Turn on the TV, listen to the radio or read any web page and you can’t seem to escape the pessimism, doom and gloom surrounding the economic crises happening across the globe. Whether it’s Friday’s historic downgrade of the U.S. economy’s credit rating by Standard & Poor’s or the actions of the European Central Bank to intervene in the plight of the PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) or the debt ceiling debacle happening here in the U.S., one thing is clear: it’s a tough time to be an investor.
Investors everywhere are struggling with the same issue: how to combat a down market. Investor confidence has been rattled, and they are looking for answers. Not answers that plummet into the toilet as the price of gold skyrockets or as another Wall Street scandal is uncovered, but real opportunities to succeed as an investor.
My grandmother would tell stories of hiding money in jars - sometimes in the backyard and other times under the mattress. To her, it was the only way to keep a dollar a dollar. But in these uncertain times, investors are looking to more than keep their dollar whole – they are looking for ways to invest and still buy that retirement condo in Florida or take that trip to Spain or put two kids through college. Staying whole isn’t enough in today’s shaky economy, and investors don’t have much in the way of new options.
Sure, there are hedge funds, mutual funds, ETFs, managed accounts and the like. Not too much new here. Most of these instruments invest in the same blue-chip stocks or 20-year T Bill. So much for diversification. So, how do investors go beyond the same old, same old and find exciting new ways to invest?
Personal finance reporter at SmartMoney, Sarah Morgan, recently covered the foreign exchange (Forex) investing opportunity. She wrote, “New research suggests that retail foreign exchange traders – who now account for $4 trillion in daily trades – can dramatically increase their odds of winning by simply copying the moves of more successful traders, and several new currency-trading sites now allow traders to do just that.”
Sarah’s article, “New Tool For Currency Traders: Mimicry,” examines the opportunities to take advantage of the Forex market, well-known for its complexity on one hand and profit potential on the other. The challenge has always been how to take advantage of this asset class if you’re not a trader. Making money as a retail Forex trader is tough business. Less than 30 percent of Forex traders are profitable and most churn and burn in less than three months, which doesn’t sound too promising, and we’re back to doom and gloom. But, what about a way to follow and take the trades of the experts? Call it mirror trading, auto trading, copy-cat trading or mimicry. It’s about leveraging the success of top Forex traders and making it your own. A new way to create a portfolio of people – professional Forex traders who know the ins and outs of the market, follow rigorous risk management practices and tested investment strategies all aimed at driving alpha.
Now, as Sarah points out in her article, not all Forex investing programs are created equal. Investors need to review their options carefully to ensure they are picking the right program for their investment needs. In any mirror trading program, the program is only as good as the expert traders. Sarah says, “Javier Paz, senior analyst at Aite Research Group, recommends Currensee, which he says is easy to navigate and sets a higher bar for its ‘expert’ traders than other services. To become a so-called expert that others can follow, traders must demonstrate at least three straight profitable months and use appropriate risk management techniques. Plus, the firm pays these successful traders for their performance, so their interests are aligned with their followers, he says.”
As we all know, there is no magic bullet in the world of investing. Sadly, the Magic 8 ball that sits on my desk can do no better than tell me that “all signs point to yes.” Well, being an eternal optimist, I’ll take it.
Be sure to read the full risk disclosure before trading Forex. Please note that Forex trading involves significant risk of loss. It is not suitable for all investors and you should make sure you understand the risks involved before trading. Performance, strategies and charts shown are not necessarily predictive of any particular result. And, as always, past performance is no indication of future results. Investor returns may vary from Trade Leader returns based on slippage, fees, broker spreads, volatility or other market conditions.