Ascend Financial Education works with instructors who are seasoned and dedicated experts in their fields, with at least 20 years of experience behind them. They each have unique specializations in various areas of investing and trading.

Our current instructors are:


Director of Training & Instructor

David Kaplan

David Kaplan is a seasoned analyst, investor, and trader with a keen expertise and knowledge of capital markets as well as over 20 years of investing and trading experience.

Mr. Kaplan relies on fundamental and technical analysis in trading and investing, including advanced principles of behavioral science.  He has experience across all time frames of investing and trading and prides himself for his discipline and consistency of positive results in all market conditions.

Starting at Morgan Stanley as a Research Associate, Mr. Kaplan worked for over 6 years in the Institutional Equity Division at Morgan’s Global Headquarters in New York City.  During the last four years, his team was ranked #1 in its market performance by the prestigious Institutional Investor All America Poll rankings, an honor which means asset management analysts and portfolio managers voted the research as the best on the Street. 

Following Morgan Stanley, Mr. Kaplan worked at UBS and several boutique buy-side and sell-side firms in an institutional capacity focusing on small cap, special situations, and event driven strategies. 

With his passion for investment and ability to convey complex financial principles to a diverse audience, Mr. Kaplan has also taught fundamental and technical investing in classroom and consulting settings.

Most recently, Mr. Kaplan worked at Invest Academy, a classroom and investment training center based in New York, where he taught classes on technical analysis in investment strategies.  His classes received a very high number of positive and enthusiastic reviews from students, who credited him for breaking down complex technical concepts to teach practical investment and shorter term investment entry and risk management skills.

Mr. Kaplan holds an MBA in Finance and a Juris Doctor from Hofstra University and has earned his BA degree magna cum laude from the University at Albany.  He holds Series 6, 7, 63, 86, 87 licenses. 


Futures Instructor

Chris Damilatis

Chris Damilatis has over 35 years of experience in the Futures and securities industry. He is an industry leader and had served on the Board of director of the Futures Industry Association from 2003-2009. At various times in his career he has held memberships at a number of futures exchanges such at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Chicago Board of Trade, New York Mercantile exchange as well as others. Likewise Chris has held a number of security and futures regulatory licenses as a general principle.

Currently Chris is the Head of the New York institutional Futures business for ADM Investor Services a position that he has held since 2009. Prior to joining ADMIS,Chris held two senior positions at Prudential Bache Futures from 2002-2009, and Managing Director and Head of HSBC Futures, from 1990-2002. Chris started his career in 1980 at the Chicago Board of Trade. Chris has an undergraduate degree in accounting and an MBA in Finance both from St. John’s University.


Options Instructor

Scott Givre

Scott Givre is a professional derivatives trader with extensive knowledge trading varied types of options, futures, and equities. He has over 20 years of profitable experience as a market maker and volatility trader in the energy markets. He has successfully trained junior traders who have gone on to their own careers.

Scott is passionate for trading. He currently manages his own options trading group with offices in New York and Long Island. His team trades electronic, voice, and over-the-counter options markets on the CME and ICE exchanges. The team is able to profit from inefficiencies in the market using the strategies of volatility arbitrage, volatility spreads, and positional trading.

While working as a market maker on the NYMEX for over 15 years, Scott has experienced and successfully traded through the "black swan" events that have shaped our world over the past two decades. During this time on the NYMEX,he was one of the first market makers in illiquid / high volatility options on electricity, intercommodity cracks, and calendar spreads. With his extensive fundamental knowledge of options pricing theory and market mechanics, he has helped others become profitable traders.

Scott holds an MBA from the N.Y.U. Stern School of Business where he studied financial markets. He has a BS in Industrial and Management Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a minor in Economics.


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