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WEDNESDAY, MAY 18, 2011
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
SPREAD BETTING | PEOPLE
The Daily Telegraph
"Chasing losses is also a common problem,"
he says. "When people are down they have a very
stubborn mentality. They want to get that money
back. So they will take more, and greater, risks in
the hope of winning everything back.
"Unfortunately, it's a very common trait with
boss to City
Mr Hope says many people find it almost
impossible to control their trading when they are
experiencing such dramatic peaks and troughs.
"One of my friends, Michael, lost four of five
grand six months ago when he was fairly new to
the game," he says.
"He was rushing into it, he'd heard from others
that it was a get rich scheme, that he would be a
millionaire next week. It doesn't work like that,
Mr Hope says he's placed Michael under extra
supervision to check that he doesn't make the
same mistake again. "It is taking him time, and
slowly but surely he is recouping his losses," he
Mr Hope claims the most he's lost in a single
trade is 160 when his total account was about
10,000. "I'm a strong believer that if you lose
Rupert Neate meets a man who gave up his job to
money, you should write it off and come back
another day," he says. "Tomorrow is a new day is
concentrate on foreign exchange deals in the City
my motto. It is also important not to feel like you
have to trade every day. There are days when it's
better not to trade. You don't want the market to
overtake you. You've got to wait if you feel you're
Cable is still Mr Hope's favourite trade, but he
WANTED to be a professional
there where days when I was up day and night
also trades the euro against the dollar and yen
footballer," says Alex Hope. "But I fell
watching charts. It is more addictive in terms of
against the dollar. "I dabble in gold and other
into spread betting and haven't looked
watching the market than placing trades," he
commodities too," he says, "But, it's really about
says. "But there are times, even nowadays, when I
playing to your strengths.
Mr Hope, 22, who had youth team
might over-trade; when I've made my target for
"I know cable like the back of my hand, I
trials with Charlton Athletic Football Club, first
the day but see more opportunities and want to
understand it inside out. The dollar is bouncing
started spread betting to pass the time during his get back in."
back a little bit at the moment after a huge sell-off
hour-long commute to his job as a human
On the whole, Mr Hope says, he now has the
at the end of last month."
resources catering manager at Wembley stadium.
willpower to switch off his computer after hitting
The dollar hit a three-year low against a basket
"It was such a long journey and I got bored of
his daily targets.
of currencies on the last Friday of April and has
reading Metro and picked up a book about how to
Mr Hope, who mainly trades the dollar against
fallen for the last five months straight. It fell 3.8pc
trade currencies," he says. "It sounds odd, I
sterling, known as cable, says that after two and a
against the basket in April.
know, but I have always had a passion for
half months trading his initial 500 stake had
Hedge funds made hundreds of millions of
grown to 2,500.
dollars from the sell-off by increasing their short
"Every time I went abroad on
"That was when I decided to quit
positions against the greenback to $28.6bn
holiday as a kid I would buy some of
my day job and move into the industry
(17.1bn) in the week before a key speech by Ben
the local currency and hold on to it
full-time. It was a hobby, now it's my
Bernanke, the chairman of the US Federal
and watch the markets to see what
! First job: Human
would happen to its value, and
"Who would have thought I would
It was a different story last week, with the
explore the reasons why different
manager at Wembley
become a trader in the City? Certainly
pound falling against the dollar to $1.62 on
currencies went up and down.
Friday, the fourth straight day of declines.
"Then a couple of weeks before my
! Current Job:
Mr Hope now teaches other people
Mr Hope says he started training other people
18th birthday, a friend took me along
Currency expert and
how to start spread betting and
professionally after teaching dozens of his mates
to a spread betting seminar at CMC
trainer at a leading City
continues to run his own private
in his spare time.
Markets. That was it, I was hooked."
spread betting academy
"I've taught nearly a 100 of my friends," he
Mr Hope opened an account with
! First trade: Gold
"I really enjoy teaching people," he
says. "It's not for everyone, you have to have a
500 and started trading gold because ! Biggest loss: 160
says. "You can't teach them
real interest in the subject, it's not really
it was recommend in his book. "On
! Biggest win: Not
everything but it's important to make
something you can just dabble in."
the day I started India raised its rates
sure they understand the importance
Mr Hope says a lack of formal education is not
- it really worked in my favour - I
! Key tip: Take it
of how to make the right decisions.
a barrier to entry. "I've taught people who have
made 600 on my first day," he says.
slowly and do your
Guessing is gambling, knowing what
got the best degrees from the best universities,
Mr Hope began trading on his
you are doing is taking a calculated
and other people who never made it or dropped
phone during his commute to and
out, like I did," he says. "Some of them are not
from Wembley, but found too much
Mr Hope says his key piece of
even employed in finance, they could be in
was going on in the markets while he
advice to anyone starting out spread
human resources or IT or just about anything.
was supervising burger flipping.
betting is not to rush into it. "Do your research
The great thing about spread betting is that you
"It was meant to be just an extra hobby
first, read the internet forums, read the books,
can fit it around so many different lifestyles."
alongside football," Mr Hope says. "But when it
talk to people, then make your own decisions," he
He says that people generally decide whether or
started occupying all my thoughts, I took two
says. "A lot of people learn the hard way by
not spread betting is for them pretty early on.
months off my job at Wembley, got really
rushing into it, making mistakes and making
"Some people find it really stressful, perhaps
obsessed with reading charts and got the guts to
because they don't really understand," he says.
start trading properly."
He says beginners have to battle against the
"But those who put in the hours and have a real
Mr Hope says his desire to know exactly what
temptation of getting carried away when things
passion for it can find it really rewarding."
was happening in the markets at all times began
are going well and the desire to immediately
Mr Hope says he wants to take his trading
to take over his life.
make back losses when trades go wrong.
career to the "next level" by moving spread-
"My life had always been all about football. I
"I'm not going to lie and say I'm perfect,
betting from his bedroom to the City.
was training to become a professional football
everybody over-trades. It's the greed factor -
"In a year or two I'd like to set up my own mini
coach, but spread betting took over. I became
when you're going well you pile in hoping to
hedge fund," he says. "Obviously, I've got lots and
totally fascinated with how global economics
make even more money thinking you're
lots of work to do but this is my passion now. I
affect our lives.
invincible," he says. "But you've got to shut down, WARREN ALLOTT
still love football but I wouldn't change my life for
"Is it addictive? Certainly, when I first started
distract yourself and do something else.
Alex Hope, pictured outside the Bank of England, now teaches other people about spread betting
Trader of privatisation era
Money man got
will reflect all the factors and
it is simpler," he says.
a taste for shares
He refuses to say how
!First trade: Shares in
much he's made from his
in the `80s, hears
newly privatised British
best trade, but points out that
Gas, BT and Rol s
he wrote an article
highlighting the potential of
!Biggest loss: In the
silver in November last year.
dotcom bubble crash.
"As you will know, the price
REMEMBER Sid? He was the
Amount not disclosed
of silver rallied by 50pc
ordinary bloke charged with
!Biggest win: Long
between November 2010 and
persuading ordinary people
position in silver.
April 2011." He has also done
to buy shares in the
Amount not disclosed
well from shares in Premier
privatisation of British Gas.
!Key tip: Remember
Foods and he is currently
One of those ordinary
the importance of
"keeping a close eye" on
people was Ragu
Workspace, a FTSE 250 office
Dharmaratnam. During the
privatisations of the 1980s
Money man: Ragu Dharmaratnam
However, it hasn't always
and 1990s, Mr Dharmaratnam,
been plain sailing. Mr
47, bought shares in British
limit. "I was always looking
He mainly trades FTSE 250 Dharmaratnam, like so many
Gas, BT, Rolls Royce, British
for tax-efficient ways of
shares and currency pairs,
other investors, lost some
Steel and other new corporate investing and during the early such as sterling/dollar,
serious money when the
giants. "I bought and sold
2000s I heard of the financial
Australian dollar/US dollar,
dotcom bubble burst in 2000.
them within a few days and
spread trading system where
indices such as the Dow
He says he failed because he
made some money," he says.
all gains are tax free and you
Jones, Dax and Nikki, metals
was trading without a system
In the late 1990s Mr
don't have to even declare
and commodities, such as oil, and buying shares on the
gains on your tax returns," he corn, coffee and sugar. He
back of TV share tips rather
shares two or three times a
says. "I was told that only
trades mainly with Spreadex.
than analytics. "I learnt a lot
month via the share
20pc of the investing public
Mr Dharmaratnam, a
from these mistakes and now
certificated method, but was
make money from the stock
I am a more systematic and
put off buying more by high
market. It was going to be a
management accountant, says disciplined trader and I put
dealing costs and tax
big challenge for me to make all of his trading decisions
stop losses on at least 99pc
payments if his gains
it into that 20pc and to earn
are based purely on data
of my trades to avoid any
exceeded the capital gains
some additional income."
charts. "To me price charts
nasty shocks," he says.
Golf punt sparked obsession
tournament in memorable
style but I won because
speaks to a man
spread betting allows you to
!First job: Seling
bet on more than just win or
who is glued to
!First spread bet: Ian
Mr Ezra, who places most
his iPhone apps
Woosman to go round
of his trades via City Index,
1987 British Open in
says he was attracted to
fewer than 288 shots.
spread betting because it
WHETHER he is sipping
!Biggest win or loss:
allows him to bet on sports as
cocktails on an Indian beach
well as politics and financial
or walking up and down the
!Key tip: Don't get
markets. He refuses to state
aisles in Tesco, you will find
sucked into taking
how much money he makes
Michael Ezra glued to his
large positions. It can
or loses from spread betting,
be very seductive, but
but says his total outcome in
But you won't find him
start slowly and take
a single day has twice
tweeting or poking his friends
"touched six figures". He
on Facebook, he will be
Dedicated: Michael Ezra trades 24/7
won't say whether they were
studying the financial apps.
in his favour or not.
"I am completely, totally
before 4am because his
the dentist's chair for a filling.
Mr Ezra says the most
obsessed with trading and
trades are often dependent
"It helped with my
important thing is not to get
market information," he says. on what is happening in Asia. performance but I'm not sure over-emotional.
"I need to know what's going "It's a 24/7 operation now
it helped the dentist with his,"
"Whether I've made a
on all the time.
that world is so inter-
fortune or lost a fortune, at
"Before I've even opened
connected," he says. "There's
Mr Ezra's first spread bet
the end of a day's trading I
both eyes in the morning I
no knocking off and going to
was on Ian Woosnam to go
move on and prepare for the
look at my iPhone. It tells me
the pub at 5.30pm anymore."
round the 1987 British Open
exactly what has gone on
Mr Ezra is so keen not to
in fewer than 288 shots. "He
"Financial markets are like
miss out on the minutiae of
achieved it with a total of 284 a good book that never ends.
But, it's rare for Mr Ezra's
the markets that recently he
shots and I won 300," he
You just can't ever put it
head to touch the pillow
continued trading while sat in says. "Nick Faldo won the