In simple terms, trade specialisation is when a financial market trader or forex trader takes on the discipline required to trade in a narrow asset class. For instance, the trader would only operate in the Euro and US dollar pair in the forex trading space. Alternatively, they could decide to trade exclusively on the NASDAQ or trade only crude oil or gold – whatever their specific area of choice may be.
Conversely, diversification, as opposed to specialisation, is a choice many traders make. But here’s why a trader may choose to specialise as opposed to diversify:
The benefits of trade specialisation can be great. First of all, diversification gives you a fair level of accuracy in trading (if you are diversifying, you can, on average have between a 60- and 65%-win rate trading across various assets). When you specialise, however, you could achieve as much as a 90%-win rate by focusing on just a single asset.
Strategic specialisation can give you the winning edge and a high level of accuracy – ergo, you may make more money. And specialised trading can be less overwhelming and confusing, leaving you with better work-life balance because, where trading several assets at once means investing more time as you jump from one to the other, specialising in a particular asset or asset class can help you maintain a more singular focus. You are only looking out for one news item, after all, as opposed to constantly watching the markets like a hawk.
Getting started as a specialised online trader
Specialised online trading is all about discipline and accuracy. For instance, if you decide to want to become a specialised trader, you could focus on crude oil and the US dollar – especially since the two have a relationship. If you cultivate a level of understanding about how those two assets work together, your accuracy is likely to increase exponentially.
The discipline comes in only trading when it is truly relevant – or learning to apply real focus, put your hands in your pockets and not be tempted to look into another asset to trade. There are likely to be many times you will be dying to get in there and trade, but if there aren’t real opportunities to do so on your particular asset class, you need to learn to step back and bow out until the grass looks a bit greener.
The real benefits of specialisation
The old cliché, ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ applies here. In my 14 years of trading, I have found, time after time, that traders who decide to master a particular asset class grow to a unique level of understanding of their asset of choice – almost as we understand our life partners after years of marriage. The markets work on the principle of repetition – cycles and patterns that, subject to prolonged observation, will become more predictable to the trader. That predictability gives the trader an edge.
In 2013, I was lucky enough to win an award for the ‘Best Forex Fund Manager’ at the Lagos Forex Expo. This didn’t happen by chance. The win came on the back of converting $150 to $15,000 in six weeks. I did it by trading only the British pound versus the Japanese yen. This happened simply because I gained a very high level of win rates, having observed the cycles and patterns, I cultivated a solid understanding of this particular currency pair. It sounds straightforward, but it required the aforementioned discipline and accuracy in practice. With those in your trading arsenal, anything is possible.
Everything has a downside. But the only pitfall I can think of with specialised trading is that you may not see trading opportunities as often as the average non-specialised trader might. Patience is a virtue, though – and it can pay off. In my experience, it is best to wait, watch and learn. And most importantly, always, trade with a reputable broker.
Tope Ijibadejo is Nigeria Region Manager for CMTrading