Beginning your portfolio in the futures market can be a daunting, if ultimately rewarding, task. While there are many factors that determine a trader’s success, the most profitable portfolios are built by traders who are thoughtful and strategic from the outset. Therefore, it is important to know the steps a successful trader takes when beginning in the market.
The first step for any successful trader is to find a qualified professional broker. At minimum this means someone who works at a brokerage that is registered with the CFTC and member of the NFA, is willing to display a public profile and has a verifiable track record of expertise. Transparency is key in any broker-client relationship, and a qualified broker should be up front about all the ways in which they can help you reach your highest potential in the futures market.
Once you’ve determined these basic qualities in a potential broker, it is important to assess your needs and goals in the market and identify which brokers will best help you meet them. Begin familiarizing yourself with the various market exchanges, analyze your own assets and financial goals, and specify your strengths and weaknesses as a new trader. Once you have a basic idea of what you will need from your broker, go through your options and see which brokerages offer the help that you need. What types of trading platforms are offered by the broker? How available are they on a daily basis, both during and after trading hours? What do they consider their specialty in futures trading? What commission rates do they offer? These are all important questions to ask when interviewing a potential broker. Ideally, as a first-time futures trader, you will find a broker who is available both during and after trading hours, offers a variety of platforms, and has a broad range of experience in the field. And remember, a low commission rate is only a factor, and not the whole of selecting a trader, bargain basement rates often accompany poor broker service.
After selecting a broker, you will be set up on a trading platform that you both have determined is best for your needs. Every trading platform should offer a demo period. It is important to trade in the demo mode for 3 to 4 weeks to get comfortable with the platform and begin identifying your trading strategy. One important thing to remember is to follow the trend. Every futures market follows a certain trend with set guidelines that determine the market’s direction. As you take your demo time to become more familiar with your chosen area of the futures market, your trading should reflect the trend of this market. Another important rule of thumb is: don’t overplay a market. It is easy to be overcome by a series of successful trades, but it important to stay on task, trade objectively and avoid frequent entrances and exits into any given market. When in the trial period, try to journal the ebbs and flows of your given market every day. Seeing the market volatility laid out from your trial run will help you stay calm when you’re ready to trade, thus avoiding rash, and often costly, decisions.
After your trial run, it is time to go live. Do not get caught living in demo mode, if you have done your research and followed your demo run closely, you will be ready to go into the live market with confidence in your strategy, and trust in your broker to help you through the more challenging trading days. Start off by trading one contract, and communicate with your broker frequently to confirm that they are available when you need them. As you expand your portfolio, spread out your risk capital by diversifying your portfolio into a few different markets. Continue to follow your strategy, journal the trends, and stay in close communication with your broker.
At Cannon Trading, our brokers are experienced, transparent, knowledgeable, and available. For over thirty-years we have provided top-quality individual service to our clients. We offer a variety of trading platforms and work with several introducing brokers, making it easy for us to customize our services to your trading needs. Our trade desk is available 24/7, and our brokers answer the phones right away during trading hours. Our clients not only benefit from our experienced brokers, but also access to our daily newsletter and frequent articles summarizing the market trends, outlining tips and tricks, and taking our clients step-by-step through the process of conquering the futures market. We also offer competitive commission rates to new clients. As a new trader to the futures market, working with a brokerage you can trust is paramount, and our clients have trusted us to be their market allies for decades.
Disclaimer – Trading Futures, Options on Futures, and retail off-exchange foreign currency transactions involves substantial risk of loss and is not suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. You should carefully consider whether trading is suitable for you in light of your circumstances, knowledge, and financial resources. You may lose all or more of your initial investment. Opinions, market data, and recommendations are subject to change at any time.