STA Blog

Dr Van K. Tharp: And his Super Trader Programme

Over to the conference centre at America Square yesterday evening, to an event jointly hosted by the Society of Technical Analysts (STA) and the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association (CAIA).  A great layout with semi-circular tables for the many attendees, the interview was conducted by Ron William, and was based on a previous one for the Swiss Association of Market Technicians (SAMT).

I hadn’t realised, but a chap at my table explained that Van ‘the man’ was quite the superstar, working since 1982 to help aspiring traders hone their skills at The Van Tharp Institute in Cary, North Carolina.  Their mission, and I quote, ‘is not only to transform your trading but also your life.  To accomplish that mission, you will commit to investing a substantial amount of your time, money and effort’ – roughly to the tune of $75,000, I’m told.

Helena, of CAIA (pictured with Ron and Dr Tharp’s delightful wife), kicked off proceedings, explaining briefly what her association does, and then Dr Tharp, red can of Coke to hand, worked through a series of questions linked to thoughts outlined in his book, Trading Beyond the Matrix: The Red Pill for Traders, originally published by Wiley & Sons in 2013.  As a Doctor of Philosophy with a PhD in Psychology (Oklahoma Health Sciences 1975) he used Neuro Linguistic Programming to find out what successful people have in common.  Unsurprisingly he believes that psychology is vitally important for successful trading, a view shared by last night’s results from the interactive electronic show of hands; audience answers to other questions polled were not nearly as clear-cut.

Personality types can, but don’t necessarily, influence trading success, he believes; introversion versus extroversion are irrelevant, though the bulk of his students have profiles where judging (rather than perceiving) and thinking (instead of feeling) dominate.  Daily self-analysis, mental rehearsal, and daily debriefing are encouraged.

Perhaps a more interesting concept is the way he claims there are 6 market types, made up of the combinations: bull, bear, quiet, and volatile.  ‘’It is insane to expect one trading system to work all the time.  I like rules-based discretionary trading’’.

His ‘happiness index’ is even more intriguing, using a logarithmic scale of 0 to 1000.  In case you’re interested, 350 and forgiveness is about as high as you are likely to get.

The link here is from a previous interview.

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The views and opinions expressed on the STA’s blog do not necessarily represent those of the Society of Technical Analysts (the “STA”), or of any officer, director or member of the STA. The STA makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of any information on the blog or found by following any link on blog, and none of the STA, STA Administrative Services or any current or past executive board members are liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. None of the information on the STA’s blog constitutes investment advice.

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