Million Dollar Traders


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In May 2008 I was approached by the BBC and Lex Van Dam to manage a group of novice traders in the TV series Million Dollar Traders. We captured history in the making by filming the only reality trading show during the meltdown of the 2008-2009 global credit crisis. Lex put up $1mln of his own capital. I managed the group of novice traders, monitored their risk and mentored them without giving any specific investment advice.

We interviewed and chose the candidates based on a set of criteria, laid out by ourselves and the production company. Traders, Hedge Fund Managers, Research Analysts and Technical Analysts were brought in to train the novices over a two week period. The vast majority of the training programme was delivered by ex Goldman Sachs and GLG Hedge Fund strategist, Raoul Pal. During the training programme, I organised the Trading Floor simulation and was on hand every day to deal with the groups questions related to trading and risk management. There were two sides to the office. The TV production side and the trading side. Behind the scenes and on the trading side, the tools that you see the traders use (other than Bloomberg) were built by me. This involved integrating and building all of the risk systems, spreadsheets and trading procedures.

Each fortnight during filming, Lex and I decided, based on trading performance (Quantitative) and my feedback (Qualitative), how much capital should be deployed to each trader. Over July and August 2008 the novice traders as a group managed to outperform the Pan European Hedge Fund Return Index (HFRI) by 3%. Caroline Taysom, Ohi Imoukhuede and Mike Tovell were the star performers of the group. Emile Colman, Sam Duby, Cleopatra Folkes, Amit Jobanputra and Simon Brew all lost money. We took capital away from the losers and redistributed it to the successful traders. By doing so we protected the $1mln and outperformed. We proved two things. Firstly that anyone can trade if they have the right training and they put it into practice. Secondly, that not everyone can trade. Some people are just beyond help.

Million Dollar Traders was filmed in June (training), July and August (Trading) 2008 and aired on BBC2 in January and February 2009 as part of the BBC’s “City Season”

You can watch the full three part series here:

Episode 1 – Make Me a Trader

Episode 2 – Profit and Loss

Episode 3 – Traders

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