What happened to my Barclay Hedge ranking?
I wanted to write a short blog post on the latest situation with Barclay Hedge and my ranking.
And to do that I thought it would be mildly interesting (for some of you at least!) to tell the whole story about how it came about in the first place.
When I first signed up to their data base my intention was to post my trading performance in the hope of getting investors for my managed accounts programme.
At the time I was in the middle of trying to build my own business from almost scratch (I had a few clients) and one of the hardest things about that was actually trying to convince a serious investor that I wasn’t random guy on a website trying to make a quick buck by churning their account.
Obviously, investors should be careful who they work with and statistically most traders or managers will probably lose them money. This is bad enough, but there are also other ‘traders’ that intend to put client accounts at extremely high risk, to simply enrich themselves (This is called ‘churning and burning’)
So one of the first things I did was to try and get onto the biggest fund data bases so that there was some kind of mild credibility behind my track record (If you Google the term ‘biggest hedge fund data base’ Barclay Hedge dominate the front page) and the big target was to get myself into a position where I could actually offer each client managed accounts in a fully regulated environment.
And I’m not talking about regulation in some off shore island or micro nation, I wanted proper, serious regulation from one of the most credible and stringent regulators on the planet, the FCA in the UK (They were called the FSA at the time).
So that any investor could quickly see that I was not some random guy on the internet, and in fact, I was taking my money management business incredibly seriously, and was someone they could trust.
To become FCA regulated literally costs hundreds of thousands of pounds which includes the set up fees but also you need to ‘hold’ around £250,000 as a ‘back up’ in an account somewhere and not do anything else with it. You also need to keep to their compliance procedures and for that you will need a qualified officer who generally command a salary of over £100,000 per year alone.
So this was what I was working towards.
In 2012 Barclay Hedge then told me that it was possible for my performance to be quantified and actually ranked against a wide array of other traders in different categories, which obviously I was extremely interested in, and thought would really help sell my programme to any investors looking to open an account.
They went away, did their calculations and came back to tell me that if I were to be ranked in the category of FX traders managing up to $10 million then I would basically come out at number two based on my overall performance up to that point.
I was very pleased with this and went with it and they produced a nice branded certificate with the ranking on it along with a list of 50 of the funds and traders I was being ranked against.
I took some time out to research some of my fellow ‘competitors’ and discovered that these guys were actually serious investors and traders with some huge industry experience.
One of them had previously advised some of the major central banks and another one had previously worked for UBS managing around $36 billion in client funds.
And here we all were in this same category, all trying to go out on our own with our small funds, and I managed to be the second best performer out of them all, over those years!
At the time this was a huge deal for me, because in the investment industry I was a complete nobody so this would make a big impact and basically make me stand out amongst these kind of traders and funds.
Now, one very important part to this story is that reporting your performance to retail investors is a big ‘no’ because they are not classed as ‘qualified investors’ and the rules apply mainly to those traders offering regulated investments.
(The ironic thing is that if you are some chancer with a website the rules don’t actually apply to you)
So for example, if you were to email the team at SMILe and enquire about having a managed account the first thing you will need to do is fill out a detailed client form which will ask for all sorts of personal information that is designed to ascertain if you are a professional investor or not.
Only if you are deemed suitable will details of the investment be released.
SMILe Global Management is ofcourse where I have been head of FX since 2014 and where I eventually took my small managed accounts business in 2012.
They are a London based investment firm, and crucially the trading arm of a much larger firm that manages over $250 million. And ofcourse I was now able to offer my clients fully regulated managed accounts and get the credibility that came along with it.
I was introduced to them through my broker at the time, who had also just informed me that unless I can offer full FCA regulation to my clients I would no longer be allowed to manage money there (Or any other credible broker)
And apparently SMILe specialised in bringing new traders (with an existing book of clients) through and getting them off the ground, so I of course went to meet them, agreed to move my clients under their umbrella and grow my business from there.
Working with SMILe is what took my career to the next level, because it gives me a level of credibility that just cannot be faked (Office in the heart of London, FCA coverage, part of a larger firm)
But I also had my ranking none the less and planned to use it to grow my business even faster.
My thinking was that if I had this ranking AND I was part of a credible firm AND I could offer my clients regulated managed accounts then it would be the perfect combination.
I was right, and my reputation grew and I started getting a lot of interest from all sorts of different people, from brokers, to investors to… internet marketers.
In mid-2013, I was in contact with a fairly wealthy person who I was intending to turn into a managed account client.
They were based in the US and also happened to be a very large internet marketer in the retail Forex space. In fact, I can almost guarantee that you have not only heard of but probably also visited one of their websites on your travels.
And they made a lot of their money via these websites and selling products to retail traders.
My name was out there and it got their attention (They later told me that it was the ranking that caught their eye)
So we arranged to meet in New York and discuss their possible investment and also go through what the ranking meant etc…
While we were walking to dinner, they were telling me about the potential of the retail industry and how that someone in my position (Who used to be a retail trader, made their way through the industry and now works in the heart of institutional trading at a credible firm with a very impressive track record) could do very well, simply because most of the people selling products to retail traders were just failed traders that have never really achieved anything.
They were very keen to point out that making money this way was far less stressful than managing money in a regulated environment (And he wasn’t wrong!)
At first I was not that interested because I had dabbled in that area in the past with no real success, the money was always mediocre and the last thing I could be bothered with was preparing some webinar for a bunch of retail traders, when I could be out there chasing clients and building up my book with the goal of one day starting a hedge fund.
And then they told me that with their backing we could probably generate a business that would make me personally over 8 figures within the first 5 years.
This statement got my attention.
Was the industry of people wanting to learn how to trade really that big?
We carried on talking, had a cool time in Times Square, and then I got my flight back home the next day.
I started looking at some big ‘trader training’ companies and it did in fact seem that this industry was absolutely huge, and the demand for quality training and education was massive.
They also made it clear that once the content was created their team would take over everything else and I would simply get on with my day job, and most importantly that we would be generating revenues from pretty much the first month.
So we signed an agreement, and I committed myself to the project until at least 2019.
I spent almost two months back and forth filming courses and creating some kind of educational programme, and then we had a pretty decent launch.
In fact the initial launch was so successful that we generated around $150,000 in the first 6 weeks!
This was certainly an awesome ‘second’ income, and if it kept going at that pace I would actually make more from this than I was from my primary business of managing money.
Which come people criticise me for, but obviously anyone would do the same in my position. (I wasn’t quite at the stage where I could turn away an extra 6 or even 5 figures every month, does anyone ever get to that stage?!)
I was sold, and have been working on this site with their team ever since.
I was also promoted to head of FX at SMILe and that made me more of a permanent member at the firm, and one of my biggest focuses for the next couple of years is expanding their overall business and the types of products that they offer.
I obviously end up with a much smaller slice but the pie is much, much bigger now, rather than focusing on my own book of clients in the managed accounts space.
I still run my managed accounts but my plan is to wind this down so that I can focus on growing the firms overall AUM and also diversifying into different structures, such as hedge funds over the next few years. (It is much easier to grow a fund structure than a managed account structure in terms of getting larger chunks of capital from institutions and other funds) But this all takes copious amounts of work and focus.
Now, in the mean time we were having lots of big launches all over the place for the retail traders and it was decided to use the ranking as our ‘attention grabber’.
As the traffic and publicity grew people started emailing Barclay Hedge to ask them if it was true and if they really did say that I was the ‘second best trader in the world, ever’
They got pissed off for several reasons:
Firstly, people were obviously misinterpreting the ranking and thinking it was something far more significant than it actually is, and secondly, they really did not like the fact that I was using something designed for a ‘professional’ audience in the retail space.
(A lot of people also get really pissed when they find out it is not Barclays bank … Despite no one ever saying it was!)
They foresaw a lot of potential headaches from this, not least the spike in emails they were now suddenly dealing with.
And to be honest, I kind of see their point, and never did that in any deliberately malicious way, we were purely focused on something to get peoples’ attention in the first place.
The net result was that they decided not to continue tracking my performance, I was removed from their data base and they would no longer be ranking me in any capacity (They even tried to take back the ranking they already gave me!)
At this point, it doesn’t really make much difference to my career now, and I have apologised to the owner of Barclay Hedge for any unintended issues we caused them.
So this explains why my ‘ranking’ only goes up to 2014, despite the ‘conspiracy theories’ that I have heard and read all over the internet. (Some of them are actually really entertaining to read)
The other entertaining thing is how genuinely annoyed people get by the fact we use the ranking in our marketing to retail traders!
The most important thing is that everyone knows the full story behind it, why it is no longer there, that I am not claiming to be some messiah figure in the trading world and mainly that I’m not saying anything that is untrue.
The purpose of writing this post was to answer all of the questions and mainly explain to everyone that my intention is not to mislead, but to merely get their attention and that with this post and everything else written about me in the press, Wikipedia or wherever, all of the facts can be found with even just a few minutes of research.
Source:: Barclay Hedge Ranking