By Sarah Henderson on April 1 2014 (Happy April Fool 's Day)
Today's featured post would be on a person that I knew for quite a number of years. He is my current boss and therefore the information on this page may be biased a bit. But hey, his work as a trader is nothing short of spectacular. If you compared him to the likes of George Soros or Paul Tudor Jones, his earnings may seem like small change but for a self directed trader, I think making $139 Million is no small feat.
I first met Stephen way back in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia when i went for a trip to this small South East Asian country with my family 3 years ago. We needed a family picture and asked this stranger to take some pics for us. Then we striked up a conversation and exchanged contacts and Facebook. As the years go by we interacted on FB and he got to know that I'm a full time freelance writer. So he hired me to do some jobs for him.
When he told me he was a stock trader trading stocks in the NYSE, Nasdaq and all kinds of commodities, I was surprised to know that someone from Asia could do that. Well, stupid me. The speed of communication in this modern era just about enables you to do anything expect having physical touch.
Stephen started trading US stocks when he was 23 years old. After graduating from high school, he went to read law and graduated from UWE Bristol. He then went on to do the local Certificate of Legal Practice and passed it. Stephen was about to dip his feet into the legal world when an advertisement in the local newspaper about stock trading caught his eye. From there on, as they say, it was history.
He would spend hours and hours each day pouring through economic reports, charts and news. In his first year of trading, he made $50,000. After some bad moves and overconfidence he lost all of it and then some. It was a big devastation for this trader. Never giving up, he analyzed his losses and the mistakes he made. Having borrowed some money from relatives, he was determined to make it right the second time.
Stephen would analyzed every single stock in the S&P 500 index, pour through numerous stock charts and made Intermarket Analysis his main staple of analysis. He would be up all night (it's at night in Malaysia when the US exchanges open) and only sleep at 5am in the morning. Basically his life was one devoted to the world of trading. Sometimes spending up to 17 hours staring at the computer screen. In his own words " I had no social life, I was sitting in the house 3 days at a stretch without going out and erm...people were thinking what I did for a living".
By the end of the second year in trading, Stephen had a small profit of$150,000. He then made an amazing %500 return on this amount the following year. A NYSE trader noticed his acumen and sensitivity towards stocks and hired him to analyze all kinds of movement in Tech stocks. The trader (who refused to be named) later introduced him to a hedged fund firm (who wants to remain anonymous) and Stephen work for the fund as one of the traders specializing in Technology Stocks.
At first he was given $1 Million to manage. Stephen was able to turn the $1 Million into $3 Million within 6 months making large bets shorting tech stocks through the use of options. Confident of his abilites, the fund manager assigned him to work with his head trader. Together, the team of 15 traders managed $500 Million between them. By the fourth year, Stephen's contribution to his team amounted to $10 Million in profits. In the fifth year, he made $30 Million for the fund. By the age of 29, the spectacular trader had made $139 Million for the fund. All the years of hard work and sleepless nights had contributed to this amazing return. What is his cut from the $139 Million?
According to him...
"I wish all that money was mine from the start. But its all the firms. They do pay me a nice percentage of the profit"
Even with consistent questioning by me, Stephen still refuses to disclose his percentage of his take. One thing I learned from him was that he took 10% of it and donated them to various charities that help the poor in Africa. The rest of it is lock tight in numerous investment in Cyprus, Switzerland and Cayman Islands which he does not plan to take out anytime in the near future.
Today, Stephen is happily retired from the stressful life of a trader. He says that some things are more important than money or success. He resides in a small town in Malaysia living a quite and peaceful life with his girlfriend, a toy poodle called Bloopy and a Siberian Husky called Benjie. The successful trader rarely carries more than RM 50 (about $15) in his pocket. Extremely frugal and not a person to waste money. He continues to brag that he is the poorest trader in the world. I wonder how he ever manages to pay me and his team of writers : )
Stephen and I wishes all the readers of World's Rich People a wonderful April Fools Day!