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Lex van Dam – the path to success in trading

Lex van Dam is a hedge fund manager and financial teacher specializing in trading stocks, currencies and financial derivatives.

Van Dam studied econometrics and investment at the University of Groningen. His professional career began in 1992 with securities trading at Goldman Sachs, where he worked for ten years, most recently as Head of the equities proprietary trading desk. Then in GLG, which was the largest hedge fund in Europe at the time. Since 2007, he has been a hedge fund manager at Hampstead Capital LLP, London.

In 2009, Van Dam participated in the BBC 2 series “Million Dollar Traders”, which aims to educate eight ordinary people about the stock market, recreating the famous turtle trader experiment of Richard Dennis in 1980. Van Dam gives his own pounds sterling equivalent to $ 1.0 million of novices to trade for eight weeks. As in the original experiment, the claim that novices can become traders on a professional level, making small profits or at least lower trade losses in very turbulent markets, while at the same time professionals lose four times more, is confirmed. Van Dam created the experiment to encourage people to take greater control of personal finances as a result of the global financial crisis.

  1. How did you start your trading career?
    I did an internship at Goldman Sachs during my econometrics degree, and this was my first real contact with the world of finance. I never knew there was even as cool a job as trading the markets. It was love at first sight, and it hasn’t changed since.
  2. What is best if you want to start trading today: trade with your own money or join an internship program at a large bank?
    Working in a bank is the best choice: they pay you while you study. It takes time, effort and commitment to learn how to trade, so it’s best to have a job while you study.
    The market will exist forever, make sure you are in the best possible position before you actually enter it.
  3. What distinguishes a good trader?
    I look at mental firmness – motivation, self-confidence, concentration, composure and resilience. It is important to know why you want to be a trader; whether he believes in himself, even when things go wrong; if he can concentrate on work when he is stressed and whether he is able to overcome his disappointments.
  4. You have set up your own commercial academy, is there a reason to do this instead of managing a hedge fund?
    The Commercial Academy is not my main job, the hedge fund is. I am 100% dedicated to it. The Academy of Commerce is almost like a mission for me. I want to help people take care of their own financial future and demystify the world of finance.
  5. What three pieces of advice would you give to a potential trader now?
    I will quote Larry Height: “I have two basic rules for winning in trade, as well as in life: If you don’t bet, you can’t win. If you lose all your chips, you can’t bet. ” So take a risk, but never so much that you can’t lose everything. I would add that you never make decisions based only on technical characteristics.

 Junior Trader Daniel Dimitrov


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