheers; Bob Gorman’s positive perspective on 2013 econ events #directinvestingexpo @TD_Canada

Sparx Trading ‏@SparxTrading: Bob Gorman: Canadian real estate speculators be warned esp in Van and Toronto #directinvestingexpo @TD_Canada

Sparx Trading ‏@SparxTrading: Great talk by Bob Gorman – lots of investment ideas to think about! #directinvestingexpo @TD_Canada

Sparx Trading ‏@SparxTrading: Curious about Bob Gorman’s outlook and stock picks? Look out for our review on  soon! #directinvestingexpo @TD_Canada

Sparx Trading ‏@SparxTrading: On now to technical analysis 101 with Ryan Lewenza; trends, volume & patterns give entries and exits a hand #directinvestingexpo @TD_Canada

Sparx Trading ‏@SparxTrading: #technicalanalysis is more helpful at exits than entries: ryan lewenza, #directinvestingexpo @TD_Canada

Sparx Trading ‏@SparxTrading: TA tips: round #’s matter, # of times stock hits a price more important the price, breaks of support/resistance matter #directinvestingexpo

Sparx Trading ‏@SparxTrading: Bearish markets means buy and hold not the best strategy; need to be more active: Ryan Lewenza #directinvestingexpo @TD_Canada

Sparx Trading ‏@SparxTrading: Great to mingle with other investors, swapping investing stories over lunch, can’t wait for the next talk! #directinvestingexpo @TD_Canada

Sparx Trading ‏@SparxTrading: Linda McCoy of investools on #options for cash flow – here we go! #directinvestingexpo @TD_Canada

Sparx Trading ‏@SparxTrading: Linda McCoy has a green laser pointer & she can convince the internet to work?! Talk about engaging speaker #directinvestingexpo @TD_Canada

Sparx Trading ‏@SparxTrading: Learning with Investools about #options with limes and coupons #directinvestingexpo @TD_Canada

Sparx Trading ‏@SparxTrading: Here we go: Learning to trade in any market direction with Investools – sounds promising! #options #directinvestingexpo @TD_Canada

Sparx Trading ‏@SparxTrading: Unless you beta weight, you don’t know if you’re supposed to sleep @ night: Linda McCoy #directinvestingexpo @TD_Canada

Sparx Trading ‏@SparxTrading: Yay yay for Time Decay – generating income by selling #options with Linda McCoy #directinvestingexpo @TD_Canada

Sparx Trading ‏@SparxTrading: Selling time and volatility with spreads – great session on iron condors with Linda McCoy of @investools #directinvestingexpo @TD_Canada

Sparx Trading ‏@SparxTrading: Great sessions and great day for investors at the #directinvestingexpo @TD_Canada; saturday well spent! Thx for having us!