This advisory service by Monument Traders Alliance offers to “restore the lost art of smart speculation and change the way you approach investing by giving you the tools, market intelligence and actionable advice to send your daily profit-making potential to the stratosphere."
Is it true? In this review of Trade of the Day Plus we'll be taking a look.
And: Which company insiders are buying substantial shares of their own companies? What early warning signs of important directional moves in the market should you check? Who's growing? How fast? What are the precise schemes to position yourself right on time? The most essential trades of the day?
Is this truly a good bang for the buck? Is it pure hype? Keep reading and find out.
- Name: Trade of the Day Plus.
- Publishers: Monument Traders Alliance/The Oxford Club.
- Editors: Bryan Botarelli and Karim Ramhetulla.
- Website: https://www.mtatradeoftheday.com.
- Service: Entry-level investment advisory.
- Focus: Short-term trades.
- Cost: $49 annual subscription fee.
- Refund Policy: One year money-back cash guarantee.
Who is who in investment advisory services?
Whoever pitches for any advisory service emphasizes that his company is independent. I wanted to dive into that and see how independent everybody is. And look what I found out:
One behemoth sticks out within the universe of advisory services: The Agora family, covering many generations with Bill Bonner as the Pater Familias. One of the many children is Stansberry Research, which later gave birth to MarketWise (listed on the NASDAQ under the ticker MKTW) that became the holding company of other advisory services, the Oxford Club included, that fathered The Monument Traders Alliance's Trade of the Day Plus.
Large families have complicated histories. Check our Anders' article on The Agora of not long ago. Click here about Phil's piece on Bonner, if you are interested in the subject, and here for something on MarketWise from Seeking Alpha.
What is being offered?
I have not been able to distinguish between “Trade of the Day” and “Trade of the Day Plus.” Most communications I receive come with the former heading, a minority with the latter. So I will simply consider both as the same.
In the booklet titled "Five trading secrets," Monument Traders Alliance directors introduce us to a new world of daily wealth creation. They invite us to change the way we approach speculation with 5 or 10 % of our wealth that is not invested in a conservative and "boring" mode (with modest returns which outperform the S&P while also outpacing inflation).
"We can help send your daily profit-making potential into the stratosphere. This is not reckless trading... We use calculated, specific strategies that have proven successful and enormously profitable for decades. It's this exhilaration of the trades that pan out that will give us a toe-curling rush of adrenaline. You will be in a position to feel it every week.”
Well, that is quite a mouthful. Looking back at this year's S&P results, inflation, and diminishing portfolios, the attraction of enormous profitability and the adrenaline rush that follows is even greater. --- It was clear from the beginning that the game’s name is TRADING and the use of OPTIONS.
Who are the Professionals?
A born trader. Charismatic, over-the-top intense, cocksure, badass, caustic, sarcastic, funny, and very simpatico. He loves to communicate, and his numerous videos are lessons in effective salesmanship. He promotes himself as “possessing the unique ability to identify opportunities and leverage those investments." Here is what The Stock Dork thinks about him.
Bryan claims to make profitable recommendations using the same hedging techniques as professional floor traders, limiting the total risk while achieving remarkable gains inside THE WAR ROOM, "one of the most elite trading platforms ever created.”
An American, with a business degree from Indiana University Kelley School of Business, had his first job trading stock options on the Chicago Options Exchange (CBOE) floor, in the Apple pit, where he had as mentors some of the top floor traders. Later he worked at The Agora before launching his independent trading advisory service, “Botarelli Research” (from 2006 to 2018).
His life is day trading, i.e. short-term, in-and-out, option trades that start and finish the same day, perhaps overnight or within a few days. All in THE WAR ROOM.
More “elder statesman” and with a more “professorial” attitude. A good communicator, he likes giving classes. He is passionate, somewhat arrogant, impatient, educated, and entertaining. Travels regularly seeking the best investment opportunities, especially in emerging markets. He developed a Covered Call strategy in the late 90s.
Karim built a trading system that produced "a win percentage of more than 80 percent." He turned to Long-Term Equity Anticipation Securities (LEAPs; these are long-term stock options) as co-founder and chief options strategist for Wall Street Daily. Over the course of more than 18 months at Automatic Trading Millionaire, a subsidiary of The Oxford Club, none of his registered recommendations resulted in a loss.
Born in the UK, he attended boarding schools and took undergraduate studies in economics and foreign languages. He completed his education in Canada and the US (Rollins College, FL), culminating with a master's degree in finance.
He then got involved with stocks and options, "becoming one of the youngest CFOs of a brokerage and trading firm that cleared through Bear Stearns in the late 1980s".
He is the author of the bestselling book Where in the World Should I Invest? that got a stellar review from the reputable Seeking Alpha service and a three-star rating in Amazon. This is a guide based on two decades of traveling the globe, focusing on investing in emerging markets.
He suggests to his readers to follow insiders buying stocks, which is why his baby is INSIDER MATRIX.
The subscription process
You are immediately welcomed and get your order confirmation and login information.
You get your link to the eight-part video series Wall Street's Most Treasured Secrets:
- Volume I: The Win-Both-Ways Trade,
- Volume II: LEAPS: How to Turn a 50 % stock move into a 300 % Profit,
- Volume III: Covered Calls: How to Capture Guaranteed Income each month,
- Volume IV: Put Selling: Warren Buffett's preferred options strategy,
- Volume V: Vertical Puts: How BEARS define their maximum reward and risk,
- Volume VI: Vertical Calls: How BULLS define their maximum reward and risk,
- Volume VII: Straddles: How to capture unlimited profits in any market,
- Volume VIII: Chart Pro: How to read the charts,
- Bonus Video Tutorial: How to make up to 3.700% with the Legged Spread,
- Special Options Guidebook: Options for Dummies 101.
You are encouraged to explore the website with past alerts, recommendations, reports, tools, and other resources, the portfolio with its updates, and their weekly new trade recommendation.
Prepare to receive:
- Four Trade of the Day emails per week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday after the close of the market)
- One weekly video update via email (every Wednesday after market close).
From the first moment, you get a description of The War Room experience. And the video series we mentioned before: all about options.
You are also invited to learn more about the 300-plus winning trade recommendations for WR members and offered a special discount. Cost: $2.600/year.
I later received by snail mail:
- A welcome letter
- The 11-page Monument Traders Alliance Trade of The Day booklet: “5 Trading Secrets to winning every day in the markets contains:
- An introduction and presentation of the two professionals
- Trading Secret N° 1: Use a 3-Minute Chart
- Trading Secret N° 2: Track a “W” Pattern
- Trading Secret N° 3: Track an “M” Pattern
- Trading Secret N° 4: The Black Candle of Death
- Trading Secret N° 5: Earnings Strangles
- Another 5-page Trade of the Day Plus booklet: “How to get started.”
This was followed by an invitation to a free training course: "VisitWarRoomTrader.com" to sign up. - Up-selling royalty!
The service I received
I confess I had clicked away most of the emails when they arrived. But now, to calibrate the service, I recovered them with the following result:
Many came with original content, mostly sent from Trade of the Day and less from Trade of the Day Plus. Some came signed by Bryan, some by Karim, others from other staff either of Trade of the Day (Plus) or Monument Traders Alliance. Of these recommendations. I mention only some:
In March, 2022, there was a pitch for an oil-rig company.
Since day one, Karim pushes for a British aerospace company (“the last true value stock for $2”). 8 months later, it is at $1! And the last time I checked, Karim expected it to take off after the upcoming earnings announcement. As this information is all over the internet, I can well disclose that it is Roll-Royce.
Also in March (2022), shares of four big American banks are considered a bargain -buy the dip-! We are still waiting for their price to go up. That does not mean that Financials might be one of the sectors to go up again next.
A Video-games company. Gaming stocks have since moved in correlation with tech stocks: down.
A company that produces ugly plastic flippers - a good stock!
Changing now to pitches that are not Bryan's and Karim's own brainchildren but rather rehashes from "our friends and colleagues of the Agora/Oxford Club" fauna:
- Andy Snyder/Manward for “VPO Investors”. This is about some SPAC/IPO deal.
- Marc Lichtenfeld/Oxford about some pet project of his.
However, not much later, Karim says: “No more SPACs. There are more SPACs than there are good ideas". And:
- Sell any company that has a price-to-sales ratio of more than 10.
- Short-sell any company with a price-to-sales ratio of more than 30.
- Sell any company with no path to profitability in the next two to three years.
- Buy any company selling at a price-to-earnings ratio of less than 18, especially if it is paying and raising its dividend.
And here are, according to Karim, the top six things to look for/ask yourself, when identifying a "true value stock". These are not companies that promise the world, but those with pricing power.
How do you identify them?
- Market leaders. “Is this company selling a particular product at a higher volume than its competitors?”
- Several income streams. Does this company have other ways of generating revenue beyond its initial/core product offering? What other products/services does it offer?
- Big backlogs if manufacturing. Does it have a lot of future orders that have not been filled yet? "The forecast of future service/parts ordered, will be an accurate forecast for orders in the year ahead."
- Strong cash generation capability. Does the company consistently produce cash flows from its ongoing operations?
- Established operations. Does the company have robust systems in place so that it runs like a well-oiled machine?
- Large institutional ownership. Does the company have a large amount of its stock owned by large entities that manage funds on behalf of others?
Let's move on:
In April (2022), several “bargain stocks” were "sold." These ended not being bargains because their share prices kept falling.
In July, I got another welcome note, after eight months into my subscription. What a delight.
Overall, I notice that the reaction to the turnaround of the market came late (but so it did in similar services):
- A Taiwanese semiconductor company is “cheap.” With a war around Taiwan on the horizon? Well, many think the war warnings are not to be taken so seriously, and the recommendation might be spot-on! So, semiconductors. Some people think they will soon have their home run.
- A famous coffee company is pushed. Makes sense.
- In November (2022), Bryan drops on the table, a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust), with an 8 percent dividend. Just when everybody speaks about another home-market and real estate fiasco.
- I found very few energy stocks were pushed, in a market where Energy was just about the only game in town. Funny, right?
For Bryan, short-term trades are what rock the boat. He is compelling: If you want to earn money in today’s uncertain and volatile environment you have to be on the ball and very nimble, prepared to get in and out in a jiffy.
That we are in a recession is now totally accepted (took them some time, though). Click here to see what Bryan has to say.
This is again a road to THE WAR ROOM. Attractive for people prepared to really go deep into trading, learn the ropes, and are ready to invest a lot of their time and energy into it.
I intuit that it all has to do with put option selling (above, Bryan says not buying), vertical puts, vertical calls, covered calls and strangles. I still do not understand these sophisticated methods after having read extensively about options, in their implication regarding risk. Nor am I sure I trust the claims of limited risk. $2.600 sounds like spending a lot of money to find out if that works for you.
They say that with an investment of a 100 or 150 bucks a pop, you'll be fine; at the same time "trade small but often" is the mantra and with more than 300 recommendations a year, mathematics will give you an amount of $ 30.000/year.
In other words, you would need to set apart quite a vital amount to be a player. That, plus the membership fee, and you have to give it a go for some time to see if the numbers go up or, God forbid, disappear.
Watching the video is paramount to understanding that the War Room is Bryan’s professional life passion. What you get with Trade of the Day Plus, is skin-deep, run-of-the-mill advice.
In Karim's case, the turnaround presents itself with a new strategy we see in his long video titled “America’s Reckoning” of November 9, 2022.
Karim here preaches, for the long-lasting recession he anticipates we will have to endure, "something" that is based on four pillars:
Pillar One: Gold, but not physical gold. He might be speaking of Gold ETFs or stocks (“the three dollar Gold Play”) with a low entry cost, and which, in addition, pay dividends, so we get both growth and income. Or is he speaking about gold royalty stocks/options?
Pillar Two: Energy/Oil. He promotes becoming a partner of a company that owns 120.000 miles of infrastructure/pipelines in the USA and Canada, and is legally obliged to distribute earnings.
Furthermore, the shares increase in value. So again, we get both growth and income. He speaks of MLTs (Master Limited Partnerships), which are very popular in the energy sector. His champion(s) might be any one of the following names:
EPD Enterprise Products Partners, ET Energy Transfer, WES Western Midstream Partner, CQP Cheniere, MPLX, or, MMP Magellan Midstream.
Or is he pushing energy companies that offer fixed and variable dividends such as Devon (DVN), Pioneer (PXD), Diamondback (FANG), or Comstock (CRT)?
Pillar Three are double-income stream shares. I am not sure what these are. Karim is a specialist in inventing sophisticated names for old concepts: Is it the old idea of selling covered call options- elsewhere called "Gibraltar Payments"?
Pillar Four, is the win-both-ways trading strategy. It is an options scheme and so-called earnings strangle, a directionless trade used when waiting for earnings results.
As you do not know if the price will go up or down after the publication of results, you buy and sell an out-of-the-money call option simultaneously with an out-of-the-money put option, for the same underlying asset, with the same expiration date but with different strike prices.
The trade will be profitable if the move is more than 5 percent in either direction. The upside is limitless, while the downside is a well defined maximum loss. He correctly states this strategy is part of the Trade of the Day Plus package. This is explained in Volume I of "Wall Street's Most Treasured Secrets".
Funny enough, there was no more mention of “only investing 5 or 10 percent of your portfolio that way”. It looked like he was “all in” for this new, conservative approach. How much sense does this make?
Quite a lot, to me.
Things seem to pick up before 2022 ends. On Nov. 17, we got another presentation by Karim called “Insider’s Code Strategy,” where he preaches "following the money" and:
Do not trust what CEOs SAY: look at what they DO:
- CEOs always state their companies are going strong. Look at what happens to so many of these firms afterwards.
- Elon Musk talked down Tesla, and its stock price, while loading up with more than $100 MM.
- Check if they put their money where their mouth is.
There is only one reason CEOs buy their companies' stock: They know the price will go up. So follow insider buying. Not insider selling.
- Karim looks for "cluster buying" by at least three high-level persons, and at least two of them top executives (CEO, CFO; also attractive are company counsel and accounting top executives). Large amounts of shares should be traded, worth at least $1MM. Oftentimes, it is tens of millions.
- Insider trading is completely legal and legit as long as traders comply with the obligation to report it. And: Insider buyers have to hold these stocks for at least six months. You do not have such obligation and can get out whenever they become sour grapes.
And then, he hits us with his INSIDER MATRIX ($895 /year). "I live and breath with this: It makes me money!"
The Look and Feel of the webpage
Following, a screenshot, so you get the idea. It is quite straightforward to navigate. Sounds mostly optimistic, in spite of the terrible year we find ourselves in. Many reports come with pitches (again from The Agora realm), recommendations, and always some interesting facts. Never "blow your mind" news, but news.
Under the heading "Portfolio" we find:
Open Trade of the Day Plus positions.
We find 16 positions (1 bought in May 2021, the remaining ones in 2022; 8 with gains going from 1,1 % to 16,8 %, and the other 8 with losses between 0,5 % and 40,7 %.) We also find Notes about this track record - explaining the management methodology and initial entry recommendations.
Closed Trade of the Day Plus positions.
Here, we find 24 positions closed in 2022, 10 winners (from 7,4 % to 25,2 % and 14 losers (all around 25 % - the hard trading stop they always recommend). Only one open (call) option, with a loss of 39%.
Are you excited, yet?
So, take any statement about fabulous results with a grain of salt. These claims might have been backed up in 2021 and 2020 (also shown in the webpage), but not in 2022 .
Below we have a screenshot that shows the average rating for Monument Traders Alliance (the company behind this service). None found for Trade of the Day Plus). Click the links to both sites for more.
This is not very meaningful because it is only on two reviews, so just head to the site to see other ratings and compare.
Go to this section of the article to read what I have to say about this complaint.
Apparently, there have been no further issues since June 2022. Most of the grumbling on MarketWise services is about difficulties in contacting and getting answers to questions, as well as refunds on fees when canceled. Others are on excessive hype and up and cross-selling.
With The Monument Traders Alliance Advisory Service Trade of the Day Plus:
- We get an attractive, entry-level advisory service that is entertaining and provides many morsels of wisdom, headed by two professionals who know a lot about trading stocks and options.
- Neither of them have their heart in the Trade of the Day Plus service and therefore push for their two more expensive offers:
- Bryan's WAR ROOM. ($2.600/year). Refrain from believing you do not need to invest a lot of your time and money! If you want to take the plunge, you'll have to get in there every day, analyze a lot of material, take their classes, and get to understand what you are doing. Makes sense in these crazy markets.
- Karim's INSIDER MATRIX - ($895/year), with a similar setup as the WR. Probably less stressful because not every trade will be short-term, and many will not be options. Karim will be a bit less pushy than Bryan but equally impatient.
- It was impossible for me to see the Monument Traders Alliance Trade of the Day service as anything different than an opening act for the main show.
- So, if you can spare the money to invest in one of these services and follow the recommendations earnestly, get in. If you choose the War Room, think in terms of $20/$25.000 starting capital. If the Insider Matrix, the number of trades will be much smaller, so that amount could be less.
- Finally: Is the $49 for Trade of the Day Plus worth your money? Well, it is helpful, but is it best in class? As an introduction and a complete presentation of two other services that might be more interesting, it was worth my money.
You have the last word. GOOD LUCK!