Trading is a lonely profession and traders are immensely passionate about their craft. All they need for companionship is their technical charts, and for a fund manager, a set of annual reports to munch on.
There are, however, times when they get a chance to sit together in a group and exchange battle stories. One such opportunity to network and exchange ideas is provided by the Investors Carnival and Traders Carnival that has been organised about 10 times in the past eight years.
The brainchild of Dharmaraj Janakiram and his wife Rekha, Investors Carnival will this year be held between August 22 and 25 in Goa.
Dharmaraj Janakiram, known among traders as DJ, is a former technology professional and has experience of over 20 years managing and consulting on IT Infrastructure and Computer Security. His last assignment was for a bank in Curacao, South America.
Early, DJ had set a target to be financially independent by the age of 45. Towards that end, he decided to venture into stock trading.
A chance encounter changed his life and since then he has never looked back.
Dividing their roles, DJ and Rekha have been successfully organising the carnival which has been well attended by professional as well as would-be traders. A must-attend event among the trading community, the Carnivals offer traders a chance to network and sharpen their wits.
In an e-mail interview with Moneycontrol, DJ talks about the evolution of the Carnival and his journey as a trader.
Q: You began your career as a technology professional. So what prompted you to switch careers?
A: I wanted to be financially independent by the time I turned 45 and was flirting with ideas on doing something on my own. A chance encounter with a Reliance (Securities) franchisee sealed the deal where I entered a couple of trades on May 21, 2009 (based purely on his advice). The Nifty hit two upper circuits, my puts went to ~0 and calls went up by 500 percent.
Then, I only had a commonsensical view of what puts and calls were, not necessarily domain related. My curiosity piqued, I started looking for various avenues to educate myself, and the rest, as they say, resulted in the Carnival (hopefully, we are not history).
Post this ‘honeymoon’ period, I found myself getting stopped out periodically - the broker’s ‘tips’ turned out to be indifferent. I decided to educate myself but unlike in the technology space, the markets then did not lend themselves well by way of exposure to hands-on experience in Bangalore or meeting other peers in this space.
A friend (also a speaker at the first Carnival in 2012) then ran a group on Yahoo which was a virtual community of traders and investors. We used this to spread awareness for the inaugural edition of the Carnival at Bangalore.
And when we started Traders Carnival in 2012, Rekha and I loved the experience so much that we decided to do another the next year, and again, another. We plan to continue doing this so long as it continues to solve problems for traders, we love it and it does not seem like 'work'.
Q: How did the idea of Investors Carnival/Traders Carnival take root?
A: The idea came about on a hot Sunday afternoon in 2011. A few of us friends had met at the Bowring Institute in Bangalore over beer.
"How are you managing your shorts in Nifty?," asked one. We spent the next two hours discussing trading.
"We should do this more often," said another. We realized we needed to do this with a larger group. With people who were passionate about trading, investing and financial markets.
Traders Carnival was born the next year. Over a hundred traders gathered to share their experiences, in October 2012. It ended up as a two-day affair, at the Ecumenical Christian Centre in Whitefield, Bangalore. Like-minded traders discovered each other, pouring over charts and trading systems till 2 am, and were ready for the 7 am keynote.
Since then, we’ve stuck with the residential format. Subsequent years saw Carnivals in Pune, Goa, Mumbai, Delhi and based on popular feedback, once abroad, in Bangkok in 2016. Over 150 traders flew from India to participate in this event.
Q: How has the response from market players over the years been?
A: We think of our Carnivals as a platform for passionate traders to learn about various strategies from professional traders, most of whom trade for a living. This involves several aspects such as money management, risk management, position-sizing, trading psychology and discipline.
Trading is a lonely craft and we believe being part of this tribe helps newcomers find mentors and navigate the markets successfully and consistently. The residential format of the event where organisers, participants, and event partners all stay at the same conference hotel, lends itself very well to deeper discussions that would not be possible otherwise. Late nights flowing into early morning discussions are the norm at every Carnival, throwing out time-based caveats.
To this day, Traders Carnival remains a crowd-funded event for the most part. Close to 40 percent of our attendees return to our events every year. We fondly call them "repeat offenders". This is proof that our attendees find it worth investing their time and money in meeting fellow traders and learning from professionals.
We're proud that not only amateurs but seasoned investors and traders also attend our events for the unparalleled sharing and networking opportunity.
Q: What can a participant hope to achieve by attending the conference?
A: Sure. Let me list them out:
- Learn and network with seminal, professional traders, investors and fund managers through intense interactive discussions over 4 days.
- Learn and explore trading and investing strategies.
- Gain access to the right network of capital market participants that help them learn concepts faster than they would otherwise via other sources.
- Find mentors and even investors for prop trading.
Q: What is the difference between various carnivals – Investors Carnival and Traders Carnival?
A: Both flavours are similar, yet different. It's a curated contradiction. What's common is the exchange of success stories, and more importantly, failures and how they approach overcoming them. In both these events, we choose speakers who are subject matter experts in their areas of competence, are articulate and are keen to share their insights with the audience.
Investors Carnival showcases some of the finest money managers in India and abroad and how, over the years, they have analysed businesses, assessed management quality and discovered the art of valuation across stocks and sectors. The detailed study on market trends and learnings from investment success and failures shared by our speakers adds a lot of value to those who are venturing out in investments and also to those who are already long term investors.
Traders Carnivals ensures how a person wanting to be a trader can learn about the nuances of short term trading as well as how an existing trader can make more money by experiencing trading techniques live. Over the years, we’ve helped hundreds of traders trade more confidently and remain profitable consistently.
Q: How has the format of Carnivals evolved over the years?
A: It’s become increasingly interactive. More workshop-style events. Fewer presentation driven talks. From the last couple of editions, we started live trading sessions where some of the finest traders in India traded options on expiry day in front of a live audience.
We try and get speakers who are experts in subjects our participants tell us they’re interested in. We have covered a plethora of trading-related topics including Elliot waves, market profile, Gann, harmonics, and yes, Options selling, which is suddenly the hot flavour of the month/year.Investors Carnival will be held on August 22-25 in Goa. Check out the list of speakers, and the official Twitter handle.