About Sean McLaughlin
I was born and raised in Buffalo, NY and graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Today, I live in a small mountain town near Boulder, Colorado with my wife of 17 years and 4 year old son, always in search of a great trail to hike. The 15 years between Buffalo and Boulder is where my trading career launched and my experience was forged.
After graduating college and suffering through a brief six month stint as a Mutual Fund Salesman for MetLife (LOL), I moved to Florida to live near my father and began my trading career in 1998 at a Proprietary trading firm in Tampa, Florida. In my first four years I was engaged in intraday scalping — primarily NASDAQ stocks — during the final blowoff top of the “dot com bubble” and subsequent tech & internet stocks crash. It was a trial by fire as the stock markets experienced a level of consistent volatility that had previously been unseen, and hasn’t been matched since. I’ve spent the remainder of my now 20 year trading career unlearning all of the bad habits I acquired during those first four formative years.
In 2002, I began exploring the futures markets after learning about and researching the famous “Turtle Trader” story. This fascination and total immersion prompted me to launch a small hedge fund with a handful of investors to execute a trend-following strategy in commodities and financial futures. And this led me to relocate to Chicago to become a Member of the Chicago Board of Trade. Sadly, the largest of my fund’s investors decided to walk away with his 58% returns (net of fees) after only 18 months in business, thusly necessitating the close of my promising fund.
After the fund closed, I took advantage of my location (my office was on the 28th floor of the CBOT building) and exchange membership to try my hand at trading electronic mini-dow futures from a booth on the upper rim of the big Dow Futures pit on the floor of the CBOT. While it was an exciting daily endeavor to step on the floor and be part of the heart of the action, it was a short-lived dalliance. I couldn’t find an edge.
Undeterred, this led to my focus on learning about and building options strategies which began around 2007. I was greatly attracted to the ability to express my opinions of markets and stocks direction in defined-risk “bets” with advantageous leverage opportunities. Though I’ve dabbled with options since the beginning, I have been primarily engaged in equity and index options trading ever since.
In late 2010 while continuing to trade my own account, I joined StockTwits—the world’s largest social platform for finance—and became Director of Community where I was a key player in 10x-ing the growth of the audience. Here I also hosted and produced a popular Trader podcast that interviewed 40 of the biggest names and successes in the trader/social media space, and I created and oversaw a network of 35 trader meetup groups in cities around the U.S. & Canada. During this time, my love of community and trader network building for the purposes of mutual support and mentorship took shape.
In 2017, I left StockTwits and joined my friends at Trade Ideas, LLC where I continue today in a Sales, Training, and Market Strategy capacity. Trade Ideas is an absolutely indispensable tool for active traders and active investors. They are the first and only provider of AI-powered machine-learning tools in a SAAS model for Retail and Institutional subscribers, and the proof of value can be seen in hockey-stick subscriber growth and user retention. It is exciting to witness what they are building.
In many ways, much of what I’ve been involved with over the past 10 years has been me trying to build the support system around me and for others that I wish I had when I started out in Tampa way back in 1998. Launching All Star Options is another manifestation of this burning desire.
I’m Sean McLaughlin, and I approve this message 🙂
About Tom Bruni
Internal Audit Consultant turned Market Technician
Despite sounding like the lamest superhero story ever, that’s the short version of who I am, but if you’re interested I give the “long story long” version below.
I was born and raised on Long Island, NY where I still live today. My love for financial markets began when I was born, as my grandfather gifted me three shares of the hottest unconstrained bond fund at the time. Kidding…In reality I spent most of my teenage years playing video games, and with my dad being a construction worker and my mom being a crossing guard, I didn’t care what a stock was until my last few months of High School. At the time, I didn’t have any ambitions or idea what I wanted to do in life, but my Accounting 101 teacher saw something in me and scheduled me an interview for the relatively new Business Honors Program at Molloy College. To humor him, I went to the interview. Upon arrival, I found out I missed the deadline for the Honors Program; however, they were generous with their scholarship offers and gave me a shot, so I declared as an Accounting major (jobs for days) and eventually worked my way into the Honors Program starting Sophomore year.
My passion for financial markets, however, was discovered during high school. In my last few months before graduating, I discovered the stock market and became fascinated with it. I asked that same accounting teacher for book recommendations and he told me to read “The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham. Eagerly, I rushed to the library and ripped through the book only to return to him shortly after and explain that I wanted to know about stocks, not companies. He indicated that they were one in the same, but I still couldn’t understand how the value of Bank of America or any other stock could change by millions of dollars every day. Did their businesses really change that much overnight?
The answer of course is no, which lead me to discover technical analysis.
That summer I began reading everything I could, starting with “Technical Analysis of Stock Trends” by Edwards and McGee and quickly moving onto the other books people often recommend to newbies like “Reminiscence of a Stock Operator” and “Technical Analysis of Financial Markets”. That brought me to my second semester at school where I decided I knew enough and that it was time to become a master options trader, so I funded a TradeKing account with $3,000 and off I went to become Jesse Livermore 2.0 (minus the times he went bust). It only took two trades of seeing my options position fall to zero to realize that this game might be more difficult than it looked. Inspired by the bloggers and smart folks on Twitter that I was reading at the time (Josh Brown, JC Parets, Scott Redler, etc.) I decided to start BruniCharting.com to record my progress throughout the year and continue my learning process.
Fast forward to the end of the year…and I was absolutely crushing it! Except not. I had lost nearly 30% of my capital in a year where the S&P 500 gained roughly 30%. Not only that, but 2/3 of my principle was from my supportive Uncle, so each month I had to send him reports of how poorly I had done. By the end of the year I just wanted out. I wrote my final email and made him whole, plus interest for his troubles (we still talk, don’t worry). Despite closing my first “hedge fund” in less than a year, I wanted to keep learning by blogging and following the markets… so I did.
Shortly after that, I decided join the Market Technician’s Association to further my education. After some careful planning (stalking), I decided to attend one of their NY Chapter meetings where I just so happened to run into J.C. Parets and Greg Guenther. I was a bit shy, but at the end of Craig Johnson’s talk I approached JC and Greg’s huddle and decided my best opening line was something to the effect of “Heck of a move in that Australian Dollar, huh?”. Luckily, I found two of the only people in the building that respected how much of a nerd I was at age 19 and we talked shortly. Following that I kept in touch with both of them, asking for feedback and sending trade ideas until I mustered the courage to ask J.C. to intern with him at Eagle Bay Capital in the fall of 2014. During that time our friendship grew, and I learned a lot about his top-down approach to technical analysis and began weaving it into my own process. With that, my blog started gaining traction among the Finance community and I was invited by Howard Lindzon to attend Stocktoberfest on Coronado Island, San Diego in 2015, all expenses paid. Needless to say, it was an amazing learning experience that accelerated my progress and took my blogging and professional network to a whole new level. Shortly after, I began having pieces of my content occasionally featured on Business Insider, Yahoo Finance, See It Market, and Benzinga. Little did I know that in just under three years from that conference, I would grow to over 60,000 followers and be participating in a chart battle at Stocktoberfest East 2018 alongside many of the people I looked up to, but it happened.
During this period of growth as Technical Analyst, I was still doing my thing in school and taking other internships to figure out what I wanted to do. I explored many career paths including private accounting, investor relations, financial market research, wealth management, tax, risk consulting, and several others, but ultimately decided to join Ernst & Young’s Financial Services Office Risk Advisory Program. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Molloy in May 2016 and joined EY in September, where I spent eighteen months learning the corporate world and gaining the required experience for CPA licensure. While I enjoyed my time there and learned a lot both personally and professionally, I couldn’t shake my itch for financial markets and decided to leave this past December to join Allstarcharts.
And that brings us to today. Little did I know that starting a blog and losing money in the market would grow into a somewhat sizeable following online, great network and friendships, and countless lessons and opportunities. It was a lot of hard work to finally decide on something, but it’s clear that I’ve found my passion and am now excited to wake up every day and learn more about this crazy game we call financial markets. Although the market and the many smart people I interact with online teach me every day, my formal education has not stopped. I am currently a CPA, CFA Level II, and CMT Level III candidate (underlined/bolded for emphasis as I wear my compliance hat for a second), all of which I hope to complete in the coming year (maybe 2 for the CFA. Stuff’s hard, man).
As for the BruniCharting blog, I’ll be using it to document my journey and share what I learn and experience along the way. It was the power of social media mixed with a little effort that helped me reach where I am today, so hopefully others can learn from my mistakes as I make them in real-time and accomplish whatever their goals may be. I know how incredibly fortunate I am to have discovered my passion early on and to have created an opportunity (with a little luck) to pursue it…and that’s a privilege I will not take for granted.
Last, but not least, people often ask me why I made the switch and why I chose to work with JC at Allstarcharts to start my career. While the story above provides some answers throughout, the short version that I give is usually something to this effect:
“The reason I chose to join JC Parets at Allstarcharts is simple; my personal and professional goals are in line with the firm’s long-term ambitions. There are few people in the world that truly live and breathe charts, and over the past five years I’ve been lucky enough to become friends with one of them and learn from his more than a decade of experience. When JC asked me to come on board it was an easy decision to leave my cushy consulting job and follow my passion. At the end of the day I know that he trusts me to do my thing, while providing the support and guidance I need along the way. I’m grateful for the opportunity and look forward to building many dope things together in the years ahead.”
About Jonathan Bloom
Head of Institutional Sales
East Coaster, grew up in the Garden State of NJ. Played a little football for SUNY-Albany. Graduated with an Economics degree. Spent the last six years in Chicago..with a little bit of back and forth to NY in between. Recently came home to Westchester NY.
Professionally I have worked on the NYSE floor, at several Investment Banks, a regional broker-dealer, and a boutique research house. Been working on street since my college days in Finance, trading ETFs and International programs and ultimately covering buy-side accounts the last 10 years. During those years I have always leaned heavily on technical analysis to make better trading decisions.
Outside of work, I enjoy a friendly game of tennis or basketball.
I’m excited to be working with the All Star team. We’re confident you’ll find value in the Institutional offering. We’re all about more wins.
Looking forward to speaking with you.