Like shooting fish in a barrel…

with 4 comments

More information emerged today about self-proclaimed “trader” and financial markets “expert” Alessio Rastani. The Independent reported that Rastani “hosts seminars for The Wealth Training Company”, which claims to offer “The UK’s Number 1 Stock Market Training Course”, and named his boss as Darren Winters. Sure enough, Rastani (and his now-infamous BBC interview) are featured on The Wealth Training Company’s website (and what a slick and professional-looking website it is, too!).

A spot of Google research revealed that The Wealth Training Company isn’t the first company Darren Winters has run that offers stock market training. He previously ran WIN Investing which, as it turns out, has had a few dissatisfied customers in its time and was censured by the Advertising Standards Authority for making unsubstantiated claims in its adverts. It also appears that, despite running a company that claims to be able to teach you how to make money from trading the stock market, Winters has some trouble keeping his own ventures afloat – he was director of a software company that went bankrupt, owing over £250,000 and WIN Investing itself came very close to collapsing in 2009.

Unfortunately, Winters was on a conference call when the Independent phoned The Wealth Training Company’s offices. They spoke, instead, to Winters’ partner (and a co-director of WIN Investing), Tatjana Valujeva who ‘seemed baffled that [Rastani] should be on the BBC at all. “I find it hilarious,” she said. “If you walked around Canary Wharf, every second person you spoke to would be more qualified than Alessio to talk about the financial crisis.“‘

Meanwhile, Robert Peston, the BBC’s Business Editor, who decribed Rastani as a “a must watch, if you want to understand the euro crisis & how markets work“, maintains that, in the interview, Rastani “says what traders say privately to me“.

So, let’s review some of the things Rastani said in the interview:

“Investors and the big money, the smart money… I’m talking about ..the big funds, the hedge funds, the institutions – they don’t buy this rescue plan. They basically know the market is toast. They know the stock market is finished.”

Well, for all its ups and downs, the stock market clearly isn’t “finished”. However, I would love to know how many real, professional traders (and let’s define a “professional trader” as someone who makes their living from trading) have told Robert Peston privately that “the stock market is finished”.

“I go to bed every night, I dream of another recession.”

I’ve worked in the City for over a decade now (including a stint as a trader) and I can honestly say that I have never met anyone who dreamt of a recession. Sure, there’s money to be made in a volatile market but it’s just as easy to lose money. You can make money in a falling market by shorting stocks or moving into government bonds but those are merely trading tactics. A trader’s job is to make money whether the market is rising or falling and I guarantee that pretty much every sane, sensible trader would rather make money off a bull market than a bear market.

When I picture traders sidling up to Peston in bars around the City and Canary Wharf, muttering that they really hope another recession is about to hit, I really struggle with the suspension of disbelief.

“The governments don’t rule the world. Goldman Sachs rules the world.”

Well, this one might have pushed the buttons of a few loony, left-wing conspiracy theorists but, while nobody can deny that the markets collectively wield a lot of power (in the same way that a thousand-strong mob of people wields a lot of power), Goldman Sachs is merely one of thousands of firms that make up those markets. They may have become the focal point for criticism in the aftermath of the Credit Crunch but, in truth, they have no control over the markets and their influence over governments extends only as far as politicians’ willingness to listen to Goldman Sachs’ advice.

But you know what? Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe traders have been quietly telling Robert Peston that Greece’s financial troubles and the turmoil in the eurozone are part of some masterplan set in motion by the evil geniuses at the top of Goldman Sachs.

In which case, why hasn’t Peston reported this to us before now?

Well, rumour has it that Rastani has enlisted Max Clifford to do his PR so, with any luck (and Max’s help), we’ll be able to enjoy laughing at benefit from Alessio Rastani’s risible, ridiculous tripe market insights and wisdom. At least, that is, until the stock market collapses, the world economy plunges into a 1930s-style recession and we wake, one day, to find ourselves enslaved by our new rulers at Goldman Sachs.

Written by jackgavigan

September 28, 2011 at 9:34 pm

4 Responses

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  1. I hate them, i went to their free seminar and have been receiving their annoying emails ever since 2006, even though i unsubscribed from all of them!!


    February 18, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    • is that training with WTC? they are no longer offering anything free its atleast £500 minimum. Are there genuine or a scam? I am interested to know


      May 10, 2013 at 10:10 am

  2. I had a decade of investment experience at a stockbroking house before I went to a free course one night offered by Darren Winters, probably back in the early to mid-2000s. Hence I was in a reasonable position to judge his level of knowledge.

    Apart from making a truly novice blunder of stating how he believed he could make some astronomical percentage trading in the next few years, he covered the basics pretty well, so he at least knew the general gist of what he was talking about. And he outlined a reasonable framework for making investment decisions.

    So for people going along and getting the free information, it was quite a useful night.

    It was of course quite clear to see he was using this as the hook to buy into his investment club, because at the end you could sign up for his course.

    I wondered at the time if he was prepared to wear the other side of it – when you have paying customers and they don’t get the results they were dreaming of. They get pretty angry.

    For instance, markets can be a fickle place and sometimes they don’t play by the rules. And then it turns into a fairly tough old slog getting your money back.

    But not a whole lot of that was mentioned during the evening. Still, I thought, if people have a genuine passion about getting into markets then they will find this out one way or another.

    Plus, I wasn’t overly keen on his buy and sell trading approach to the markets. I’ve long believed the superior approach has been almost certainly proved by the Warren Buffet approach, which was to get intimate with company accounts and sift through those to discover good companies, and then look to buy them in market downturns. At the least that method teaches you how to understand company value creation.

    So I decided not to follow up with his course. But I mentally noted the name and was curious to see how he would turn out. If he was really keen on the markets, then he would probably get good results over the years and the loyal band that stuck with him would benefit.

    Its some years on now, and the father of a friend has just told me he is going to a course by a top trader called Darren Winters. So I decided to google and see what came up.

    Well, I can see more of the same education courses, and more of the same voluntary administrations of companies (I read about something similar back when I first saw him).

    I’m obviously not privy to the inner finances of Darren’s companies, so I can’t make definitive statements. Just that I’m not seeing any success stories about how much money he’s actually made doing trading (as opposed to how much money he’s made via selling education courses).

    I would expect after this time a genuinely good investor would be showing audited records of their trading performance, so that people could actually see how good they are.

    Maybe that’s lying around somewhere. I googled and couldn’t find it. I did find an old 2007 blog that’s got a few posts made roughly at the same time, with some reasonably amateurish comments, and then there’s another 2010 blog with more of the same. I’d have thought that he could afford to do something a bit more serious than those efforts.

    Anyway, just in case someone else is reading this and wondering whether they should be stumping up for Darren’s courses, maybe you could do a bit of additional investment to check up on that audited track record.

    Obviously I can’t comment any further on his abilities without this knowledge, but if he really is good then I can’t see why he wouldn’t publicize that fact.

    Furthermore, if he truly was an excellent trader, and had made a bit of money, and was of the philanthropic nature, then I would wonder about the cost of his courses.

    On top of that, I would expect he would have added knowledge of the difficulty of markets, which would result in more measured expressions of market wizard rhetoric. Trading the markets successfully over time with your own money is a genuinely tough way to make money and typically the good traders downplay their skill but equally point out how tough the markets can be.

    I was hoping that after the several years since I last heard of him he would have established a good track record and show some impressive understanding of financial markets. Having read his blogs, I’ve come away with the view that they’re still a bit naive, which makes me think he doesn’t appear to have spent the last 5 to 10 years greatly improving his knowledge.

    Instead, I have a suspicion that he’s probably offering half baked investment courses, not trading particularly well, but making a nice lifestyle out of the funds from his courses.

    I’d genuinely hate to be wrongly impugning someone’s ability in markets, and in teaching people how to make money in markets. But the simple solution to this case would be to shut up the doubters with some ‘audited’ demonstrative performance.

    Hence I’d recommend look for those results first before anyone donates a sizable amount of their hard-earned cash to Darren Winters.


    July 4, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    • I went to one of his paid (£197.00) courses recently & I agree with the writer above. I would have learned more from a book costing £40.00 & in less time rather than from Darren. Darren only knows some basics in charting, but seemed to struggle to explain in any more depth. He seemed lacking in understanding the fundamentals. Sadly, a number of people fell into the trap & signed up for the so called Apprenticeships costing over £5000.00.

      April 21, 2014 at 6:52 pm

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