The fast-paced world of trading can be a confusing place for the uninitiated, and the penalty for misjudging the markets is high. Luckily, there are experts like Tom Hougaard, who not only know the market, but are also committed to sharing their insight.

Trading superstar Tom Hougaard, a seasoned industry expert with over 20 years of experience under his belt, is the media’s go-to man for financial insight and has been interviewed by most major outlets; he contributes to newspapers, tweets, blogs at tradertom. com, features on numerous YouTube videos and holds seminars on the psychology of trading. Hougaard, originally from Denmark, gained an MSc degree in finance and economics from the University of Birmingham, UK, was employed as a broker in London until the 2010 crash rendered him redundant, and then set up as a solo trader. In the years since, Hougaard – who describes himself as a high-stake trader – has by his own admission had “tremendously good times and heart-breakingly bad times”, but has always come out on top. So what’s his secret? “A good trader can control their risk. It is the only thing that you can control: you can’t control the markets or whether the DAX goes up or down, but you can control how much you are willing to risk on a particular bet.” Risk tolerance is largely determined by an individual’s self-discipline, their ability to avoid irrational responses, to rein in their emotions. The psychology behind trading is one of Hougaard’s main interests, and it is the core subject in many of his seminars. He is a firm believer in using behavioural economics to analyse the market, and thinks it is important to consider the impact of emotional, psychological and social factors on trading decisions. Technical analysis and recognising underlying patterns are crucial skills. But the emotional side of trading is equally important: “What drives bull markets and bear markets is not economic conditions, but people’s response to them.”
Hougaard follows the global markets from four screens in his office, sometimes staying up day and night to trade around the globe, moving on to the next market when one closes down for the day. Crashes like the one at the beginning of February mean sleepless nights, as he trawls and trades on the world’s markets: “Sometimes trading can be like trying to catch a falling knife, and you have to know when to step away.” Occasionally, a welcome break comes in the shape of his 18-month daughter, who walks in and demands to watch Teletubbies on one of the screens.
Hougaard started using the brokerage services of ETX Capital several years ago and has built up a close working relationship with the firm. ETX Capital, located in the heart of the financial district in London, is one of the Top 3 brokers in the UK; it was originally founded in 1965 as Tradition Ltd. and has traded as ETX Capital since 2007. ETX is an acronym for the services the company offers: electronic trading, telephone trading and execution services, which in essence means spread trading and CFD trading on more than 5,500 different products (indices, FX, commodities, cryptocurrency, interest rates/bonds, stocks as CFD trading). The firm has developed a dynamic and rapidly-growing profile in recent years, and now has several international subsidiaries. ETX Capital has acquired an impressive reputation for providing clients with support services from its knowledgeable, multilingual staff. All brokerage services are backed by total confidentiality and a high level of account security; the company is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK and registered with BaFin in Germany. At the heart of ETX Capital’s services lies its sophisticated, triple-tier trading platform that is available in multiple formats, allowing clients to trade from their desks and switch to mobile access for trading on the move. The platforms are fully customisable, provide a heightened level of market access and instant execution.
Tom Hougaard is a fan. “This is the kind of software I was paying 500 pounds a month for when I first started out, and now it’s free of charge. It really is the best in the industry.” Hougaard works closely with ETX Capital in Denmark, his native country, who fly him over from London on average twice a month to hold presentations on trading techniques and teach introductory courses. Now, ETX Capital has arranged for Hougaard to visit Germany – the first time he has been here to speak publicly.
Business Club Hamburg is delighted to be welcoming Hougaard in May for an evening event at which he’ll be sharing his unique take on trading, the market and providing insight into strategies and risk management. Hougaard will also be trading live with ETX Capital software, providing an unmissable opportunity to see the suite in action at the hands of a trading whizz. Does he know what he’ll be trading? “My favourite trading vehicle is the German DAX, an incredibly volatile index, so I may very well take a closer look at it on the day.”


Text: Fiona Sangster