Trading in the foreign exchange (Forex) market involves discipline and strategy, and it is only by using these two skills together that some people have been able to amass millions, and even billions, of dollars over the years.
Of course, not everyone makes sky-high profits when they trade and day traders even make a living out of earning little wins multiple times a day.
Lots of traders need more than just discipline and strategy too – they need finance, which is why many use Forex prop firms to get them going on the foreign exchange market. This provides them with substantial funding, which helps to significantly boost any gains they make.
Using this method, traders are far more likely to earn large amounts of money as they are able to buy more in the first place.
However, there are a few traders who have managed to hit the jackpot with their trades, simply by using their strategic gameplay together with risk management skills, being bold enough to buy or sell at just the right time but not too risky that they lose it all.
Here are a few of the most renowned traders in the world.
1) George Soros
George Soros is not only considered the most successful trader in Forex history, but also well-known for having lived a remarkable life.
A Jew in Hungary during World War II, he and his family managed to survive Nazi occupation and even helped others do so too.
At the age of 17, he moved to England to study at the London School of Economics, supporting his education by working as a nightclub waiter and a railway porter.
Less than ten years later, he decided to move to the USA to work in finance, and by 1970, he was able to launch his own hedge fund.
He is now famous for being a billionaire hedge fund manager, with a net worth of over $6.7 billion (£5.35 billion).
However, he has also given more than $32 billion to his philanthropy project, the Open Society Foundations, which helps to fight for justice and equality, freedom of expression and accountable governments across the world.
He made his biggest earnings in 1992 when he famously shorted the pound. This has become one of the most iconic trades of all time, leaving him with a profit of more than £1 billion for a single trade.
Soros managed to do this as he had been building a huge short against sterling for a considerable amount of time.
There had been a period of extreme volatility for the currency, and on Black Wednesday (September 16th 1992), the pound crashed below the lower band of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM), forcing the government to withdraw it.
When the currency plunged to a historic low, Soros came out winning.
Consequently, he is regarded as a very considered trader, who understands the influence of economic news on currency fluctuations. Through analysis of currency pairings, he has been able to continue earning significant amounts of money over the years.
At the age of 93, he remains the 156th richest man in the world, despite having given away huge chunks of his funds over the years.
2) Stanley Druckenmiller
Stanley Druckenmiller is also renowned for being one of the world’s best Forex traders, and unsurprisingly, he worked for George Soros as his chief strategist for the Quantum Fund.
In fact, he had a pivotal role in Soros’ shorting of the pound, which was looked at as breaking the Bank of England when it occurred.
He started off his career at The Pittsburgh National Bank as a management trainee before he began Forex trading.
However, once in the industry, it was not long before he worked his way up and made a name for himself.
He even established Duquesne Capital Management within three years, proving himself to be a very successful trader.
Despite using non-traditional investment strategies, he consistently created substantial returns.
It was clear that he had a set strategy based on analysis and insight, managing to increase profits on trades in a very aggressive style.
This meant he has been able to minimise his losses and maximise his profits over the years, while at the same time he managed to preserve his capital.
Druckenmiller’s net worth is thought to be around $6.2 billion, proving he is still one of the most influential investors in the world at 70 years old.
3) Chris Wheeler
Another hugely successful Forex trader is Chris Wheeler, who achieved the impressive feat of earning $1 million just two months after making his first $25,000 deposit.
The trader, who placed the deposit in July 2011, managed to make himself a millionaire by September of the same year, becoming one of the industry’s best success stories.
Already an experienced trader beforehand, he clearly had a defined strategy and a talent for risk management.
His successful story is often used to inspire traders who are just starting out, as it shows that a comprehensive understanding of the sector and smart decision-making can lead to substantial, life-changing gains.
4) Andrew Kreiger
A trader also known for their aggressive tactics is Andrew Kreiger, who managed to change his fortune through some bold moves.
He started out his financial career at Salomon Brothers, but this was, on all accounts, rather unsuccessful until the mid-80s when he joined the Bankers Trust.
Here, he was given the chance to be bolder and braver with his actions, which led to some big earnings.
For instance, he went short on the New Zealand dollar at an inflated leverage of 400:1 in the 1987 market crash. As a result, he managed to earn a profit of $300 million for the company when the New Zealand dollar eventually crashed.
This helped him set a new record as the highest earning trader on Wall Street.
After this, he became a huge name in Forex trading, and was even asked to work for George Soros’ Quantum Fund in 1988 before launching his own asset management business instead just a year later.
He was even elected to the Trader Hall of Fame in 2005, and proved he was worthy of such an accolade three years later when Kreiger managed to generate more than 75 per cent returns in the 2008 economic crash when everyone else was losing money.
His strategy was riskier than most traders, and he particularly thrived when markets were volatile. He used long trading techniques to secure risk-adjusted returns for his clients, including in 2007 when he managed to secure 300 per cent profits.
5) Paul Tudor Jones
Another risk taker is Paul Tudor Jones, who proved his bold decision making when he gave up a place at Harvard Business School to join the New York Exchange as a commodity trader.
The investor, who was born in 1954, later went on to launch his own investment firm, and managed to earn a profit of 62 per cent even during the financial market crash of 1987.
By having short positions, he accrued a profit of over $100 million, despite the fragile economic conditions at the time.
This secured his reputation on Wall Street, and he was subsequently given the title of chairman of the New York Stock Exchange.
His company, Tudor Investment Corporation, which he set up in 1980, now manages more than $13 billion in assets.
The 69-year-old is currently thought to be worth $8.1 billion, much of which was made through macro trades and using technical analysis of trades. He is thought to focus on factors that drive the markets, as opposed to value investing.
However, he has admitted in the past that he should have taken more of an interest in value investing in technology firms during the ‘90s, as their popularity, and subsequent worth, shot up during this period.
Subsequently, he places 108th in Forbes’ 400 wealthiest people in the USA and is number 299 in the list of the world’s billionaires.
With such wealth, he co-founded the Robin Hood Foundation in the late ‘80s, which was set up to help reduce poverty in New York City.
He has also given $44 million to the University of Virginia, set up a nonprofit organisation called Just Capital, and founded the Bedford Stuyvesant I Have A Dream Foundation, which helps local students get into college.
Although the thought of earning more money than you will ever know what to do with might feel out of reach at the moment, it is important to remember that all these people started off somewhere too.
They might never have imagined they would be able to provide as much financial security to their family as they can now, or start charitable projects to help those in need. However, through making clever and considered decisions in the Forex market, they have been able to do just that.
Just one or two big gains have meant they were financially set up for life, earning the accolade of being among the most successful traders of all time. It has also meant their profits did not just have to be for personal gain, but they could do good with all the money they earned over the years.