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UK trader becomes an Internet sensation

By Jim Boulden, CNN
updated 12:43 PM EDT, Thu September 29, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Alessio Rastani said he went to "bed every night dreaming of a recession"
  • His remarks made him an Internet sensation
  • Rastani is an amateur trader who says he uses his own money and has clients
  • He believes people want to stop him talking about a coming financial storm

London (CNN) -- Alessio Rastani went on a UK news channel on Monday to discuss where stock markets were heading. By Tuesday he was an Internet sensation.

Was it that he said, as someone who bets against markets rising, that he "goes to bed every night dreaming of a recession?" Was it that he said investment bank Goldman Sachs ruled the world and not governments? Or was it that bloggers started to ask if he was just a "fake trader" who duped the media?

Take your pick. But Rastani caused a stir by saying what many people think those in the markets think anyway -- it's OK to make money out of falling markets and there is no reason not to prepare for that.

He certainly thinks the markets will crash again and people should be prepared for that, and that the average person should take steps now to protect their assets, or be prepared to lose their investments.

There is nothing wrong with giving that kind of advice, if that is what you think will happen. It's just unlikely you would hear that from an established player from a bank that is looking for clients.

Somebody out there doesn't want my voice to be heard and they want to attack me and damage me
Alessio Rastani

Still, it was worth hearing more from Rastani and to find out if he really believes what he said, if he understood the stir around him and whether he is in fact a trader.

CNN brought him in, and I asked him all that.

Firstly, Rastani is an amateur trader using his own money (as a "hobby", he has told other media) and he's not registered with the Financial Services Authority to trade other people's money. He doesn't claim otherwise, but there was a feeling after his first interview that he was some sort of suit from the City or Wall Street giving sage advice to his clients.

He does or can have other clients though. His website calls him a speaker and trainer of others who want to trade.

In my interview, Rastani said he does trade being prepared for a recession, but that as a "human being you don't want it. As a trader you think differently. You're going to have volatile... conditions to make money in that market."

He also said he was a religious man. He was also clearly nervous about the whole affair and was undecided for an hour to whether he should actually sit on our set for the interview. He said no a few times, before we sat down.

"The question is, why are they paying attention to this?" he asked. "In my opinion somebody out there doesn't want my voice to be heard and they want to attack me and damage me."

He talked of the 'Big Boys' being desperate to keep people like him from talking about the coming economic storm.

He admits there may be a book in the works, but one that focuses on traders whom he admires.

When I asked him if he was for real, he said he would not say things about the markets he did not truly believe. When I asked him if he is a member of the so-called "Yes-Men" who have faked TV interviews in the past, he would not say yes or no. "Let people believe what they want to," he said.

To my mind, he should have been touted up front as a guy who has strong opinions on the markets, but certainly not as a 'trader' or "investment adviser" in the classic sense. That does not make his view any more or less valid but, with that preamble, I don't think it would have gone viral.

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