If you have ever wanted to take a little more control over your superannuation and not bother with a self managed superannuation fund this may be of interest.
of us that are/were self employed This could be quite valuable for those

without a lot of super, perhaps an smsf is too expensive or too time consuming – the AMG product may be just what the doctor ordered.

If  your super its just sitting in a dusty fund collecting the minimum – take a look.

Let me know if you would like to explore this



Options Writing on your portfolio

One of the things I love about options is that there is nearly a strategy for every market condition.

Rather than using the same strategy accross all conditions which may give you questionable results, tailer made strategies can be used to take advantage of current conditions. One strategy that has been adding a lot of value to shares inside an existing portfolio is Covered Written Calls.

Below is an image showing trades taken on an actual account over the last few months, prices noted are per share in cents. Each trade places cash back into the trading account, when the trade is taken. Brokerage is not considered in this diagram.

Now there is risk with any strategy, understanding how to manage that risk is the secret to being profiatble with any strategy.

So if your leaning towards the risk averse end and you would like to add some value to your return, you do have a few choices.

If you would like some examples or a couple of strategies that may suit your style, please give me a call on 0402 855 800 or shoot me an email to

Moving On

After being with the Sharemarket College for the last 8 years, I have decided to move on.

I have started with Octa Phillip Financial Group, they have offices all over Australia. A great bunch of people with loads more resources and facilities. Take a look at their website at

I wish to thank all the clients for their support and hope that they continue to learn what they need to make more informed trading decisions.

I would love to keep in contact, feel free to give me a call on 0402 855 800 or send me an email on

May all your trades be profitable.



2011 hasn’t shown a lot of joy for most traders, with sharp unexpected movements. At times it was a toss of a coin which direction the market was going, often led by rumours and speculation from distant corners of the world. Maybe this is the world we trade in now – gone is logic and common sense, 2011 saw the rise of the headline grabbing sensationalism.

I think we all love the way information flows now, but the downside is if a journalist or blogger in the back-blocks of Spain has a deadline – his/her story has the ability to send instant shockwaves or ripples through the worlds financial markets within minutes. In the hours following the facts will be confirmed or rejected and the market starts a correction. But the initial market reaction is the one that has been hurting.

Maybe next year we need to turn off the news including twitter feeds and get back to the business of dealing with financial markets in a logical controlled manner.

Happy Xmas

This time of year

Over the next few weeks, I will sit down review my long term portfolio and make some changes before the end of the financial year.

This year has seen some highs and lows on our market, in my portfolio I have success stories like Lynas Corp and dismal failures like Elders. So now its time to decide what to keep, and more importantly whether I need to crystalise any of the losses or continue to hold the positions.

What sectors in the market are moving ahead and what sectors are falling behind, is the balance inside my portfolio still effective or do I need to change the weight?

Once I have decided what I will take a loss on (if anything), it allows 6 weeks to find the best possible market timing to make the transaction – the last thing I want to do is to make these decisions late in June and just take what the market is giving me.

Remember, regular portfolio updates are an important part of your investments, especially when the tax man is ready to pounce.

What are some of your years highs and lows?

Cause and Effect

We all want to do the best job we can do, for me at the moment its about building the best relationships and getting the very best returns for the clients I take care of. Exceeding their expectations and surpassing the revenue levels to where bonuses kick in, systematically growing my little corner day after day – this can be made easier or harder by other staff and management. Either way I will strive to do the best job I can for the clients, the business and myself. — This is my pledge.

When you are in a great mood – everyone around you seems happy.
When you are in a crappy mood – everything seems harder, people respond to you differently.

You get good news –> you react positively –> you spread your joy around.
You get bad news –> you react negatively –> you spread your negativity around.

What you do is effecting those around you – this isn’t new or insightful, its fact.
If you act like a dick people will treat you and think of you like a dick.
So its important to act as though you want others to treat you.

When dealing with people, it is essential that you manage their expectations as part of the process. Whether your performance is outstanding or weaker than expected, promises kept or broken – the perception is what holds the ongoing relationship together, for clients, staff and partners.

We can only ever control our self, if we do the best we can do, improve day after day and exceed expectations – others will notice, and even if they don’t – if we are performing at our best that should be making us happy.

Always try to put out positives rather than negatives.

Range bound or an opportunity?

In the last 13 months the AXJO has been trading sideways, I’m sure not a surprise to anyone. Those trading this period have been consistently scratching their heads about future direction – even professional traders have had troubles.

Looking at the chart (right) we can see the extended range between the peaks and troughs of the last year spanning around 800 points – take a mid point to that around 4580 and notice that within a small range how many times the market has changed direction.

During the last year we have been bombarded with tiny wins and losses from not only on our shores but from around the world – most of which should have no bearing on our market but alas they have. When we overlay the DJI onto the AXJO (below) we can see that the US market is acting a little bit more stable than ours. I have also added additional 1/2 markers from the mid point to the extremities which have also acted as support/resistance points.

This direct comparison surprised me a little considering the constant bombardment of “how strong our economy is”, and “how unstable the US is”. On the other hand it also shows us that there may be better opportunities in Australia than in the USA.

From the chart right, we are seeing the 50 day moving average now start to cross the 200 day moving average, this has always been a good sign for trend traders, lets hope our index can break out of this tight range and forge some solid gains over the next few months.

Happy Trading

Stages of Education

From my last post I received a comment (obviously from someone who disagreed with my opinion), but they declined to identify themselves, and I don’t think they actually understood my angle so i didn’t post it as a comment. The first paragraph is pasted below, I felt I need not post the flaming which followed.

“i love how someone who has made a living teaching people useless information they could learn visiting the asx site for 5 minutes takes a slag at advisers who put their balls on the line day in day out in an attempt to make their clients some money.”

(Just a note, I do much more advisory work than training – the lines often blur, but I have not delivered basic training for a number of years. And if you read the article I was supporting advisers)

This got me thinking about education, he/she is right – what is taught by SMC (my employer) is freely available from many sources. But so is 99% of the worlds information. So why do we need specialist educators?

In the days before mass media, information was harder to attain – though not impossible. Since the Internet  information is everywhere – google knows everything. The problem remains that any idiot (including me and the poster above) has the ability to put information online. Is this information true, accurate, impartial or an angle to sell viagra?

  • “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” — Jim Rohn

I have always been an advocate of free information, the more information you have at your disposal the more “informed” you can be with your assessment. This is pointed to people that are a) able to make a decision and b) happy to live with the consequences of their actions.

The problem with free information is that somebody has to pay for this resource, we all have to fund our lives, everything costs money – whether you pay this up front (as in fee for service) or from the back end (as in hidden charges) everything costs. Considering anything different is a little naive. Some would say that free information is essentially worthless.

  • “Education costs money, but then so does ignorance.” — Sir Claus Moser

With financial information costs can be extreme – both from up front charges or in self learning, learning from your own mistakes can be far more expensive than any up front fee. I consider myself self taught, but over the years I have attended many training sessions on various subjects, both formal and non formal courses. Some have been valuable, others a waste of time and money.

The courses that I believe to be wasteful, were probably to do with a) my ability to accept and use the information effectively at that time, b) my frame of mind to implement this information and perhaps c) my ability to relate to the person delivering the course and understand the concepts. The courses themselves are not to blame.

The courses I have gotten value from all have the basic fundamentals of  a) they have simple concepts b) they are advanced enough to challenge me but not too advanced to overwhelm and most importantly c) I have been in a mental position to accept the information.

There is a lot of information about trading or investing out there in the ether – you can just go grab it but before you do, you may also need to a) assess its validity to you and the current conditions to make sure its still valid b) have a method of testing prior to implementation to gauge the results and c) be able to justify the risk to reward.

My opinion is that everyone needs education on managing their finances, go read a book, do a course with someone reputable and accredited – but learn about this stuff.

Especially with information about trading, I feel that courses can only take you so far – after that your own observation and discipline will be the deciding fact. Trading is an individual thing, being able to make your own decisions based on proven set of guidelines will give you a great advantage, more still being able to evaluate and change your systems when they don’t perform is the real trick.

  • “Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.” — Chinese Proverb

After the basic information (even on complex subjects) has been learnt, the only avenue for advancement is a) self evolution or b) mentoring. I think  successful people are always students that keep learning, adapting and evolving.

Happy Trading

Gold, A sparkle of hope.

With uncertainty in equity markets around the world, one of the places smart money is rushing towards is Gold. Looking at the chart, over the past 18 months has shown us some great examples of “Divergence”. Where we can see charts continuing to make higher peaks and troughs but momentum indicators like “MACD” and “CCI” show an opposite direction.

At this point in time gold is testing the resistance coming from the peak of December 09. Momentum indicators are showing strength and using the Market Conductor (below) we are seeing very positive signs of continued growth.

If you are in the market for the next area of growth, maybe the gold sectors are worth a look. Oh, and don’t tell your wife that gold is a great opportunity, or else you may find yourself on the way to the local Jewelery Store to fulfill her requests.

Troubling Times

Firstly my thoughts go to all those effected by poor financial practices of Storm Financial, Opes Prime and of recent days Sonray Capital Markets. It is beyond my scope to accuse individuals without all the facts but the question remain, how could this happen?

All three seemed to have different investment models, but one common thread persists, they all failed to protect their clients from loss. With any investment there is risk, and as investors we should accept that. The higher the potential return the higher the potential losses, disastrous outcomes arise when leverage is used to out-gear the asset base without the proper protection.

I’m not entirely familiar with storm, but reports suggest the strategies they implemented was to get clients to increase debt on assets to give them more resources to invest, thus increasing fees. This was done to a level where some clients had no possibility of covering fees when the investments turned bad.

For opes prime, clients were encouraged to take out equity financing arrangements to buy shares, typically in companies in the highly speculative mining and technology sectors.

Unlike traditional margin lenders, who typically only lend money against blue chip or heavily traded stocks, Opes Prime arranged for its clients to borrow to invest in companies outside the S&P/ASX 300 Index. Some of the companies had market capitalisations of less than $200 million.

In return, Opes Prime required clients to hand over control of their entire portfolios, regardless of the degree of leverage.

Sonray also used a common asset base, within client segregated trust accounts. Their model allowed for a 60% margin lending facility on top 200 shares, whether or not the clients used this facility. This margin was able to be used on electronic products, namely CFD’s and Forex – each using high leverage.

So for a $10 asset, 60% margin loaned gives the client $6. The $6 loan could be used to leverage into $60 of CFD’s or $500 of forex. This model is fine when trades are on the right side of the market or use an appropriate risk management strategy, but things go horribly wrong when traders are on the wrong side of the market – creating both a shrinking asset in the share plus leveraged losses on the cfd or forex position.

Recent news indicates a “rogue trader” was the issue with Sonray. It is unclear whether the trader was in the employment of Sonray, but I would suggest it was, that would be the only way to hide the damage for so long. My assumption is that trades went bad inside discretionary accounts and rather than take the loss and potentially loose the client they tried to trade out of it, getting further and further into a hole.

I feel sorry for the hard working people who have lost genuine assets due to the incompetence of others, losers also include staff at these firms and their families, most I am sure were unaware of any impropriety.

Most casualties are the innocent.