Tempting as it may be to sign up for a get-rich-quick trading course for beginners advertised in the weekend papers, it’s worth doing a bit of research.
Courses range from a few evenings at a local adult education centre right up to masters degrees at prestigious business schools and universities. You can even do a course from home.
The type of course that is right for you will depend on factors such as how much time you can devote to learning and how much you are willing or able to pay.
Other things to consider include whether you are happy to study on your own via the internet or much prefer to learn in groups of like-minded people.
Evening trading courses for beginners
At the more affordable end of the scale are evening classes. Harrow College, for example, runs a course called Stocks, Shares and Investments for Beginners. It is aimed at “anyone with an interest in the stock market wanting to build a portfolio”.
The syllabus includes how to buy and sell stocks, shares and other securities. Students need take only writing materials and a Financial Times and part of the assessment is a final night quiz.
- Cost £107
- Course lasts nine weeks
Online trading courses for beginners
If a final night quiz in a building that could probably do with a bit of investment itself is not really your thing, there is the option of learning on your computer at home.
Online courses include an Introduction to Securities and Investment (UK) run by FitchLearning. It is part of the Fitch Group which specialises in financial information services.
Students need no prior knowledge and the course leads to a foundation qualification. The syllabus includes equities, bonds, derivatives and investment funds.
- Cost £205
- Course requires 80 hours of study
Short courses is the area of trading courses for beginners that the back of the newspaper brigade specialise in. They promise that after just a few hours in their company you will be getting returns that seem too good to be true.
Often, courses seem too good to be true because they are too good to be true.
Be sure that the course is run by a name that you trust before parting with your money. The well-recognised Open University, for example, offers a module called Personal Investment in an Uncertain World.
Its prospectus says: “You will be shown how to build a portfolio, using financial and economic modelling (such as the Capital Asset Pricing Model), that manages and spreads risk while pursuing higher returns.”
- Cost £1,432
- Module lasts five months
If a finance-based degree is the sort of trading course for beginners that appeals, some universities offer courses that let you practise dealing without having to put up your own money.
The University of Brighton runs a sandwich course in Finance and Investment that features trading sessions in a simulated real-time trading room.
Students also get a year’s placement with a financial institution.
Typical careers after graduation are in the banking, investment and insurance industries.
- Cost for a 2017 start is £9,250 a year
- Course lasts four years including placement
Ready for a masters?
If you already have a first degree, a finance-based masters degree might be an option, although MBAs at the top business schools can cost an eye-watering amount.
The London Business School’s MBA fees for the two-year course starting this year are more than £75,000.
Many of these courses require relevant work experience so are not really suitable trading courses for beginners. But some investment masters degrees are open to holders of first degrees such as maths or computing.
Loughborough University, for example, offers an MSc in Finance and Investment. The course covers subjects including financial trading, portfolio management and global investment management.
Typical destinations of graduates include investment banking and asset management.
- Cost £12,500
- Course lasts one year
What are the backgrounds of some famous faces in the investment world?
- Warren Buffett, MSc in economics from Colombia Business School, then studied at the New York Institute of Finance
- Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, DPhil in economics from Oxford University
- Dame Helena Morrissey, head of personal investing at the UK’s biggest asset manager, Legal & General Investment Management , MA in philosophy from the University of Cambridge
- Hedge fund manager Crispin Odey, MA in history and economics from Oxford University; qualified as a barrister
A trading course for beginners might be just the fillip your trading career needs.