British FX trader SimonTemplar says newbies shouldn't start with indicators. Read on to find out why!

Since becoming a member of the BabyPips community in 2010, SimonTemplar has been one of the warm and friendly voices on the forums, helping out other members with the knowledge he’s gained from years of experience. So much time and effort are put into his responses because he wants to share his thoughts and suggestions as best as he can.

It’s truly admirable how his interactions with people are filled with respect, regardless of one’s trading prowess. Although he speaks his mind, he makes it a point to keep his comments calm and civil, so as to motivate other people to take their mistakes and turn them into learning opportunities.

Of course, beyond the forums, SimonTemplar has his own story of success. He lives a fruitful life surrounded by people he loves. Today, we get to know more about his story.

Without further ado, we give you @SimonTemplar!


1. Tell us something more about yourself. What are your hobbies and interests, etc.?

I’m British, born in the 1970’s, originally from London. I met my wife at University in the early 1990’s, where we both read Modern Languages. We now have four kids (!), the youngest of whom is five, and have moved to the country, where we both work largely from home. My wife remains with her original, graduate employer. I went into the UK Civil Service from Uni, eventually moving into law enforcement.

In terms of hobbies, I’m a big F1 fan, follow boxing pretty closely, love old houses and old cars (my house is over 200 and my car over 50!), and history in general. When I get time I like escapist gaming – Elite Dangerous and Red Dead Redemption 2 being current favourites – and we both love film and TV. Love Game of Thrones, devastated when Boardwalk Empire finished. Spend a lot of time with the kids – trading means that I get to do all the school runs, not miss concerts etc. I also try a little blues guitar, but I tell myself lack of time is the only reason I’m not the next Buddy Guy. But really it’s all about the kids - we built this life around trying to have them grow up in a beautiful spot with both their parents really engaged. Trading is an important part of that.

2. When and how were you introduced to forex trading? Since then, how would you say has forex changed your life?

My wife was on maternity leave with our second son in 2006, and was mailshotted by a Forex trading training company offering a free course. I worked in a pretty risky area of law enforcement at the time, and we had come to the conclusion that it wasn’t really compatible with a young family, particularly with plans to have more kids. We had talked about me coming out, had plans to build a house overseas, but were conscious that in my early thirties I didn’t just want to retire. So I went along to the course, loved it, and we started taking it more seriously.

2009 was our breakout year – we finished building a house in Portugal, and I then seeded my trading account with a more meaningful amount of money in order to focus on my trading.

Trading has absolutely changed my life – I still get to think, to work, to challenge myself, and to bring some money in, while at the same time taking the kids to school, going to every concert, seeing every play, being at every parents’ evening, Scouts meeting, all of it.

With my wife having the only career job in the household, we can gear our free time around the needs of her career, holiday when it suits her time, which would have been far harder were I also still to have a boss, colleagues, a team under me. Now we both work from home, in a beautiful part of the countryside, we walk together each lunchtime and are always around for the family. I can even trade from the house in Portugal. So our work-life balance – and the kids’ experience of growing up – has been massively transformed.

3. In some of your posts, you’ve mentioned that you take on a methodical/ almost mechanical trading approach. Could you take us through your strategy?

It’s pretty simple, there’s nothing radical in here, but sure.

I don’t restrict myself to one pair. I am a technical trader and have always felt that a chart’s a chart, so I scan across a number of pairs and pick setups which look the cleanest to me. I risk 1% of my account on each trade I place. I never have more than five trades open to risk at one time, so my market exposure is capped at 5%. I might have more than one trade open at a time, as long as the Stops have been trailed to B/E or better on some of them.

I start with a Daily chart, and look for a Pair which is either trending, or ranging, or hitting a key reversal area. I really look for areas of Support & Resistance, so once I see a chart which at a first scan looks promising, I will throw some S&R levels on there, literally draw the lines on my chart. I’ll also put on three EMAs – 50, 100 and 200. It is amazing how often price interacts in a regular, consistent way with an EMA, giving really clear cycles. If I’m seeing cycles I like, I will put on some Fib lines, and look for a confluence between the EMAs, my own S&R lines and the Fib lines. If I see an area which has at least two but preferably all three in agreement, I will add on RSI and see whether that is suggesting a direction Price might move to. If I’m still happy, then I’ll switch TF to check in on both the Weekly and Monthly charts (don’t want to be trading into some all-time level!), and will then also check the 240 and Hourly charts, here for two things: one, to ensure that I am not seeing a Reversal pattern there which disagrees with my potential setup, and secondly to see where Price is in its Cycle, so I can maybe effect a more elegant Entry, a tighter Stop maybe.

Then if I am still happy I will often enter the trade via an order – I will scan late at night (UK time), and place an order to enter ahead of the current bar, with a Stop protected a few pips behind a close level of S/R, off the other end of the bar. These will generally trigger overnight. If they don’t, then I will either cancel the order, or if the setup is still valid I will leave it and look in the next evening. If I fancy day trading (moving back to that this past year now that our youngest has started school), then I will start with the same scan so I can get a feel for things, but drill down to the Hourly chart for my Entry. Occasionally will do some 1:1 trading off the five minute but only when I have a clear few hours during the day.

For EOD trading I will trade any Pair happily – for Intraday then I leave the more exotic Pairs alone. If a setup doesn’t give me at least four or five reasons to take it, then I leave it alone, every time.

4. What’s your most memorable trading experience so far?

Early on in my trading career, I was doing my evening scan and saw a beautiful trend on the USD-SGD Daily chart. It was almost too perfect to believe, and passed all my checks. I backed it with my usual 1% risk, and a few days later had put 7% on my account. It was textbook stuff, and the first moment where I really believed ‘this might actually work!!’ The initial scan had taken me 15 minutes, and checking in on the trade each evening took a further five. Changed my belief in the whole thing.

5. If you could thank one person who contributed positively in your trading, who would you thank?

I would have to say my wife, Claire, as she gave me the first prompt to try this, then agreed to bankroll our family on her own while I made it work, and provided all of the right words of encouragement at all of the right moments – she didn’t get over-excited when I had a win, and didn’t let me get overly morose when I took some hits. I literally would not be doing this without her. (If I were allowed more than one person, I would cite my mentor – it is unpopular on here but yes, I did take a training course and yes, it did work for me, and the mentoring that provided was an invaluable resource for me early on. Formal training isn’t for all, but coming to it as a total rookie it worked for me.)

6. If you were to teach a class of newbie traders, what would be the very first thing you’d tell them about forex trading?

Don’t start with Indicators. Just pull up a plain Price chart and stare at it.

Then stare at it some more.

Then look through a lot of different charts for a lot of different pairs, and try to get a feel for how a chart moves, how patterns play out, and how a pair can move over time. The second thing I would teach them is find your preferred lane and trade like that, don’t just trade all the hours with no focus. EOD trading via orders is my staple – it’s what I enjoy and it works. My Intraday trading is secondary.

Someone else will disagree entirely. But as long as we each know and understand why we are trading the way we are trading, then we’re both right.

7. Have you ever thought of ending your trading career and pursuing a different path? If you have, what made you change your mind?

Trading sort of is my second career. It is also so flexible that it can work around other careers, so I see myself as a trader for life. My wife and I have diversified, though, buying, restoring and selling on old houses, and building a few holiday homes, which we both use and rent out. Trading can be quite solitary so it is good, in my view, to do something else alongside, even if it is not a financial necessity. But I principally stick with trading as I enjoy it and it enables me to have so much more time for my family than any other career I could realistically pursue.

8. Which threads on the BabyPips forums would you suggest noob traders to subscribe to?

I wouldn’t recommend specific threads, as different threads will appeal to different trading approaches, so will work for some and not for others. However, I would advise people not to neglect the Trading Psychology section, as while the mechanics of trading are not complicated, the execution is very nuanced and can be a psychological minefield. I also like PipMeHappy’s ‘Why We Need More (Good) Female Traders’ thread, as it gives a great feel for context, plus I always like the Trading Discussion: Currencies section – Happypip’s old ‘Happy Corner’ section was a great reminder that there are regular and fruitful opportunities outside of the big four Pairs. But generally I am to be found just drifting around the trend/technical/PA threads, reading and posting.

9. Non-forex related question! If you were to wake up tomorrow in the body of somebody else, who would you pick and what would you do?

It would be a dead heat between Chris Isaak (I’d play a concert!) and Fernando Alonso (I’d go out and win a Grand Prix!).

10. What is the habit you are proudest of or want to break?

I tend to waffle on. I like to help people, and answer questions as honestly and fully as I can, but I tend to use 50 words when five would do. So I apologise to BP for the extra server space required to hold my posts, and thank all of you who manage to get through to the end. This post is a case in point! I do have dreams of writing succinct sentences. One day.

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Fair play to @SimonTemplar a post in the member spotlight section that’s actually worth reading.

You must agree Tyson Fury is one of the best in the game.

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That’s a kind thing to say, thank you! I was surprised to be asked - have been around for a while, but feel like a BabyPips rookie again as I took a short BP break. But once the list of questions came in I figured that there’d be no point and no help in not being open and honest, so I just tried to answer them in enough detail for readers to see how trading had worked out for me. Thank you for the generous feedback.

Penelopip:

Lol yes he gave Wilder fits at the weekend, and how he got up from that shot in the 12th I’ll never know. We have never seen anything like it. Anthony Joshua versus either of them just got even more interesting. When Fury beat Klitschko in 2015, he was good but the win was in part due to Wlad having the offest of off nights. This Saturday, Fury really came out. To lose ten stone, fight no one in three years and then do that was incredible. Wilder’s going to have to find more if they do the return.

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It’s always so motivational to hear how Forex allows people to really spend time with their children. My husband and I plan to start a family in a few years and that’s exactly why we’ve begun trading. Thank you for sharing!!

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Very nice! This is somehow what I expect for my future. It’s good to see that with the right efforts, it’s an achievable goal. Congrats, Simon! And cheers from Porto :laughing:

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Amazing buddy, that’s how I wanna be in the next chapter of my life. Currently I am civil engineering student, but I don’t like that field because chances of getting job in the field in my country is very narrow, time restrictions e.t.c. I wish I will make it, I just find out about forex a last year December.

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Very well explained. Thanks Simon.
Do you check your charts after NY close and Place pending order at the same point or wait for London open?

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Hey Simon, great read thank you, do you mind if I ask who you used for your formal training and what that training cost you please.

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This is a really good read, very grounded and also inspirational. Well done, @SimonTemplar! Kudos also to @Penelopip for the questions. Most of the time, these interviews also are dependent on how good the interviewer is.

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Great interview! Thanks for sharing @SimonTemplar! :slight_smile:

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You’re very welcome - always good to hear that other family people are getting into Forex! We have four kids now, two born after I started trading, and we do it with no professional childcare. If I had stayed in full time employment then I don’t think that we would have had the bandwidth to have four kids. So it really worked out for us. The fact that my wife stayed in paid employment in the private sector gave us an important safety net, but the combination has really worked for us. Good luck with it!

Lol thank you! And hello from the UK/The Silver Coast - we’re a little way south of you, but in our view all of Portugal is beautiful! We very much consider it our second home.

No problem, thank you for the compliment, I’m glad you got something from it.

To answer your question, I scan the market late at night UK time, generally around 2200. I will have been looking in during the day so will have a watchlist with some to look out for on it, so it doesn’t take long. The Daily bars will generally be almost formed at that point, so I will place my orders if my scan yields a setup, so I’m often placing around 2215. I scan five nights a week - Sunday to Thursday. I don’t wait for London Open to place. Orders will often trigger overnight, so I wake up to find that I am already in the trade, but sometimes they will still be pending and then London Open will trigger them. Sometimes it is the Americans joining the party later on which triggers me in, and sometimes they don’t trigger.

The first thing I will do in the following evening’s scan is look in on any open trades/orders still pending from the night before. I’ll trail Stops on any open trades, and with any pending orders I’ll see if the setup is still valid. For instance, if I had intended to trade a rejection of a level then that second day’s bar might be another rejecting pin bar, which is anything might strengthen my case for the trade, so I will leave it (although I will tweak the Entry and Stop prices to reflect the newest bar). But if Price has blasted through my level then I will cancel the order as my setup is now invalid.

I always do my trade maintenance at the same interval as the chart from which I entered, so generally every 24 hours, at the same time of day.

Thank you so much! I don’t know which country you’re I, but one of the joys of Forex is that you can dip your toe in, start to learn your craft before you have to commit fully. So you can pursue both engineering and trading then drop one when the other works, if you wish to.

Thank you.

I don’t mind at all, but taking paid Forex courses really divides opinion on this site, more than anything else I have come across. So please can those who think it a terrible idea not just fill this thread with attacks on me…? I entirely get that training courses aren’t for everyone. I know nothing and this one worked out for me. That’s all I know.

Also, I took the course in 2009, so almost a decade ago. I haven’t taken any training from the company in some years (I think 2011 was the last formal tuition I went in for, some coaching with my mentor), and I don’t know whether the training offered now is the same as that I took, I don’t know whether the staff are the same as they were, so things might have changed a great deal.

Aside from being a former student, I have no ongoing relationship with the company and am not recommending people give them money. (Sorry to be heavy but I have had some unpleasantness on here because I have been on a course.)But as you asked:

The company was Ready 2 Invest (now called Learn To Trade). The basic course I took was a touch under £2000, and I paid about the same again for a series of one on one mentoring sessions.

(There must be a training section on BP, and I have posted about them some years ago, so there’s some stuff on here about them).

I’m glad that a few of you have found the interview helpful.

ST

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Brilliant stuff!

Not that I am anywhere near where he is, but that is how I am trying to trade too! Price action!

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Hi Simon, thank you so much for taking the time to reply and risk the back lash on formal training.
I have heard of Learn to Trade, and many others. In my view they all seemed to be more intersected in making money out of you instead of training. My view was if your system and you are so great why are you trying to sell it to me instead of just trading it yourself.
I was just curious if the formal training really worked to be honest. So thanks for the reply on that.
I read your post sunray on how you trade looking for setups at end of day, and I really like your approach and may even see if I trade a similar style myself. On that note do currency strengths come into your strategy, or do you just trade what you see on the charts at the time and not get involved in the currency strengths side of it.
Thanks in advance.

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No problem!

In terms of your views on training providers I entirely know what you mean. However, a couple of thoughts on that: for the owner of this particular company, it is more of a lifestyle. He now has a media presence, goes to lots of business conferences, has set up his own charitable foundation, so travels the world and gets to see and be involved in a lot of amazing things through that side of his business. Plus I imagine it give him a nice income to declare to the tax man. In terms of the day to day, most of the coaches are young traders who have only been pro a few years, then they coach for a while and then move on to trade their own portfolio/a few client accounts. While working for the company, they get the opportunity to trade company money, so they make better coin than they could alone and the company make revenue from their trading. I know that several years ago when I was involved with the company some students were offered the chance to trade company funds - the company would fund an account, then you’d share profits. So there are various factors like that which people generally aren’t aware of. Between the funded accounts and the charity work I can see the appeal of it in this case.

Currency strengths - I generally just think that a chart is a chart, and I will trade that. But it would be risky to do that in total isolation, so I do take note of fundamentals. I’m cautious about going long on GBP at the moment, for instance, and I won’t trade tomorrow owing to the British Commons Brexit vote, but generally if I see a strong level or trend then my instinct is to trade it. It works more often than it does not, so I use fundamentals more as a reason not to get into a trade rather than worrying overly in detail about currency strength. They all tend to respect certain levels some of the time. And as I scan so many Pairs I can be very selective - if I have any reason to feel unsure then I simply stay out.

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many thanks, Simon Templar - really saintly of you - and (as mentioned above) it’s very welcome to see a Member Spotlight thread which is really worth reading, and can genuinely potentially help people, as well as being so interesting

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Thank you very much Simon for responding to my question on the EOD scan and pending entries. I suppose you place your pending at 50% below the daily candle (Prominent Pinbar, Engulfing) etc., which are the strong reversals and/or continuations :-). I do like the place and forget approach from peak high/low levels but I am not disciplined enough, not to stay away from the screen during the day and get impatient sometimes.

Awesome interview!

I also believe that trading with no indicators is good for the eye.

Maybe learn to trade chart patterns along with candle sticks.

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Stare at the chart - awesome! So simple, yet could be overlooked just because of it’s simplicity. I find it interesting that you only apply indicators at a later stage, after you’ve done some analysis already. Very interesting and something I may try out myself!

Thanks so much!

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Very nice insights thank you!

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You’re most welcome, Sunray. My Entry and SL orders vary a little, as I take into account nearest S&R levels, which vary, so I am not fixed to one specific approach. If I am placing a sell order, my instinct would be to place my Entry five pips (plus spread) below the low of the bar, with SL the same above, but in a choppy market I might use more, and if there is an S&R level to protect my SL or give me more belief in my Entry then I might go the other side of that. If I’m looking at a bar on the Daily chart, they’re often over 100 pips - so a few here and there doesn’t make a lot of difference. I will also take into account cycles on a lower TF, in case that makes a clear case for a particular position.

In terms of patience that was the hardest thing for me to learn - the instinct to fiddle with a trade is strong! Seeing results and how they were impacted by meddling helped me. Looking at old moves on completed sections of chart, you can generally see how leaving it alone would have worked out better than meddling. Alternatively you could try day trading - trading off the five minute needs much more maintenance, so might feel more ‘real’. Although you still need to know which trades to leave alone for a while…

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