Million Dollar Traders (Episodes 1, 2, 3)

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Not so much a documentary but a three-episode reality TV / social experiment, but essential watching for aspiring hedge fund traders nonetheless, Million Dollar Traders aired on the BBC in 2009. The concept was designed by successful hedge fund trader Lex van Dam, he sought to hire twelve aspiring traders with no real-world experience of trading and turn them into professional traders. The twelve would invest using Lex van Dam’s personal money, with a maximum exposure of $1 million to trade over a two month period.

The series was made extra interesting as, by chance, filming took place during the onset of the 2009 financial crisis. The traders selected came from a variety of different backgrounds and included a working class fight promoter, a working mother, a recently retired army officer, and a student. The group were managed by former Goldman Sachs trader Anton Kreil who remained in constant contact with van Dam to update him on the groups progress.

Just three of the twelve initial traders remained at the end, due to sackings and a mass-walkout, but the three managed to confirm van Dam’s belief that he could turn novices into professional traders. The group outperformed van Dam’s own professional hedge fund over the period. All three episodes can be watched on this page (see the 1, 2, 3 tabs).

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