How tastytrade Helps Retail Investors Navigate Uncharted Markets

The pool of self-directed investors has surged during the past few years. By some estimates, 20 million new retail investors have entered the market thanks to a combination of several factors —the rise of mobile trading apps and online communities, the gamification of investing, and COVID-19 lockdowns.

Most of this new class of investors only have experience with investing in a bull market. Well, their investing world is dramatically shifting. Now, many retailer investors are living through their first bear market, enduring their first crypto winter, and preparing for their first recession, which seems to be on the horizon. How will self-directed investors be able to properly position themselves to protect their investments and capitalize on the opportunities available in a changing market?

One of the companies primed to support these retail investors as they navigate the changing market is Chicago’s tastytrade, a groundbreaking financial services company focused on self-directed investors and active traders. Tastytrade’s experience over the past decade has perfectly positioned them to respond to the needs of this next generation of self-directed investors. While the market is changing, the principles at the heart of tastytrade’s method remain consistent—provide self-directed investors with free, easily accessible education, content, and customer support to prepare them to respond to any shifts in the market.

Tastytrade’s founding team, which previously found success with thinkorswim—an innovative boutique options brokerage firm—launched its online financial network in 2011, this time with a focus on building a financial media empire. It started off with co-founders Tom Sosnoff and Kristi Ross, as co-CEOs (Ross has since announced moving to a strategic advisory role, in order to create a new startup), and Linwood Ma, as Chief Technology Officer, setting out to change the way individuals understood and approached finance.

They set their sights on creating content and programming that made trading more actionable, more approachable, and more engaging by breaking down complex concepts and giving people the confidence to invest their own money. Then the team brought on Scott Sheridan to help build and lead their new brokerage firm, tastyworks, which launched in 2017.

At tastytrade, the team focused on offering freely available, easily accessible education, content, and customer support to empower self-directed investors. The team had a deep-rooted purpose of empowering the everyday person to take control of their finances in a way no other firm had done at the time—by sharing their know-how via tastytrade content and tastyworks trading technology.

They offered retail investors a strategic approach to investing that is probability-based, logical, and mechanical. And their approach went beyond information and education in the tastytrade methodology; they also transparently showed investors how to apply those concepts in live markets, using the tastyworks platform.

An integral part of tastytrade’s model revolves around transparency and authenticity. Ross explains, “It features real traders, making real trades, in real time, with real commentary and sharing applied learnings during live market hours. It’s like looking over the shoulders of veteran traders, like Tony Battista and Tom Sosnoff, who traded options on the CBOE floor, complete with their fun, unfiltered commentary.”

What they’ve built is truly revolutionary, not only as a new approach in the content era, but by setting a new standard in trading and the financial service and fintech industry, pairing meaningful media with deep expertise and open access to information, all while entertaining viewers and providing a sense of community, culture, and accomplishment.

The content helps advance customers’ thinking about the markets and provides a logical, mechanical approach to trading that has changed the way people approach investing. “We challenge our customers everyday with math, statistics and probability-based research. They’re learning at a much deeper level and applying complex concepts in live market environments throughout the trading day,” adds Sosnoff.

Today tastytrade produces ten hours of live original programming every trading day and releases new content seven days a week. The executive teams and on-air personalities have well over 300+ years of collective trading experience. Tastytrade hosts over 100 different shows, an endless library of video on demand content, and a learn center to help investors go from trading stocks and advance into options, futures, and crypto.

More recently, the company has set about expanding its reach. Over the course of a decade, the team has built seven companies under the tastytrade umbrella—from its media firm to a new brokerage firm. Sosnoff shares, “We believe you have to reinvent yourself every couple years. That’s why we built seven companies within our company in ten years. We’re ever-evolving, ever-changing, and we’re never complacent and always purposeful.”

In 2020, they launched a new futures exchange that served retail investors by creating small, standard, and simple futures products never before seen in the industry. Their brokerage firm has expanded to Australia, and the company is in the process of getting tastyworks registered in Canada and Singapore.

In 2021, in the middle of the pandemic, the company sold for over $1B to IG Group and has since sold their futures exchange in 2022, along with IG’s binary options exchange, Nadex, for $250M to Ross explains, “One of the reasons we did the deal with IG Group was because of their global reach, on top of the fact that we shared the same customer-centric philosophy, which is hard to find. IG is in seventeen different countries, and we look forward to accelerating our tastyworks brokerage international expansion to help empower more investors around the world.”

In fact, today tastytrade’s content is already in over 190 countries, and the company has over a dozen different distribution channels.

That combination of intentionality, purpose, and laser focus on putting customers first is exactly what has made tastytrade so successful. Empowering investors with education, content, and technology has been the core of the tastytrade model for the past decade, which has put them in a prime position to support intentional, purposeful self-directed retail investors be successful across the country and around the world, regardless of how the markets change.

Originally featured in Forbes.