Over the last four years, I must have attended five or six seminars, paying upwards of 800 US dollars each time. The seminars covered such topics as Fibonacci, Writing Covered Calls, Moving Averages and other well known applications of statistical methods to trading; what are commonly known as technical trading or charting techniques.
Once home, I would excitedly go over the material in the free attendee info pack. Invariably, I would find most of the information contained within the format of these seminars to be mere recycled material. The same, if not better, information is in fact available online, occasionally for free, but if not, at a much reduced cost.
You might point to the notion that if anything of value is desired, one has to pay for it. Granted, that for anything worthwhile and of substance, there will be a price tag attached; this should be even more valid for trading systems and information, after all one is expected to make some money using the information.
But, and make that a BIG BUT! There is so much more useful and appropriate information available online, for so much less than the costs of seminars: these run into the hundreds of pounds or dollars! These seminars charge you a small fortune, but the value that they return to you is a big letdown.
At all the seminars I attended, I even had to sign confidentiality agreements. Why? These people say they have something new and secret; yet they run hundreds of seminars exactly like the one they are giving, and they tell all the attendees of their seminars to keep quiet about what they are saying. Do they really expect that to happen?
Well, these clever people who run the seminars all claim to be Gurus. They take age-old techniques (there is nothing much that is new) and write their own copy or presentation style, package it as a new Secret Trading System, organise seminars at some glamorous hotels, and then charge big bucks for teaching their secret trading system or systems to a group of awe-struck attendees. I will hand it to them though; the professionals behind these seminars really know a thing or two about the human State of Mind; or they know someone who does.
From what I observed by attending seminars, the alleged unique or secret trading system is only classified as such because Gurus put together a bunch of two or more standard trading indicators, describe the behaviour in their own way, and bingo!, they announce to all and sundry that they have a unique and secret trading system. The hard part is the effort, time, gathering of and putting together the resources required, but most have staff to do this for them. The sad part is that they ask you to pay so much for their seminars and they give you so little in return.
Once in London in 2006, I went to one seminar (albeit a free taster) at which the so called Guru was not even present. OK, it was a free one, but there was such a strong and obvious sales pitch running throughout, with all the usual software and additional course promos fired at us towards the end. From my point of view the presenter was no more than a flashy salesman. He padded out 10 to 15 minutes of seminar time, telling us about his family history and other salacious details, as if anyone cared.
Of course, one had the option of leaving halfway through the free seminar if one was not pleased or captivated by the spiel; but, in case you have not noticed, they structure the seminars so that any information of value is kept under wraps and revealed only during the second half anyway.
After enduring seminars like these, I always find out that there is enough information that you can get online that will more than cover anything and everything that the core courses in the seminars contained. It may be that I would not get any free refreshments when I research things from home, but I can live with that. I will grant there were a couple of well spent outside excursions, where I learned of a method and a fresh approach to trading of which I had not previously heard. But again, you will realise that with sufficiently extensive and creative searching you are bound to dig up a trading system that will suit your personal trading style.
Seminars can sometimes become a venue for like-minded trading people to meet each other and talk shop. That is all really fine, but it surely does not seem right that you are required to shell out so much money just for the chance to chat with people.
Seminars are supposed to give us information of value, which is what they promote themselves to be; that is what they should give to us. Sadly, few seminars, if any, are not worth the fees you pay for them. But if you are still keen on attending trading seminars, perhaps for the possible research value, by all means you should. But I do not think it is wise to spend more than 10% of your trading budget on any one of these.