When trader Mark Trevillion posts investment advice in Facebook group ASX Penny Stock Investors, the reactions are something to behold.

“You’re a legend Mark.”

“Got my 1st bag because of you Mark Trevillian”.

“You have improved my trading without a doubt mate and would love to shout your family dinner if ever on the Gold Coast.”

“Big bottle of whatever you want + a nice dinner on the cards mate when your in Melbourne haha, glad to have met you through here, it’s helped my trading seriously.”

Mr Trevillion, or “the boss” as he’s known among friends, is a moderator of ASX Penny Stock Investors — Australia’s fastest-growing small cap Facebook group.

As small cap coverage recedes among mainstream media, analysts and brokers, traders are turning to each other in social media support groups to share investing advice, stock tips, wins and losses.

And since the small cap end of the ASX began to take off last year, specialist Facebook trading groups in particular have been growing fast.

ASX Penny Stock Investors now has about 8200 members, but there are dozens of others such as ASX Value Investors, ASX Medicinal Cannabis Investors Group and ASX – Resources Investors Group. (Stockhead recently launched a Facebook group to discuss stories like this one).

It's all about the hat. Pic: Mark Trevillian
Mark Trevillian of ASX Penny Stock Investors Facebook group

“The share market is so bullish at the moment,” Mr Trevillian told Stockhead when asked why he thought the groups were so popular.

“People think [trading is] easy money, and word of mouth is amazing.”

The Small Ords — which measures stocks in the ASX300 but is the only measure available for smaller companies — is up 16 per cent since August, when small caps began their run.

The All Ordinaries, on the other hand, is up about 7 per cent.

Small cap traders find not only information and advice but also a higher degree of trust in groups like ASX Penny Stock Investors, Mr Trevillion says.

“I really believe that brokers, when they try to sell you into certain shares, a lot of the time they’re getting backdoor incentives. If I tell you to buy a stock it’s because I believe in it.”

Some brokers in turn scoff at their amateur rivals, saying they provide some liquidity but ultimately don’t own enough stock to matter in the grand scheme of things.

Facebook friends

Mr Trevillian has himself been trading shares for about 20 years — all self-taught — and two years ago figured he’d give it a go full-time, after losing his job as a sales manager for an earth-moving equipment company.

“I enjoyed the interaction with people. I was trading and missed the interaction.

“I started going online and people ask questions, and I just wanted to help people.”

So he started Facebook group ASX Chat.

As that group started to become more popular he began to receive “nasty messages” from some members who followed his advice and didn’t see an immediate return.

“Most people appreciate the support, but others expect the stock to go up right away,” he said.

“That’s why I always tell people to do your own research. Shares can fall — people need to realise that.”

So he quit that group and found his way to ASX Penny Stock Investors.

Recently, as more and more people have begun to dive into small cap investing he’s begun to see similar behaviour from beginners disappointed when social media tips don’t deliver immediate gains.

For example, he says he bought a resources company called Ardiden (ASX:ADV) at 1.8c in December and sold yesterday just under the peak of 3.5c — a one bagger as it’s known in trader speak.

But because it was slow to pick up he “copped a bit of flak for that”.

The Small Ords (XSO) versus the All Ords (XAO) between August 2, 2017 and January 16, 2018. Pic: Google Finance
The Small Ords (XSO) versus the All Ords (XAO) between August 2, 2017 and January 16, 2018. Pic: Google Finance

In personal terms, Mr Trevillian says he’s up about 300 per cent since June.

He watches about 300 different companies — “not with a computer program, with my own eyes” — and when he sees sentiment begin to change he tells the group and buys some stock.

He says he never sells straight after he’s bought and never uses his reputation to boost a stock’s price in order to sell, a practice known as a ‘pump and dump’ which he calls “below the belt”.

In the facebook groups, it can also all be about knowing who is a genuine experts and who is full of hot air.

He credits group member Matt Tattis for one of his biggest hits, Force Commodities (AX:4CE), which he bought at 4c — and closed Tuesday at 14c.

DYOR (do your own research)

Mr Trevillian says anyone looking to start trading needs to take it slow because the market could change at any time.

“One year I made $120,000, another year I lost $50,000.”

He advises new traders to spread their risk — he has investments across the hot industries of lithium, cobalt, gold, cannabis, and crypto — and to spend about a minimum of $1000 as brokerage fees will make lower parcels less profitable.

ASX Penny Stock Investors – https://www.facebook.com/groups/254078405029965/

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