Million Dollar Traders

by Lisa McGarry

Eight ordinary people are given a million dollars, a fortnight of intensive training and two months to run their own hedge fund, in this new series as part of BBC Two’s City Season. Have they got what it takes to make a fortune, or will the pressure of working in one of the toughest industries be too much to bear?

The series is a unique experiment designed to reveal the inner workings of a city trading floor. Top hedge funder Lex Van Dam has supplied the money – he wants to see if ordinary people can beat the professionals and he expects a return on his investment, too.

In programme one, Lex must choose his traders. Following a rigorous selection process, eight very different characters are picked to go forward and trade Lex’s hard-earned cash, under the supervision of Anton Kreill, a 29-year-old city veteran – and millionaire – who retired two years ago.

The traders are Ohi, a 19-year-old straight-A maths student; Caroline, an entrepreneur and single mum of young twins; Simon, a retired IT expert; Emile, a fight promoter; Sam, an environmentalist; Cleo, a young vet; Mike, a newly retired army major; and Amit, a shopkeeper.

On day one, the hopefuls are up at the crack of dawn, ready at their desks when the markets open at 8am, with the £25k they have each been given to trade in the first week.

But the novices have external forces against them with the global credit crunch beginning to bite – and they quickly realise that the market conditions they’re working in are some of the most volatile for a generation.

Inexperienced and nervous, Mike and Simon try to make the right calls but both lose money, while Cleo’s natural confidence deserts her as she struggles to find the courage to make even a single trade.

As Anton monitors their progress and reports back regularly to boss Lex, it becomes clear that they’re losing money. Lex is not amused. They get a roasting, and they’ve still got six weeks left to go.

Monday 12 January
9.00-10.00pm BBC TWO