Event Review – TD Waterhouse Discount Brokerage Direct Investing Expo – Vancouver 2012 – Part 1

The Vancouver Direct Investing Expo organized by TD Waterhouse provided self-directed investors the chance to learn about macroeconomic trends and issues coming in 2013, tips on technical analysis, exchange traded funds and several options trading strategies. This day-long event featured top-tier speakers such as Bob Gorman, TD’s Chief Portfolio Strategist, as well as a line-up of speakers from Investools, Horizons Exchange Traded Funds and from TD’s Wealth Management division.

Even though it was a typical rainy Vancouver day, the Direct Investing Expo launched on a bright note with a great breakfast spread. The TD Waterhouse Discount Brokerage booths surrounding the foyer area had demo stations for several of the major tools of interest to self-directed investors including the TD mobile trading app, the thinkorswim platform, web broker and global trading.  Horizons Exchange Traded Funds and the Montreal Exchange also had booths providing investors with information on their products and services.  Like most discount brokerage sponsored events, TD Waterhouse Discount Brokerage took the opportunity to showcase their products to the audience as well as try and land some new clients. To that end, one interesting incentive they offered was a refund of the $100 price of admission for non-TD clients who wanted to sign up for a TD Waterhouse account on the day.  Overall, however, the balance of the day was decidedly on education rather than sales.

The World in 2013 According to Bob Gorman

The first speaker to take the stage was Chief Portfolio Strategist for TD, Bob Gorman.  Investors listened attentively as he outlined his case (impressively without notes) for the economic and investing climate for 2013.  In his view, Bob Gorman believes that 2013 won’t be as dire as some market observers are currently forecasting.  His arguments on the US fiscal cliff being more of a fiscal drag, the recovery of the US auto and housing sectors and an overall soft landing in China mean that on a valuation basis, 2013 could be a positive year for certain sectors.  The tactical approach on where to invest included advising investors to tread carefully with fixed income investments, favouring large cap companies to smaller cap companies and to focus on what he calls ‘dividend-growth stocks’.  For those looking for something more adventurous, the emerging markets may hold promise in the “MIST” countries (Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea and Turkey) over the traditional “BRIC” (Brazil, Russia, India, China).  The mix of economic news and concrete picks made this session a very valuable one for investors looking for some investing themes and companies.

Getting Technical

There was a split in the schedule with two sessions running concurrently.  One was on “The Art and Science of Analyzing Charts” i.e. technical analysis (which I attended) and the second was “ETF Trading: Income Investing Using ETFs” presented by Horizons Exchange Traded Funds. The technical analysis session was led by Ryan Lewenza, V.P. & U.S. Equity Strategist at TD Wealth Management.  Ryan walked the crowd through some of the basics of support, resistance and chart reading.  While technical analysis isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, there were some interesting points made on being able to better time entries and exits on ‘fundamentally good’ companies, with the bottom line (no pun intended) being that stocks are not things investors should ever fall in love with.  Of course, while some folks were writing notes during this one, others who felt a little out of their depth with “Relative Strength Indicators” and ‘on balance volumes’ were fortunate enough to have brought their knitting. Trying to get the basics of technical analysis down in a one hour session is a tricky undertaking, so this session was a understandably tough to follow for most beginners

Check out part two of this review where we describe the sessions with Investools and provide some tips for attending these kinds of  investor seminars.

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