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Wealth Management

HOW TO SUCCEED IN FINANCIAL TRADING

by Paddy Osborn, Academic Dean at London Academy of Trading

 

Trading financial markets is not easy – and anyone who claims that there are guaranteed profits just waiting to be claimed is simply not telling the truth. Successful trading requires hard work and commitment, but also a good understanding of financial markets and how they work.

 

There are many different ways to analyse markets for speculation. You can look at fundamentals, politics or macroeconomic data to make your decisions, or maybe analyse charts and technical indicators. Whatever tools you use, there are some simple rules that you should follow to enable you to be the best trader you can be.

 

Paddy Osborn

Firstly, work hard! As in any walk of like, the harder you work at a skill, the more proficient you become, and trading is no different. There’s no short-cut to becoming a consistently profitable trader. You need to acquire the relevant knowledge, learn the practical skills, and then practise applying them (ideally with some guidance from an experienced trader or mentor) on a demo account. Only once you have a structured process in place should you start trading with real money.

 

As you progress through your training, you will build self-confidence, which you will need to pull the trigger on your trades. Believe in yourself and your ability. Once you have taken the time to develop your trading strategy, you shouldn’t be afraid to take (controlled) risk in the markets. As your experience grows, you can use your successful trades to reinforce your self-belief.

 

It goes without saying that, in order to acquire the required knowledge and skills, you need education. It’s actually possible to get lucky and make money from trading without really knowing what you’re doing, but very very few people actually achieve this. Early success – perhaps due in a large part to luck – can actually be very damaging, since it tempts people to increase risk without control, and take short cuts instead of dedicating time and effort to get a proper education. Nobody – even clever people – can learn to become a successful trader over a weekend! You need to commit time and effort to learn the skills (and practise them) to recognise how to do things right.

 

As part of the learning process, a mentor can be an extremely valuable asset. There are thousands of hours of online videos explaining how to trade financial markets, but if you don’t get feedback on your trading as you start to apply your new-found skills, you could be applying the rules wrongly without even realising. You should find a role model or mentor whose advice you trust. Don’t just ask them for trade recommendations. Ask them about their trading process; how do they approach new trades, what rules do they follow, how and when do they enter the market. Getting feedback on your performance is one of the most efficient ways to identify your weaknesses and develop your skills as a trader.

 

Once you’ve developed the required skills and have started to trade, you need to take responsibility for your actions. Some traders are quick to brag about their good trades, while blaming their losses on bad luck or difficult markets, often seeing themselves as victims. All traders lose money from time to time – it doesn’t make you a bad trader. But if you blame “the market” for your losses, then you won’t be able to recognise your own failings. You need to be honest with yourself about your trading decisions. If you fail to accept responsibility for mistakes, then you’ll keep making the same mistakes time after time.

 

This leads to another rule – learn from your mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, but successful traders learn from their mistakes and rarely repeat them. Losing money on a trade can be painful, so it’s human nature to try to minimise this pain by brushing these bad trades under the carpet. This is the worst thing you can do! You’ve paid out some money (by losing on the trade), so make sure to get some value from it. Go back and review each trade. Are you following your normal processes? Should you have taken the trade in the first place? Could you have avoided or reduced this loss? Would you do things differently next time? This five-minute review at the end of your trading day may be the most valuable five minutes of your day.

 

Aside from needing fundamental and technical knowledge, trading is also an emotional exercise. Failing to maintain psychological control is the number one reason that traders fail to perform to their potential. Internal pressure to succeed can add to this psychological pressure, so you should try to avoid setting purely monetary goals. If you fix a monetary target each day and your day starts badly, then this pressure mounts exponentially. Instead of setting monetary goals, you should set short, medium and long term process goals. These should be specific and achievable processes which you can execute through all situations. Also, make sure to track your progress against your specific goals, and remember to review your trades to check that you are maintaining your discipline and control. If you can stick to your process goals, then you’ll trade with discipline and the profits will come.

 

Finally, patience is a virtue. Deciding not to take a trade is still making a trading decision. Don’t just enter trades because you’re sitting at your desk and you feel you should be trading. The markets are not going anywhere, and there will always been opportunities in the future. Be patient and wait for the right opportunity. Successful traders have patience, and they understand that true success takes time to achieve.

 

Top 10

WHY BETTER PLANNING COULD BE THE INSURANCE INSURERS NEED

Adam Bimson, Chief Customer Officer, Vuealta

 

Insurance is predicated on the ability to plan effectively, to model accurately, and to predict the likelihood and impact of certain events. Whilst already facing significant regulatory, competitive, and customer disruption, the industry, like all others, has now been deeply disrupted by the pandemic. From an operational perspective, insurers have seen their workforces dispersed, their technologies stretched to the limit, and customers put under immense pressure – and in turn, that strain has been put on the insurers themselves.

Then there’s the increase in customers focusing on wanting to better protect themselves. Separate reports have found that the number of people making wills has risen at the same time as life insurance has seen a spike in interest. And for commercial lines, corporate customers are carefully scrutinising their current and future business disruption insurance, again with an eye on increasing their cover.

When is a growth in customers a problem? When you can’t handle each one properly. No business wants to fail due to too much success, but if insurers do not adapt rapidly, that is the risk they entertain. Whilst there may be an uptick in demand in some areas, the market is still awash with competition and tight margins.

Adam Bimson

Added to this are the demands of IFRS17, due to come into force in January 2023. That may seem a long way off, but the reporting requirements it places on insurers will require significant organisational, data and technological change, all of which needs to be started now.

 

Two challenges to overcome to achieve better insurance

This all points to the need for a fundamental shift in the way insurers operate in not one, but two areas.

Firstly, there is the need to adapt their operational model so that the effects of disruption, whether driven by the pandemic or regulation, do not impact the experience their customers receive.

Secondly, they need to reinvent their business so that the services and products they provide are both appropriate for customers and capable of withstanding future upheaval.

In both instances, technology, or rather the ability to consolidate, analyse and action data-driven insights through the use of technology, may offer the solution.

Why? Because as with so many things, the issues that insurers face are built on data. Being able to harness it gives them a much better chance of tackling those issues head-on. For instance, when it comes to operational models, better visibility (powered by data), combined with accurate scenario-based modelling and planning, will aid the development of a more agile organisation. Whether it’s adapting to a reduction in staff headcount as infections spike in different parts of the country or anticipating when customer service functions may be impacted by local lockdowns and increased restrictions. Being able to identify problems and react accordingly will be critical to delivering operational continuity and, therefore, unimpeded customer experience, and data lies at the heart of this.

Then there’s how it can be applied to evolving products and services for customers. Customers, whether consumers or businesses, are going to want to feel covered by their insurance – insurers will want to balance this with the need to not overexpose themselves to events that could appear out of nowhere. Here’s where the combination of accurate data use and the right digital tools, such as artificial intelligence-driven solutions, can help insurers take a major leap forward. Premiums can be adjusted, and more dynamic products tailored to the needs of customers can be developed.

Being able to use data more effectively is going to play a major role in complying with IRFS17, both in getting ready for its implementation and meeting its requirements in the years to come. Complying with a reporting standard will drive an investment in data and technology, but harnessed correctly, that investment can unlock wider benefits – the same commitment can be used to cover off all the challenges already covered.

In short, those that use technology effectively, and plan for scenarios appropriately, are more likely to build the types of products and services that fulfil both those objectives, and ultimately keep customers coming back.

 

Planning for the unpredictable

Much like other sectors, insurers need to revamp their business models. Technology, and the better use of data, offers a solution to both operational and customer experience challenges.

Planning for the unpredictable may seem impossible, but by using a variety of data sources, and more importantly, by being able to connect them all and read them effectively, insurers can ensure they continue to meet customer expectations while preparing their businesses for whatever comes next.

 

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Finance

GEOSPATIAL DATA VISUALISATION MAKES SENSE OF MASS OF COMMERCIAL PROPERTY INSURANCE DATA

Heikki Vesanto, Manager GIS Data Science, LexisNexis Risk Solutions UK & I

 

Like most areas of the general insurance market, data, analytics and technology are helping commercial property insurance providers make faster and more accurate decisions based on a holistic view of risk.  The big difference in commercial property (and to an extent home insurance) is that it is quite literally a picture or map of risk that’s being created – right down to an individual property outline – through the evolution of desktop based geospatial data visualisation tools.

Knowing that visual imagery is more intuitive and speeds up the ability to assess risk, data visualisation tools developed specifically for the insurance sector have become increasingly sophisticated.  They help make immediate sense of the huge and growing volume of data at the market’s disposal.

This data includes the characteristics of a property (floors, height, roof type etc.); its location; the individuals behind the business; the crime and environmental risks including near real-time data on flood and river flows direct from the Environment Agency plus customer and policy data held within an insurance providers’ own databases.

Heikki Vesanto

All this data can now be analysed, aggregated and visualised in map form for use within the insurance continuum – marketing, pricing, underwriting, claims. It reveals where exposures and accumulations exist in an instant and shows insurance providers where there is capacity to write more business.  Fundamentally, the inclusion of all this data allows insurance providers to more accurately price each risk upfront relative to its unique profile.

The demand for this level of insight is only set to grow as commercial insurance providers face changing risks on two fronts. The first is climate change and the cost of claims emanating from extreme weather events. Profitability in commercial property insurance is significantly affected by weather conditions and a recent report suggests commercial property insurance rates were up around 20% on average in Q3 2020[i].

The second is the shift in the use of commercial property space, partially caused by the pandemic.  Surveys suggest that the enforced exodus of workers from offices could be permanent for at least part of the week[ii].  Indeed, several banks across Europe have confirmed they will be closing branches and asking staff to work from home[iii].   There are also questions over the future of town centres which were already in decline before COVID-19.

Understanding which insured properties are vacant versus occupied in a flood, fire or a severe storm, knowing roads closed due to fallen trees, where flood water will flow or how a fire in one building could spread to another is now possible through the evolution of geospatial data visualisation tools such as LexisNexis® Map View, enabling complex property data to be quickly and easily understood and acted upon.

When a weather event occurs, insurance providers can look at a specific geographical region, a postcode, an address or a single property outline, pulling on a wide range of data including live feeds from the Environment Agency.  This means that rather than wait for an influx of claims to assess the exposure to a climate event, they can upload their policy and claims data to visualise the risks and exposure for a whole book of business. They can understand which policyholders could be impacted and where on the ground resources need to be located.

The flexibility of the tools offered today makes it easy to filter down to the risks most of interest, focus on one property for underwriting purposes or a whole block of properties in the path of a coming storm.

The use of ‘live’ data also means that Estimated Maximum Loss and Potential Maximum Loss can be calculated.

Risk can be assessed as needed or a constant monitor created for a whole commercial property portfolio. Looking at a whole portfolio alongside past claims may also help insurance providers price more accurately and understand how they could help mitigate future claims and potential losses.

As well as supporting underwriting, pricing and claims management, with this visual depiction of risk, insurance providers can easily identify areas where they can sell more business in large cities and automatically see where they have areas of high concentrations of Sums Insured for reinsurance calculations.

Insurance specific geospatial data visualisation tools are enabling the insurance market to utilise the increasing availability of ‘live’ and new data sources related to commercial property risks.  This is helping the market to price with pinpoint accuracy, manage their portfolio and get on the front foot when a weather event hits to limit their losses and protect policyholders.

 

[i] https://www.artemis.bm/news/commercial-property-insurance-price-rises-accelerate-globally-in-q3/

[ii] https://www.bdonline.co.uk/news/london-office-market-collapses-amid-pandemic-deloitte-survey-finds/5109149.article

[iii] https://www.ft.com/content/a15f17d3-dc86-4030-85fe-74a29eb1fafa

 

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