How did a French-speaking college tennis star end up teaching Swim Lessons? Easy. The lure of the financial markets. We’ve all felt it. After college in 1980, Scott Connor was working on his tan and teaching tennis at Club Med Tahiti. His best buddy from college visited with stories of his internship on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) trading floor. Armed with an undergrad degree in economics, Connor didn’t need much convincing. He moved to Chicago and spent the next 25 years on the CBOE floor.
Now an eight-year veteran at TD Ameritrade, Connor is Director of Trader Education. Recently back from a stint with TD Ameritrade in Singapore, Connor is busy putting his unique stamp on trader education just for you. And the French stuff? Well, that’s how he got the girl—his wife, a French native—while in Tahiti. She didn’t speak any English, so he learned French. The rest is history.
1. Scott, tell me about your time in Singapore.
For three years I headed up thinkorswim® Singapore’s education team. Until 10 years ago, they never had the opportunity to trade U.S. markets. In Singapore, 54% of our clients fall into the active-trading category, even though they don’t have much experience. We spearheaded an education program with in-person seminars, then took it online and started adding countries and targeting traders at every level, from beginning to advanced.
2. What makes education from TD Ameritrade so special?
The people behind it. I worked in a trading pit for 25 years. Many people in the Active Trader Group at TD Ameritrade likewise came from the CBOE trading floor. We’re all people who had the creds. Many of us have professional floor trading experience and were members of the exchange for many years.
3. What’s new now that you’re running the show?
Clients can find a progressive series of educational trading seminars. The first hour is geared toward beginning traders. The topics become more complex as we drill down into strategy and software. Traders can become more confident if they practice in their paperMoney® virtual trading accounts.
4. Give me three trading rules you live by.
First, define your risk. Know how much you can make or lose no matter what happens. Second, focus on high-probability trades. Third, understand decaying assets. Time decay is a critical factor.
5. Tennis—do you still play?
I now focus my competitive energies on golf. It’s different from tennis. Every time you play, it’s a new course—like the markets. Some courses are flat, some change in elevation. You know how to hit the ball. But how will it land? Same with trading. You put a trade on but have to learn different conditions and how new strategies will react.