Trading Psychopaths

Are stock, derivative and Forex traders psychopaths?  Are they all competitive, high risk taking individuals only interested in their own personal gain… no matter what the consequences for others?  After watching movies like “The Boiler Room” or “The Wolf Of Wallstreet” one is inclined to agree.

Heck, all you need to do is watch the news and see how Wall Street and Big Banks operate and that is enough to make you believe these people are only concerned about themselves and the bottom line… and no-one else.

In this article,, they talk about how psychopaths, or psychopathic behavior, is a major factor in our society as a whole.  So this is not a phenomena that is only happening in the trading world.  Although I do believe it is the nature of trading that tends to bring out psychopathic tendencies in some traders.

Studies Showing Traders A Psychopaths

Over the years, there have even been studies comparing the behavior of stock, derivative and Forex traders as psychopaths.  Even worse, they showed behavior even WORSE than psychopaths!

In this article on Forbes, (, they talk about how traders display similarities to certified psychopaths based on a study performed on 27 traders and 24 certified psychopaths.


The study, authored by MBA students Pascal Scherrer and Thomas Noll, compares decisions made by 27 equity, derivative and forex traders in a computer simulation against an existing study of 24 psychopaths in high-security hospitals in Germany. Not only do the traders match their counterparts, but, as Der Speigel succinctly puts it, the “stockbrokers’ behavior is more reckless and manipulative than that of psychopaths.”

Later on, the author states, “We’ve always known that traders – who thrive in a high stress, high adrenaline environment – are a little bit crazy; Noll and Scherrer’s findings just go further to illustrate that fact”.

The same study is talked about in this article at Investopedia, (

Here is a quote that makes you think:

“The impact of such dysfunctional egocentricity at both individual and societal levels is grave. Such trading is often not even rational. The desire to do in other traders financially and to make money right now, at all costs, ultimately drags everyone down into a financial abyss, including the traders themselves. Furthermore, the profits earned by such rogue traders are generally not even higher than those with ethics and more rationality”.

This brings up an interesting point.

You might think that psychopathic tendencies are a quality trait that successful, profitable traders need.  You might be inclined to believe psychopathic behavior makes for better trading and higher profits.  But that is just not the case. 

The Danger Of Thinking All Traders Are Psychopaths

OK, this was just one small study.  And even though I think it aligns with commonly help beliefs about traders, that does not necessarily make it true.  And of course, all individuals are different, so id definitely does not mean that ALL traders are psychopaths.

The danger of this commonly held belief that traders are psychopaths is it leads to fear and a hesitation to get involved in any type of trading activities.  Most people would not feel comfortable giving their money to a psychopath to trade for them.  And people who don’t feel like they have these psychopathic tendencies might feel like they are ill suited to become good traders.

But the sad truth is, without getting involved in trading of some type, (my favorite is Forex trading), most people are going to run into financial difficulty at some point in their lives.  A lot of people are finding out the hard way their retirement savings is just not enough.  With smart investing through trading could have greatly improved their financial reality.

If you believe traders to be psychopaths, don’t let it keep you from entering the markets and growing wealth over time.  Here are some suggestions:

  1. Don’t give you money to a psychopath to trade.  If you don’t feel comfortable giving your money to someone else to trade for you, because you are worried about what they might do with it, don’t.  You are better off learning how to trade on your own.  (Becoming a trader can be a lot less expensive, and can yield a higher return on investment that other investment methods… if done right).
  2. Become a trader and manage your own money (just not like a psychopath).  If you are one of the one’s thinking it is necessary to have psychopathic tendencies to be a profitable trader and you are not suited… you are probably the perfect person to become a profitable trader.  It is not necessary to be a psychopath to be a highly profitable trader… as a matter of fact, it can be a blessing.

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Are stock, derivative and Forex traders psychopaths?  Are they all competitive, high risk taking individuals only interested in their own personal gain... no matter what the consequences for others?  After watching movies like 'The Boiler Room' or 'The Wolf Of Wallstreet' one is inclined to agree. Heck, all you need...