Hands up who wants to trade?

Trading stocks and shares is simple. In fact, anyone can do it and what’s more, women are better at it than men says expert Adam Karni Cohen.

By Candice Krieger, October 14, 2010
Fair trade: inexperienced investors are making 10 per cent a month

Fair trade: inexperienced investors are making 10 per cent a month

Anyone can be successful on the stock market says active investor Adam Karni Cohen.

The 30 year-old is the co-founder of Tradenet UK, a training programme designed to help inexperienced investors learn the "tricks of the trade" and make the most of investment opportunities.

He says: "You don't need to be a professional to trade. Don't be daunted by the technical language out there. What it boils down to is that one person is selling and one is buying. If you know what you're doing you can make money from that."

It is this belief that inspired Mr Karni Cohen, who spent close to three years working for Jacob Rothschild, chairman of RIT Capital Partners, to set up Tradenet UK.

Tradenet UK is an extension of Tradenet global, which was founded by professional US trader Meir Barak six years ago and has taught more than 6,000 people how to trade on the US Stock Market, earning more than 170 per cent returns since April 2008. It has offices in the US, Tel Aviv and Budapest.

Tradenet teaches people how to trade under the guidance of experienced professionals. Courses start at £2,300 for 36 hours of teaching plus an ongoing online support service provided by analysts. The evening workshops are proving popular with all demographics and it is women, says Mr Karni Cohen, who make the best traders.

Karni Cohen's top tips for traders

● Never enter a position without knowing how much you are going to lose. Always start pessimistically.
● Never enter a position without knowing how much you are likely to make. Have a target in mind.
● Don't trade with too much money: those starting out shouldn't trade with more than a few hundred pounds. Once you have done a course, trade a few thousand. Each individual trade should be very small: You should be losing or gaining £10,£20 or £30
● Don't put all your eggs in one basket
● Don't be daunted by the technical language

"They are more disciplined. They don't take any b******t. They want to understand the issue before they place the trade whereas men get motivated by testosterone."

He says: "We teach people how to be like an expert without having been a professional. We teach people how to go long and short of the market over a number of days, trading primarily US shares - it's the best way to learn the liquidity and volatility."

Mr Karni Cohen, who describes himself as a technical trader, has worked with leading hedge funds, private equity investors and investment banks, but remains convinced that private individuals can trade successfully on their own account and do not need to rely on external - fee charging - experts.

He believes students can make five to ten per cent returns a month. "I look to generate that on a monthly basis."

For those looking to get their foot on the trading ladder, he advises baby steps. "Learn some of the basic points around how the stock market works. At the end of the day, it comes down to the fundamental point that there is someone who wants to sell a share and someone who wants to buy it.

Although that might be quite obvious, most people I speak don't think like that and get tangled up in all sorts of economic drivers. People who want to buy and sell shares from each other have been motivated by the same things that have been driving the market for centuries: fear and greed. And if you can understand how the fear and greed are driving the prices today, you can profit from that."

But do you not need a trading screen to trade? "Tradenet teaches people how to use the trading screens and not be scared of them. You can use the screens from home. You can get all the software you need without paying a cent for it and you can make your trading decisions on the back of that."

Mr Karni Cohen himself focuses on day trading (where stocks are bought and sold very quickly and held on to for less than a day) and short-term swing trading (where a trader generally holds stock for a short period of time, typically one to five days), US stocks and shares. He also dabbles in foreign exchange.

But it was not so long ago that the Cambridge University history graduate was an aspiring theatre director. "I was interested in pursuing an idealistic career. There was no money in it but that didn't matter to me except that it was hard to see a trajectory. It was hard to live like that." He left the art world to become a consultant, working at major company, Bain & Company, a global business consulting.

"It was a fantastic organisation with wonderful people but I found myself sitting up late at night working on spread sheets and it wasn't me."

He left to become chief operating officer in Lord Jacob Rothschild's office, overseeing investment, management and philanthropic activities. "I learnt about how you can make deals without running around shouting about it in the street."

He was meeting some of the top investors in the world, including Sir Ronald Cohen and NewSmith Capital's Michael Marks, the former executive chairman of Merrill Lynch Europe, and it was during his time working for Lord Rothschild that his passion for trading was fostered.

"Aside from the fact that I make money from it, it keeps me plugged into the world. When I read the newspapers, I am more in tune to what is happening than if I didn't have money in the market.

What are the best shares to invest in? Reluctant to give away his secrets, he says: "I have nothing to say on the subject. I have no particular sector I would recommend. I am completely agnostic about it. I don't look far enough into the future to form a view like that."

Mr Karni Cohen has recently been trading in the US market and in gold. "I don't form a long-term view. There is nothing safe in the market anymore. That's what we've learned over the past ten years.

"If you're looking for the golden opportunity that you can buy and hold on to for ten years, I don't think that exists. Anyone interested in the market should be learning how to trade shorter term and take advantage of short-term opportunities."

Last updated: 11:33am, October 14 2010