I was reading this tale of woe in my headlines at the weekend. I remember this incident and chump. What I didn’t realise is that I had a weak connection to them. When I saw the initial media posts a good few years back about how a private trader had spent £200,000 on champagne on a night out I knew something was fishy. Trust me, private traders don’t spend those kind of sums, they tend to live quite frugally from what I’ve seen. The last thing the successful traders I know would be doing is spending foolish sums of money on champagne in a tacky night-cub courting the press and controversy. Especially in austerity Britain with its banker-bashing! So it was no surprise when I heard that the FSA had raided his office and arrested him.
So whats my connection? Well when I read this piece the young Alex talked about his trading ‘mentor’ a chap who turns out was named Raj Shastri….which just stuck in my mind. I knew that name, I said to myself, so I googled it and lo-and-behold I did know and remember his so-called ‘mentor’.
About 8-9 years ago I worked for a short-time at an education firm. It was soul-destroying, but also character building as you saw the calibre of people coming into the market. The good, the bad and the ugly. One day this guy, Raj Shastri, abandoned his Bentley outside the front door, stormed on to the trading-floor, wearing a cheap pin-stripe suit with a garish watch and tie. He announced to all and sundry, like he owned the place, that he was here to be taught trading by the best person in the room, and who was that person? All the other staff pointed at me. I took one look at him and promptly told him to ‘go forth and multiply’ in my usual delicate and professional style. He ended up working with my colleague David, and was a compete charlatan right from the off. He was more interested in talking loudly about how successful he was in property than paying any attention to the education and counsel my colleague was offering. Somehow though he managed to convince himself that he was a slick trading ‘mentor’ and with Alex they decided to set-up together and managed to attract £5.5 million of ‘investment’! (It really does beggar belief doesn’t it!)
It turns out my first impressions were right. They say you should ‘fake-it-till-you-make-it’ which only works if you act accordingly. If you act like a talentless chump who’s out on the make, then you shouldn’t be surprised if that gets you into serious trouble. (It’s probably why he felt so at home at little-greggie’s place.)
It’s clear that trading is not easy and it is not for everyone. Jesse Livermore said this approximately 100 year ago, and to be honest nothing has really changed:
“The average man doesn’t wish to be told that it is a bull or a bear market. What he desires is to be told specifically which particular stock to buy or sell. He wants something for nothing. He does not wish to work. He doesn’t even wish to have to think.”
This is what opens the doors to con-men like Alex and Raj. Todays technology makes it even easier in some-ways. A little word of free advice: if a so-called ‘fund’ manager or trading ‘super-star’ offers you the chance to join his ‘fund’ and asks you to deposit your fund money straight into their personal bank account then don’t walk away – run! And also inform the local authorities, for such behaviour is illegal. Even marketing and advertising such services is breaking the rules.
The reality is that trading is a tough endeavour and that you’re likely to endure ‘pills,thrills’n’bellyaches‘ -to use the name of a Happy Mondays album – discovering your own path to success. (I might add that by ‘pills’ I mean nurofen express for that migraine after a tough day. Probably not what Shaun Ryder and Bez had in mind when they named the album!)