Zak Westphal: Empowering Traders Through Education and Cutting-Edge Technology

Zak Westphal

For an everyday trader diving into the world of stocks for the first time, financial markets can feel extraordinarily complex, if not downright impossible to navigate successfully. Between bewildering terminology, volatile price fluctuations, and regulations in favor of institutional players, the odds often seem overwhelmingly stacked against the retail trader just getting their start.

Enter Zak Westphal and StocksToTrade – a trading industry disruptor on a mission to transform that landscape for independent traders by leveling the playing field.

As CEO, Zak experienced those intimidating market barriers firsthand in his early trading days. Determined to change the status quo, he set out to build a platform that gave ordinary investors access to the same elite tools and real-time market data that hedge funds rely on. The type of analytics and screening technology that once cost tens of thousands per year would now be within any trader’s reach.

In this interview, we sit down with Zak and learn more about his journey in the fintech world.

What inspired you to build StocksToTrade, and how does your platform address the unique needs of retail traders?

I started out as a regular old retail trader trying to figure things out. But I quickly realized small individual investors were at a huge disadvantage compared to the big shots on Wall Street. While we were stuck with basic tools, they had insane data feeds, fancy analytics, and complex algorithms giving them an edge.

I knew there had to be a way to even the playing field for us little guys. And that spark ultimately pushed me to create StocksToTrade specifically to address those barriers holding retail traders back.

We built out user-friendly trading platforms packed with capabilities tailored for individuals, not institutions. Things like screening, charting, news aggregation – made simple enough for anyone to grasp with some guidance. Now retail traders can leverage that institutional-grade power on their own terms.

My goal is to equip any motivated individual trader with an edge to tackle markets with confidence. Not just fancy tools – but the ability to leverage those tools effectively over the long haul to see real results.

Education seems to be a core focus at StocksToTrade. Why do you believe trader education is so crucial, and how do you approach creating resources that empower your users?

Yes, that’s right. Without really understanding things like risk management, chart patterns, or indicators, even the most powerful analytics go to waste. That’s why knowledge building is a cornerstone of the StocksToTrade experience.

Our approach is to meet traders wherever they are on their journey with practical, applicable training. We create educational trading content for total newbies just familiarizing themselves with basics, all the way to advanced traders looking to master options strategies. Our team of seasoned traders distill their decades of experience into actionable lessons users can apply right away.

We also host tons of live webinars, workshops, and QA sessions for that hands-on experience. I have found that people learn way more when they can engage with mentors in real-time. The key for us is ensuring everything we teach has a clear line-of-sight to real world usage. We don’t just throw theory at people – we show them exactly how to translate concepts into profitable, calculated trades.

StocksToTrade is known for its cutting-edge tools, particularly in the realm of algorithmic trading. Can you explain how your platform democratizes access to these advanced technologies for retail traders?

Algorithms totally changed the game in trading, but for the longest time, retail investors couldn’t tap into those tools – they were locked up with institutional players. At StocksToTrade, we saw that as a major opportunity to swing open those gates and make advanced tech more accessible.

We built out algorithmic trading tools that have all the power of institutional-grade tech, but engineered them to be simple enough for everyday traders to customize to their strategy. Functions that analyze tons of data to spot patterns and automated precise order execution are now viable for individuals without a programming background.

I’m especially excited about our Oracle algorithm. It uses AI to predict price movements super accurately, helping traders get a better idea of when to enter and exit trades. People can tune Oracle to their personal risk tolerance and backtest it first. It’s like having that institutional-caliber insight in your toolbelt.

As the fintech landscape evolves and algorithmic trading becomes more prevalent, how do you ensure that StocksToTrade remains at the forefront of innovation while still prioritizing user experience and education?

Staying cutting-edge in fast-changing fintech requires balancing innovation with user needs.

With this in mine, we invest heavily in R&D to constantly improve algorithms and explore the next big things. But new tech for tech’s sake isn’t our motto. Our tools must solve traders’ problems with simplicity and reliability top of mind.

That’s why we lean so hard into user feedback to guide development. Enhancing UX enables more people to access powerful features. And comprehensive education helps traders extract maximum value as offerings progress. By keeping a pulse on user pain points in this way, we can keep pioneering innovations that empower people rather than overwhelm them.

Building a strong community seems to be a core part of StocksToTrade’s approach to trader empowerment. How do you foster a sense of collaboration and knowledge sharing among your users?

Community fuels everything we do. Bringing traders together fosters collaboration and knowledge sharing – accelerating growth. Our forums and chat rooms give members a place to engage with one another. Traders connect, share ideas, and learn from successes and missteps under the guidance of experienced moderators.

Above all, our community celebrates its members. We showcase success stories and insights that empowered those traders to inspire others to keep reaching higher. I have always wanted to nurture a culture all about positivity and growth, one where traders feel supported to push boundaries together.

Looking to the future, what excites you most about the potential for technology and education to continue transforming the trading landscape, and how do you see StocksToTrade contributing to this evolution?

There are no two ways about it, the future of trading promises enormous transformation driven by technological and educational advancements. As AI, machine learning and blockchain progress, we’ll see unprecedented innovations for analyzing markets, executing trades, and managing risk before unimaginable.

We will aim to lead that charge, integrating cutting-edge tech to provide traders superior tools and insights. But even more exciting is the potential for education to shape the next generation of empowered, diverse traders. As knowledge becomes more accessible, more people can succeed in markets regardless of background.