Greg Secker is the founder of forex education and training specialist Learn to Trade, and Greg Morgan the CEO for the Asia Pacific region. Since its inception in 2003, Learn to Trade has gone from strength to strength. Secker first started by teaching people to trade from his bedroom while living with his parents, and using the knowledge and experience he gained as a Vice President at Mellon Financial Corporation, he began to show people how they could do it too. From there, Learn to Trade began, and grew into the global trading phenomenon and globally recognised brand that it is today.
Wanda Rich, editor of Global Banking & Finance Review, recently interviewed them to learn more about the mindset of an effective trader, the importance of peer groups, and the many benefits of their SmartCharts platform and LifeStyle Trader events.
Secker initially described how Learn to Trade’s unique offering set it apart from its competitors from the very start. “The company, in its original form, was the only trader education company that offered one-on-one coaching from professional traders on a trading floor in London. The competition at the time was running seminars and workshops, but there was no live trading and there was certainly no live one-on-one coaching. When we introduced this in 2003, we’d literally disintermediated the market and we started winning awards within two years from that point.”
Secker credits constant innovation as the secret to their success. He recognised the importance of introducing new techniques and practices to help new traders overcome the initial emotional hurdles that they will almost definitely encounter because, as he explained, “the human brain itself is just not set up to be successful in this game.
“It therefore requires a fair amount of unlearning to happen in order to be successful. As an organisation, we have spent many hours working with different coaching practices, and high-performance and peak-performance strategists, on how to overcome the hurdles associated with a lack of discipline and emotional control for our clients.”
This approach means that the people who attend their programmes are better equipped to handle the emotional control associated with high-performance trading early on, and to meet their aim of getting into a profitable situation sooner. “We spend a great deal of time with our clients. Whether that’s on flying trading days or boot camps, we take time to understand what their challenges are and we’re constantly refining and tailoring the training programme. I would imagine that over the last 18 years, we have changed and updated the programme probably 10,000 times. It’s a constant game of refinement to make it easy and applicable to trading success as quickly as possible.”
Morgan, meanwhile, highlighted that the accessibility of their programmes allows people from all walks of life to learn how to trade the markets while keeping their risk low. “The trading programmes, trading plans and strategies that we teach are so simple and easy to understand and follow, that even a complete beginner can start to yield reliable results. We have perfected our methods of trading through years of trial and error, and now we teach those tried and tested trading strategies – that actually work – to people from all corners of the world, with phenomenal success. We have always remained committed to putting our students first and ensuring that we provide an enhanced trading experience and training.
“You see, a lot of people think trading is pot luck or unpredictable, when in fact it’s totally plan-driven. If you can follow a step-by-step trading plan, you could and should be a successful trader.”
Secker cited two key factors that make being a trader so worthwhile. “One, it is emotionally very liberating, and two, it is a real challenge from an emotional discipline standpoint, and one that can be enhanced only by coaching and practice,” he elaborated. “It allows me to literally take my laptop, convert it into a fast way of assessing opportunities and placing hopefully successful trades, and travel with it wherever I need to go. It’s the fastest way to do this bar none, and it allows me to use interesting instruments which are quite tax-efficient in my own country.”
For Morgan, the value in trading is that it has enabled him to live a life of contribution. “What I mean by that is that trading in the first place is not about the money. The money will come. You must learn this first, and the money will roll in. When you do start making money from trading, plan on giving back. Look after yourself and your family first, then others. I believe in helping others – after all, that’s our primary human function – and when you do that, the law of attraction kicks in and abundance will flow. That’s exactly what happened to me. That’s what trading has gifted me, the ability to help others. For example, I’ve been a keynote speaker for Bowel Cancer Australia; I’ve been able to speak at other charity events, and assisted people less financially fortunate. That’s the greater good that trading has given me – having a greater impact on others around me, because trading is not just about making money; it’s about transformation, self-development.”
Like Secker, Morgan also eluded to the sense of liberation that trading affords. “Trading for me is about living life on my terms, doing what I want when I want. The ability to make money while sitting on a plane flying to London or sitting on a beach in Bali with my family. It is the perfect online business. I could pay for my whole trip with a few trades whilst sitting on a beach sipping a margarita. I know that sounds cliché, but it is so true. Trading has the potential to change your life, and who doesn’t want to live life on their terms?”
For trading novices who don’t know where to begin, Secker suggests against seeking too much advice from too many different sources, which would lead to confusion and ultimately destroy a beginner’s path. “It is important to realise that lots of different traders will have different timeframes, approaches and suggestions,” he warned. “The best thing a new trader could do is to learn a simple trading strategy from start to finish, practice it in a handful of currencies and start implementing with a demo account. I have a 5:3:1 strategy, which means that I teach people to analyse five major currency pairs and focus only on three strategies. The one relates to the same time of day.”
Morgan’s biggest tip for those starting out was to avoid buying online programmes that are not regulated or reputable, but to instead seek a trusted provider. “At Learn to Trade we have the ideal beginners’ programme: the three-day Learn Forex programme. To this day, I still have not found a better forex trading programme on the planet. For those who do not know where to start, I strongly suggest attending one of Learn to Trade’s free two-hour live trading webinars. That is the perfect starting point. After that, you can decide for yourself if you want to pursue trading further.
“When I was first trying to become a consistently profitable trader, I was trying to work it out by myself,” he went on. “I was trying a multitude of trading strategies and systems from unregulated forex educators and brokers. Some seemed quite sensible, while some were downright bizarre, and I lost serious money trying to learn it this way.
“I got into this business of trading because I loved the idea of being able to earn a good income without my money being capped by an employer, and of being able to effectively work from home – and that’s something we have to do now by default, ironically, thanks to COVID! When I look back on it now, I just had this underlying feeling that I wasn’t actually making any money because I was wasting money and time trying to learn this stuff on my own.
“My point is, you need to be connected to a positive, supportive trading peer group. This is really important for one thing alone – belief. There is a well-known saying: ‘The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the expectations of your peer group.’”
Morgan’s view is that one cannot help but adopt the same belief patterns and success of their trading peers, as they all expect to consistently make money from the currency markets. Contrastingly, someone who is starting on their own, perhaps trading from their home, will find themselves not connected to a positively enforced peer group. “Having a trading peer group keeps you focused on your trading goals and financial targets. Most people who embark on this journey alone often have to fend off ridicule from their nearest and dearest, many of whom – with the best intentions in the world – haven’t a clue what they are talking about. They don’t know anything about trading, yet they have an opinion on it. They don’t know what they don’t know.”
For this reason, he also advises beginner traders to avoid spending time with others who are starting out. “You will reinforce negative beliefs, and you won’t be focused on a successful trading plan. It’s no wonder that people doing this on their own fail pretty badly. A trading-friendly peer group is massively important to your success, as is connecting with like-minded people, but not making this about money in the first instance. This has to be first and foremost about mastering a skill, and once the skill has been mastered, making money is just an output of that skill.”
The two men first met seven years ago when Morgan was, as described by Secker, a “very keen graduate” who attended his training programme. “He made some mistakes at the beginning,” Secker recalled. “I would visit my trading floors once or twice a year. I spent a lot of time in Australia because I had a home out there at the time. Greg was certainly one of the most animated and enthusiastic delegates back in the day, although he did have a challenge with following proper risk management. He would take unnecessary risks early on, which was important because it taught him a very vital lesson, which is that if you do that, you will come unstuck. Which, of course, he did.
“However, importantly, he didn’t let that defeat him,” Secker continued. “He turned it around, and realised that you could own the things that were holding you back if you took ownership of them. Of course, when he did that, he had the power to then change that behaviour, that vacillating behaviour.
“The real steps to change are a desire to change and realisation that change is required. An in-depth analysis of what behaviours the individual is automatically being triggered into is needed, to replicate the behaviour and then replace the behaviour with the more empowering set of beliefs – focus, disciplines, principles and intentions. You’ll find very quickly that this can have a quite transformative effect on the trader’s results. This is exactly what we did with Greg, and he went from being good one month and then bad another to being consistent, until he won our Trading Cup Challenge three years in a row.”
Morgan’s move into trading followed two years out of work due to a strenuous battle with cancer, and a decision that the rest of his life would happen on his terms. In the initial stages of trying his hand at forex trading, he was scammed online through trading programmes from unregulated brokers, traders and educators. “I was spending thousands trying to learn this stuff on my own and trying to get some sort of return on my investment. It just didn’t work.
“When I found Greg Secker, he was sharing the stage with Tony Robbins at a business event in Melbourne,” Morgan said. “When Greg was on stage demonstrating how trading the currency markets works and that anyone can do this with the right education, I was hooked. I signed up then and there to his award-winning three-day Learn Forex course. After those three days, I asked my wife, ‘Why haven’t I found this before? It has to be our pathway to moving ourselves and the family forward financially.’
“I then invested into an advanced trading programme with Learn to Trade, called the Unlimited Wealth trading plan programme. In this programme, I was taught how professional currency traders make their money, and how they consistently take money from the markets in a clinically unemotional fashion.”
Twelve months later, after following Learn to Trade’s programme and being taught how to trade by the world’s best traders, he became Global Trader of the Year. “I haven’t looked back. Greg Secker himself rang me and asked me to come and work with him, helping other beginner traders to transform their lives. I jumped at the opportunity.
“Now I’m Learn to Trade’s APAC CEO. I run two trading floors for Learn to Trade in Australia and the Philippines. I love my role; I feel very, very blessed and privileged as it gives me an opportunity to change people’s lives through trading.”
“I won’t have anybody run my trading floors who isn’t passionate about trading,” Secker confirmed. “Greg is 100% passionate about trading; he lives and breathes it. He trades every instrument that he can get his hands on. He is constantly talking to me about the effects of macro and microeconomic inputs into the markets. I believe that unless you have your leader passionate and driving from the front, it would be very difficult for the business to thrive.”
Secker explained that he looks for passionate, enthusiastic individuals rather than managers. “Everybody knows trading is hard, and if you have people who are not successful and passionate, that can spread a negative ripple effect across the trading floors. Of course, we have clients come into our trading floors and trade alongside us and it is very important that they have a positive influence that leads right from the front. I will not scrimp on that – that is non-negotiable.
“This is a business which is built by traders for traders. This is quite a different business model and one which is based on flexibility and disintermediation, trying to give opportunities to ordinary people interested in trading, which is reclaiming your life, reclaiming your time and doing what you want, when you want and as much as possible. I found that being able to successfully and consistently trade the largest market in the world, namely the Forex currency market, provides the individual with that opportunity. I’ve been doing it for 26 years and I’ve watched thousands of people do the same; if they follow a regimented trading plan and implement it with discipline on a frequent basis, good results tend to come.”
That is not to say that everybody has the correct mindset to be successful at trading. “Anybody who comes into this without a plan shouldn’t be there in the first place, because it indicates that they are doing the opposite – they are coming in just to have a punt,” Secker said. “When people come in for a punt and the market moves against them, they don’t know what to do because they haven’t got a predefined plan. They then just go into emotional planning on the spot, which always ends in disaster. So, it’s very simple. Do they have a plan or do they not? That is the first step. The second is, do they follow the plan or do they not?”
He described the process incorporated by Learn to Trade whereby all clients are heavily screened before they attend the programme. “We put them on a trader personality profiling call following our early introductory trainings to ascertain what type of psychological profile they have, and then we suggest trading strategies and a trading plan to suit. For example, there’s very little point in having an in-depth, structured and highly analytical plan for somebody who is not structured and finds it difficult to follow instructions and a plan. So, it’s different horses for different courses.”
Due to economic uncertainty, the ongoing effects of the pandemic and the ever-present desire for financial freedom, the interest in trading is on the rise. However, Morgan reiterated that trading is not for everyone. “If you’re just looking for a way to get rich quick, this is not for you,” he stated. “Trading requires patience, discipline, effort and a bit of time. Treat it like a business; treat the markets with respect. You need to trade clinically and unemotionally. You need to tame the beast between your ears – your mind. Fear and greed, FOMO – fear of missing out – you need to get these elements in check to be a successful trader.
“If you have a gambling mentality, don’t trade. Winning traders possess a firm, basic belief in their ability to be winning traders – a belief that is not seriously shaken by a few or even several losing trades. In contrast, many losing traders have serious, nagging self-doubt.
“Education, support and the right mindset is critical in finding success as a trader,” he added.
|Greg Morgan’s Tips to Improve Your Trading Mindset
The biggest lesson Secker himself has learned from training forex relates to mindset – that is, to not let the previous trade’s outcome dictate intentions for the next. “They are not related, other than in the mind of the person who’s trading them,” he pointed out. “Therefore, all trades should be treated equally and hence from that, I developed a systematic way of trade sizing every position our traders place to keep it under 2% risk of the account. This is one of the main reasons that the delegates who attend our programmes worldwide are much more successful and become long-term, professionally-minded, self-directed traders.
“In fact, our competitors are miniscule by comparison. If you consider our 700-plus employees worldwide, our 100-plus traders, our systems research and the fact that companies in the group are regulated in multiple jurisdictions, this all means that the level of professionalism we bring to the game is way beyond that of the average Joe who sets up a small trading business.”
Wanda went on to ask about LifeStyle Trader events, an element of Learn to Trade’s teaching programme that focuses on technical analysis, taking into account current market context. “The idea of these events is for people who have never traded before to gain access to a live, interactive session where they can watch a professional trader execute a simple-to-understand trading plan and approach based on their analysis, and then watch that trade play out in real time,” Secker explained.
He finds it to be a powerful way of demonstrating the effectiveness of their trading strategies, training, coaching and mentorship. “First and foremost, the strategies are simple to understand, explained in context and detail during the webinar, and then put into practice so the individual can see exactly what type of activity they would be engaging in before they enrol on the full programme.
“They get an understanding of the effectiveness of the strategies. Plus, the LifeStyle Trader events are live and interactive, so prospective clients have the opportunity to ask a multitude of questions to ensure that they are completely confident and aware of their required commitment to the programme, how long it takes and how their expectations should be set.”
Morgan sees these events as the perfect foray into currency trading. “They are jam-packed, two-hour trader training webinars, and free to attend. But that’s not why you should attend.
“You should join because it’s our promise to you that this webinar event will leave you with a lot more hands-on understanding of trading tools than all the books you’ve ever read and all the videos you’ve ever seen. At the event, you won’t just learn the trading basics, but you’ll also learn some potential smart trading systems that most traders haven’t yet discovered. Instead of focusing on individual profits or losses, this event highlights the importance of having a solid trading plan.
“Our Lifestyle Trader live webinar events are engaging, informative, and absolutely 100% focused on the goal – which is to have you walk out with clear, correct, complete knowledge of trading in today’s world.”
Morgan hosts these events himself, and he listed some of the content that features in the two-hour sessions. “We include our exclusive risk management techniques, which show you how you can easily keep risk to 2% risk per trade using our system; how to use ‘set and forget’ systems to help automate your trade orders and free up your time; a step-by-step walkthrough of a systematic approach that can help you to identify key patterns in any market movement, up or down; our approach to trader psychology, and how to successfully master your mindset; how traders rev up for the huge impact of global news and events on the currency markets; live trading analysis; how to use SmartCharts, and how to think about what you want to achieve with your trading.”
On the subject of the award-winning SmartCharts, which Morgan describes as “a transformational trading platform that finds the trades for you,” Wanda asked both men to discuss the advantages it offers.
“SmartCharts integrates all of the learning that takes place on all of our programmes,” Secker affirmed. “It has it all pre-recorded in bite-sized chunks so that at any time, a delegate can go back over the material and focus on exactly what part of the syllabus they need more training on.”
He explained that the system is intelligent enough to know in which areas the delegate is weakest, and will direct their focus to those areas while keeping track of their training schedule. Morgan added, “SmartCharts is the only professional trading platform that has won industry awards for the quality of the trader education centre bundled into the platform, which has been broken down into modules to ensure that there are no gaps in the knowledge you need to become a successful, profitable trader.”
Secker also described SmartCharts’ inbuilt scanner, which finds the taught trading strategies in real time, so that users do not need to spend hours in front of the screen. “In fact, most of the work is done for the user before they log on each day, which means that the trading opportunities matching are presented in a clear way. Then, after making their own assessment, the trader can, if they wish, place those trade orders while keeping risk to less than 2%, using the very same strategies that they just learnt on the training programmes in an automated fashion.”
The SmartCharts platform allows clients to book their coaching to interact with real, live trader coaches. “They can get updates, feedback, mentorship and coaching on their trading performance, as well as share their trading records with a designated coach who participates in the coaching and training,” Secker continued. “They can also watch daily live-streamed webinars that broadcast in multiple trading floors around the world, which analyse the markets on a daily basis for our trading community, direct from our professional trading teams, so that potential opportunities can be gauged.
“SmartCharts really is so much more than that. Effectively, if you wish to become a lifestyle trader, all you need is a laptop and SmartCharts, as the entire programme captures everything else.”
“It was the game-changer for me,” Morgan agreed. “SmartCharts contains an arsenal of highly tested trading strategies, advanced trading tactics and tools. Everything has been tried, tested, tweaked and perfected to get this trading platform to a point where you can learn, implement and eventually scale. The trade scanner finds those high-profit trading opportunities across our five inbuilt trading strategies, scanning for those trade signals for you. This means that you will have a profit-making arsenal, irrespective of whatever market condition you are faced with.
“The trader will have a complete understanding of the strategies within minutes, which means that they will be implementing and testing them within hours. This is an amazing way to get you up to speed very quickly.”
The platform’s accessibility and ease of use make it suitable for users of all levels of capability, Morgan said. “It is so easy to trade using this clever technology, that even a complete beginner can use it. All of the algorithms, the indicators, the scanners, the five trading strategies and the settings are going to be pre-programmed in for you, so you do not need to be an advanced programmer to get your trading station set up. It will be completely pre-configured out of the box and ready to work for you. You also have the ability to access SmartCharts on any device, on any platform. You can access it from an Android device, an iPad or iPhone, a laptop or any device that can display a webpage effectively. You can check your trades anywhere, anytime – even on a plane!
“Regardless of whether you are advanced or not, there is a complete suite of traders’ tools available within SmartCharts for you to mirror any of your previous platform configurations. SmartCharts can literally scale up to the most professional trader’s requirements.”
He also highlighted another impressive feature inbuilt into the SmartCharts trading platform: with a click of a button, users can stream into a live trading session with top London traders and join the most profitable session in the forex market. This also provides the user with that all-important peer group that Morgan discussed earlier. “This specific feature is one of the main reasons that we have been voted the number one trading platform. It really doesn’t get more live and interactive than that. Most people comment that it’s like having a seat on our professional trading floor, five days a week, and it really is the heart of our community. This element is truly worth its weight in gold.”
There are tools incorporated into the platform that allow traders to manage risk; indeed, SmartCharts was specifically built with risk mitigation in mind, Secker revealed. “It’s impossible to place a trade on SmartCharts straight out of the box without risk management scaled and applied to every single trade before execution,” he said. “This is the critical reason that so many of our delegates are successful and are still trading today: because the system helps them to manage that downside risk professionally, without even having to reach for a calculator.
“It is quite surprising that after all this time, many other institutions and trading houses haven’t built in proper trade side management into their programmes. This was a move that we made very early on and has stood us in good stead, ultimately leading to us winning multiple awards.”
So far, Learn to Trade has trained in excess of 400,000 people. Its mandate is to train as many people as possible around the world, using trading and SmartCharts as the vehicles to create financial freedom.
“Learn to Trade will be expanding globally over the next three years,” Secker reported. “We already have a high number of development projects in progress which we are very excited about, and from our user testing with our friendly client base, we believe that this will be yet another game-changer in the retail forex and retail stock commodity and index trading world. As a group, we anticipate extending across Asia and Europe this year and making inroads into North America next year.”
“We are now 100% online, a shift caused by the pandemic,” Morgan said. “We have perfected the online trader training model, which makes it as though you are live in the classroom. This means that we can provide our training 24/7 around the world, to traders who have not been able to attend our in-house three-day Learn Forex programme, but now can attend from anywhere in the world, from the comfort of their own living rooms. How good is that? All live and interactive, as though you are face to face in the classroom.”
In a time when all types of people from all walks of life are looking to take control of their financial destinies themselves, they are turning to new ways of doing so. “Learn to Trade gives retail investors, mums and dads, retirees and people like myself a way of tapping into a potentially lucrative opportunity with flexibility and ease,” Morgan went on.
“As well as providing high-quality systems, at Learn to Trade, we believe that trading is about people. We connect our experienced, professional forex traders with private traders of all levels to share our knowledge, experience and views on the markets. We have been committed to building a worldwide trading family since our inception.
“This is an amazing, exciting space to work in. At Learn to Trade we are a passionate, dedicated group of people. We are a trading education company built by traders for traders, for people like you and me, to offer us a vehicle to live life on our terms — financially free.”
DISCLAIMER: Learn to Trade Pty Ltd (ACN:138178542, AFSL:339557) will only provide you with general advice, not personal advice. That means, we will not take into account your personal objectives, financial situations or needs, even if they are known. Accordingly, the advice may not be appropriate for you. We may provide general advice regarding trade size, the level of margin needed and risk management techniques appropriate for our trading strategies. You should obtain professional advice and ensure you read and consider the appropriate offer or disclosure document before trading or acting upon any general advice provided
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