Book of the week: Lessons for currency traders

Cover of Currency KingsCurrency Kings: How Billionaire Traders Made Their Fortune Trading Forex and How You Can Too
by Ben Robson
Published by McGraw-Hill Education, £31.99
(Buy at Amazon)

The foreign-exchange (currency) markets are a favourite playground of traders and spread bettors because they are large, liquid and – with the aid of leverage (borrowed money) – you can produce large returns from small movements in price. In Currency Kings, former City trader Ben Robson looks at the careers of six trading legends – George Soros, John Henry, Urs Schwarzenbach, Jim Simons, Peter Cruddas and Renat Fatkhullin – and lists the lessons ordinary investors can learn from their experiences.

The chapters on Soros and Henry are probably the most useful. Robson does a good job of discussing fund managers and traders, such as Jim Rogers, Stanley Druckenmiller and Victor Niederhoffer, who all contributed to the success of Soros’s Quantum Fund. Similarly, much of the chapter on Henry focuses on the strategy of trend following in general, with a look at the many other traders who made their fortunes in a similar way, such as Richard Dennis.

Sadly, the chapters on the other investors aren’t as useful. Simons’ success was built on proprietary trading models, while Schwarzenbach and Fatkhullin are really entrepreneurs rather than traders. Still, there is a lot of useful information in the book, and Robson does a good job of explaining some relatively complicated areas of options trading. Although not an investment classic, it is still a worthwhile read.