Karen Barker Gentile started out her career as a network engineer in Yonkers, New York. But with an interest in online banking and stock trading, the capital markets were never far from her mind.
That passion eventually became her career, as she co-founded online broker-dealer SpeedTrader in 1999. Seven years later, the entrepreneurship bug struck again, and Gentile set out to once again, this time co-foundering DAS Trader, an electronic trading solution most widely used by active day traders.
Ahead of the 2019 Benzinga Trading Summit, at which Gentile will demo her product, Benzinga caught up with her to get her thoughts on how retail trading has changed in the last 20 years.
Benzinga: How do you think the technology used for trading has evolved to allow retail traders to become more sophisticated traders?
Gentile: Today’s trading applications are very different from what was available when I first started in this industry. Although some functions have pretty much become standard, such as market depth and charting, stock scanning, hotkeys, and advanced order routing allow people to be more sophisticated traders. It is also important to have access to more information depth, right at their fingertips, such as a stock float, real-time news, and earnings information.
BZ: What data set do you feel is most in demand by your clients right now?
Gentile: Most of our clients are active users of market depth, such as Nasdaq Totalview and NYSE Arcabook, to see and understand the order flow of stocks. They want to see how many buyers and sellers are trading a particular stock. Many are coupling the depth of Level 2 with technical analysis such as VWAP to see stock trends and the value of the stock they are trading.
BZ: If you could change one thing about the capital markets today, what would it be?
Gentile: I think there needs to be a re-evaluation of some of the past regulation in the marketplace. Many of these regulations were written based on how the market used to operate, which is very different from today’s economy and thus, these regulations are in dire need of amendment.
There is also the fact that people are sharing information more easily, are more knowledgeable due to readily available information online, and are starting day trading as a way to supplement their income. They are being lured into instruments and schemes which are not properly regulated, or have no regulation at all, such as crypto, CFDs, and junk products, because trading in the US markets is not as attractive.
I am particularly referring to the regulations on Pattern Day Trading, which was implemented in the early 2000’s to prevent people, who the regulators deemed were not knowledgeable about the risks of day trading and didn’t have access to information as we do today, from placing too many day trades. The regulators felt that by increasing the capital requirement to engage in day-trading, they were preventing people from day-trading. What actually happened was that it opened the opportunity for non-regulated players to entice people to move money from the capital markets into instruments which are unregulated and riskier.
BZ: What advice would you give to a new trader or someone interested in trading in the capital markets?
Gentile: My advice to anyone who is interested in the US Markets is to do as much research and training as you can. Educate yourself on what tools and strategies others are using to be successful and copy it.
Also I think it’s very important to test out whether trading is for you, as not everyone has the mind frame for it. The best way is through a realistic simulation of how the market operates without risking real capital. We have partnered with Nasdaq to offer a true real-time simulated market so that those who are thinking about trading stocks can test the waters out and determine if trading is really what they want to do. The competition [DAS Trader is co-sponsoring the #1 Best Trader Competition with Nasdaq, 30-day virtual trading competition beginning June 3] will be real-time and we intend to offer tips and recaps during the challenge month. Our goal is to get people excited again about the capital markets.
© 2023 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
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