By Popular Demand
I have to be honest, I was getting a little disheartened starting this blog and the only question people would ask would be about Mark Minervini, his Private Access service and Master Trader Program.
I don't blame anyone though, before I signed up I noticed a few highly concerning things. Namely, the price tag and the lack of reviews about both the seminar and online service, that was why I wrote in-depth about the seminar. How can a such an amazing service with the elite of trading not have any reviews though? Perhaps the people paying are too busy making money or keeping it a secret, perhaps bad reviews are being removed because of legalities - I have no idea but haven't seen a cease and desist just yet.
So let me put your mind at ease and give you a full deep dive into my thoughts on the service and likewise be honest about if it is worth it or not. Which at the end of the day is probably the last question should be asking but I will dig into why, at a high level this depends on where you are in your own development.
And even though I am a huge fan of Mark, nothing is perfect and I will be honest about that too.
What You Get
So to start off with, what you actually get with the service is the following ( I am not shilling so if you want the full deep dive just go to the website):
- A trading journal and trade tracker where you can track your trades.
- Recorded training sessions where you can review missed classes and some themed recordings like "position sizing" etc.
- Some tools on results based forecasting (basically Monte Carlo simulation)
- Live buy or sell alerts with entry and exit
- Daily reviews and sessions with Mark where you can ask questions and he goes over his risk models.
You also get access to Mark's sales guy (Bob), I've had many great chats with him, he also has some good trading knowledge. He is in sales though and so am I so there are some points on this I will address too in this review. Straight from Mark's site the following is included in the MPA membership.
Being totally transparent, many of the tools themselves look quite lackluster. In fact, moments after I subscribed to Minervini Private Access - I rang Bob and freaked the fuck out!
I asked Bob to send me my money back straight away and could not believe that I spent Like $6k on a trading room with tools from the 80's (which have been improved since).
One thing I can say though is - not getting my money back could have been one of the most important financial decisions I ever made. Don't look let the retro website fool you. Mark charges what he does for a reason.
I will briefly review the tools but being totally honest, if you have read both of Mark's two books which I highly recommend you could probably whip up a trading journal and the likes in a few hours. In fact, I share this on my blog for free with new subscribers.
Once I get past this though, I want to really drill in to what I found valuable and also not so much.
The Trading Journal
The trading journal is pretty basic and give you many details you can simply input into Excel yourself (which is why I did exactly that, find the article here). The real added benefit is that you can keep it all on the platform and have a really user based experience on the service.
In this journal you can also get some information like:
- Win rate
- Win/loss ratio
- Adjusted win/loss ratio
Quite honestly, although a nice feature at the end of the day most traders could have the nicest software in the world and still not use it. Even if this is a feature, do people really have the discipline to consistently enter trades?
The journal is very "meh" to be honest. If you are going to pay $499+ per month, I would not suggest focusing on this as a massive reason but is definitely an OK benefit.
Another amazing trading journal which is really useful is the "Edgewonk" journal which is designed by some really decent traders. I am not using this myself because I plowed weeks of learning Excel into making my own journal. Take a look though, highly recommend.
Idea Generation and Mark's Trade Ideas
So when you log into the platform, there is a screen with all of Mark's buy/sell and entry or exit points for stocks that are either setting up or maybe breaking out already.
It either has recommendations that say "Buy Now" or stop limit orders which I greatly prefer. One thing that I will note here is that all of Mark's buy and sell recommendations come straight out of his books - nothing is hidden and there are no secrets here, I can't commend Mark enough for the discipline.
Why this is Good
- You get to compare what setups are being added to the list and compare them to the ones you screen for. A sign you are "getting it" is when you see many of Mark's recommendations align with your own.
- He emphasizes risk management and won't get aggressive until there have been a few wins to fund the risk for bigger trades.
- He explains the price action in depth and rationale behind the purchase to help you think like a trader.
- You have an opportunity to present your ideas which he will critique and give non binding advice on why it looks good or bad
You get full access here, and an opportunity for a seasoned professional to critique your own thinking. It is really reflective in this sense. Also, if you have a dog shit idea - it will be called out for what it is. This leads me into what it can be bad as well however..
Having reviewed one of my stocks ($DOCU), I was told it "didn't look ready". Being less seasoned at the time, I panicked and sold. This position would have netted me about $82k. It conformed to Marks strategy but wasn't perceived as a good pick.
Many people would blame Mark for this but it brings up an important point about trading. You have to be fully accountable in this game for your results. Mark is providing education but when it comes to experimentation and practice, only you can be accountable.
Why this is Bad
- There is a broad mix of traders and somehow people manage to ask the most idiotic questions you have ever heard. If you pay for premium, you want to fly with eagles not be surrounded by turkeys.
- As in the DOCU example, it can be hard separate Mark's opinion with your own.
- The "BUY NOW" signals can get extended really quickly as some of the less seasoned buyers jump in and market buy.
- People could be scalping the large market buy orders. I have noticed that many of these big spikes reverse quickly. I am pretty sure there are some scalpers sitting there and I don't blame them.
- Inexperienced traders may not know how to position size.
Just like a dietitian who tells people the precise formula for six pack abs, less than 10% achieve the results. This is where the real coaching comes into play.
If you use the MPA service as a reference guide as opposed to the gospel, you will learn a lot about the market and yourself. If used out of context, it will be wasted money.
Market Timing Model
Another item to address is the "Market Timing Model" which is done at the start of the reviews. This is a very basic Buy or Sell signal based on the action of the indexes that can be used as a guide to:
- Know when to bet aggressively
- Define if the market is in an uptrend
- Reduce risk if the market model changes
Again, one point emphasized in the MPA service is that things must be done in context. I was disappointed that we never got the formal attributes and criteria of this market timing model. It is however nothing overly complex. If you you look into major index models there are plenty around. I use the 200 Day MA as a general guide and screen a few major indexes.
Quite honestly, if you are super concerned about timing models then you should work on a quantitative approach that suits your style. I far prefer following industry groups and looking at relative strength to find some good winners.
Perhaps one of the most useful things I extracted from the MPA service was how to look at things in context and be highly discretionary.
Recorded Lessons and Reviews
Another feature which was useful to me when travelling on business is the recorded MPA lessons which you can access after the fact. So if you missed a day or so whilst on the road you can review the content.
There are also archived lessons which I found useful to go over certain market turning points and see what Mark was saying, quite honestly, the way in which he calls turning points can be pretty scary in terms of accuracy. I made some some really nice option trades on the indexes when they peaked.
The only flaw I have with this is that I did not find it well organised. The lessons seemed to be recorded sessions that had "themes" which were not well adhered to. This is really nitpicking because the books make up for it in a big way.
What I Don't Like
So to be straight forward about some things I don't like about the MPA experience:
- The price point. At face value I would not go back into MPA service having done it for one year. So I think a year is good but doing this year after year would not be something I can get behind.
- The sales approach. Working in sales myself I have a very European approach to sales, more consultative perhaps. I feel the Minervini brand is far too "in your face", I feel this is done to get people in but I really don't like being sold to in this way.
- Zombie followers - some people need to chill out and think independently, too many sheep.
- The website, user experience and sales portals. For the price tag, they could be a bit better.
- No audited results
In essence these are really trivial things but I don't like parting with big money to be shilled to and feel pressure to buy something. I found this was a common theme and something experienced by others who were on the service and at the seminars.
Many would prefer more in-depth information on the service itself, screenshots of the features and how it works. I don't believe this is transparent enough. It may be the intention to drive people to discuss this with sales but again, not something that sits well with me.
Common Q & A's
Is it worth it?
I honestly despise this question. With coaching, gym, trading or even making fucking pancakes... what you put in is what you get out. If you have read his books, know how to screen for stocks and want to increase your chances of knowing how to trade - yes! If you want to sit in your PJ's and magically make money by blindly following his trades - No.
Should I do the Seminar or MPA?
I would suggest doing it in this order.
- Read his books 3 times, digest and understand them
- Trade or paper trade the style for say 3 months or more
- Journal your results and reflect on them
- See if the style aligns with your own beliefs
- If yes then consider the MPA service
- If you make enough money from it to pay for the seminar - use profits to fund this and go for it.
Doing these things in vacuum is nuts. Think about what you want and your financial goals. These are personal questions but from my point of view they were all money well spent. Even the decision to NOT buy a stock can be financially rewarding.
For my own personal trading development. Reading Mark's books, doing one year of MPA and complimenting this with the Seminar was a life changing experience. In the end however it really comes down to you. Where are you in your development, are you profitable? Does this style suit your life or not?
I love breakout trading and using these principles have made 100%+ gains this year applying this principles to gold, crypto and stocks. It all depends on how much you put in. Just like a lawyer, doctor and Navy Seal have trainers and specialties, everything is done in context.
Would I do it again? Yes, but only when I had the financial firepower to justify it. For now my priorities are building a real estate foundation on which to trade full time.
Any questions, let me know. Likewise, if you want an intro to Mark's sales guy (Bob), I am happy to bridge the gap.