No crystal ball, just technical analysis: interview with expert BC Low
Have you ever wanted a crystal ball to look into the future? Well, what BC Low does, is not exactly magic nor does it involve a crystal ball… But it does use a special method to determine the future market behaviour.
Technical analysis. That’s the name of the game.
No crystal ball needed.
BC is a teacher and practitioner of technical analysis and has been in the industry since the 1980s.
The expert in his field has even set up the Technical Analysis Consultancy (TAC) in 2010 with the aim of promoting education in Technical Analysis.
In 2014, BC published a book on his domain of expertise titled Integrating Technical Analysis for the Investor. This 10-chapter book educates readers on how to use technical analysis for longer-term trends, as well as integrate trends, timing and price indicators to achieve better outcomes than using indicators on their own.
We speak to him on how he got into this field and valuable advice he gives to investors.
ZUU: So, BC, tell us, how did you get to do what you are doing now?
I began tinkering in technical analysis in the late 1980’s. It was a kind of love at first sight. In 1989, I formally took on the position of Technical Analyst at Merrill International Bank’s Treasury in Singapore.
Then I moved into teaching technical analysis when I joined Singapore Polytechnic’s Business School.
I developed 2 modules of technical analysis in 1991 as part of its Diploma in Banking & Financial Services. ln 2011, I left the Polytechnic to devote time to educating investors in technical analysis in managing their money.
ZUU: That sounds like a very noble thing to do. Could you share with us how it is you did that?
I started my consultancy business and in the beginning, it was only to conduct courses. Over time, I diversified into writing for technical analysis journals such as the US-based magazine, Technical Analysis of Stocks & Commodities.
In 2014, I ventured into publishing and wrote an ebook on technical analysis for the international market. The book titled, Integrating Technical Analysis for the Investor was very well received and became a best seller for the US ebook publisher for 5 months!
In order to meet local demand for the book, I published the paperback edition of Integrating Technical Analysis In February this year. The book is now available in local book retail chains and on my company website.
ZUU: What an accomplishment! But writing books requires a lot of dedication. What would you say was your conviction to pen down your knowledge?
I feel it is important to be able to communicate the value of technical analysis to investors in as many ways as possible.
The most effective platform is the face-to-face in a classroom, but that is time-consuming and costly. So I turned to publishing a book, which has the advantage of being comprehensive and detailed.
Going forward, I believe the online platform is another important vehicle to share know-how on technical analysis with the investor.
On investment, here is what BC had to say.
ZUU: How have you used technical analysis to your advantage as an investor?
As the word investor implies, my involvement in markets tend to be medium-term upwards.
Using an original technical approach that I developed, I focused on picking the major lows and highs in markets to take money from the big trends.
Secondly, with the benefit of technical analysis, I am able to look at a variety of markets – stocks, currencies and commodities so long as they fulfill the criteria of being major markets which are technically sound.
I believe another advantage of technical analysis is that technical signals that have been found to work repeatedly can be put to use for the investor’s benefit in future.
ZUU: As an expert in your domain, in your opinion, what are the advantages of using technical analysis over fundamental analysis?
Firstly, I must say that investors should use what approach that they are comfortable with and helps them to invest profitably.
Most investors and professionals are comfortable with fundamental analysis because there is reason and logic involved. I have a lot of respect for people who use fundamental analysis to invest effectively. There is more than one way to skin a cat.
Technical analysis is only for the minority who are comfortable with charts. The advantage of technical analysis is that it can be used in a whole range of time frames depending on the user – intra-day, daily, weekly and beyond.
However, so far there is a dearth of ideas about how to use the different time frames, and importantly, how to integrate them so that they make sense.
This is where I have developed a new approach that enables technicians and investors to use more than one-time frame and to integrate them so as to identify both medium and long-term trends in any markets.
ZUU: Do you ever dabble in fundamental analysis?
I started in markets completely from a technical standpoint and picked up some fundamental analysis along the way. But after almost 30 years, I am still a technical person at heart.
Having said that, though, with the explosion in market views online, I do find difficulty blocking out fundamental information. But in my view, technical analysis provides the added edge of timing and price, as well as the integration of short to long term trends.
ZUU: Would you say your investing style differs from your peers?
Overwhelmingly, people who use technical analysis use it for short term trading. I am the “contrarian” in that I have created a new approach that harnesses technical analysis for more than one-time frame including the longer term.
ZUU: So, what was your first ever investment?
I started off as a trader in commodities, and over the years I went into currencies and equities. Currently, I tend to focus on stocks and currencies.
ZUU: What is one the most lucrative investments you have made recently?
Last year I bought USD-SGD at 1.3500 and exited at 1.4400 early this year, a 900-point move.
ZUU: Do you have any advice you would like to share with young investors?
Successful investors must learn to be independent and not just follow the herd. This is one of the hardest skills to learn because it feels more comfortable to be with the crowd.
However, to achieve this, the young investor must acquire important skills, whether it is in fundamental or technical analysis. And in either approach, it is important to go beyond the basics, which the herd tends to do.
Making a money is only one part of the satisfaction in investing. Picking the right market, and riding the big trend in that market repeatedly is as satisfying if not more.
On his personal life, BC shares some insights too.
ZUU: What was the hardest lesson that you have ever had to learn? What experiences would you say shaped you most as a person?
Humility was one of the hardest lessons I learned as a younger person. As a young graduate with a good degree, I felt I could achieve anything.
It was humbling to find out that I had to build up my career one step at a time. But having to work hard to achieve some progress, it made me realise that having a commitment to high standards and making continuous improvements in everything we do is key.
ZUU: What are you most passionate about in life?
I would like to be the Albert Einstein in technical analysis. I hope I have been able to develop an approach in technical analysis that is able to read all markets from the intra-day to the largest trends, so investors can do better in managing their financial future.
ZUU: Finally, what is your ideal retirement scenario?
I want to continue pursuing my passion in markets and to be able to educate investors young and old. When I am not doing that, I would love to pursue my other interests such as history, museum guiding and traveling.