The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.
Foreign Exchange

Alternative investments: Funny peculiar

Around the time I started in the FX market back in 1981, a new form of humour was emerging in the UK, labelled alternative comedy. Its detractors claimed that it wasn’t funny. I wonder if the same accusation could be made for what have become known as alternative investments?

There’s no doubt many alternative investment managers are different, as a TV series on the BBC called Million dollar traders  has shown over the past few weeks. The show’s premise was that ‘top City trader’ Lex Van Dam would prove you could make dealers out of almost anyone. Van Dam provided them with a brief training period and then let them loose on the markets with $1 million of his capital to trade. The show claimed that such a training programme had never been carried out before, which is nonsense, but I suppose hyperbole is necessary for good entertainment.

Anyone who has ever worked in a trading environment will have spotted the many inconsistencies in the show. In the final episode, one of the trainees, Emile, took umbrage at the way Van Dam and his trusty sidekick ‘sacked’ one of the rookies. Emile seemed to show talent and turn a profit all the way through the series. After he told Van Dam and his sidekick what they could do with their trading programme, the two described him as a losing trader. This made me immediately think Van Dam may have learnt his management skills at Merrill Lynch.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree