October 23, 2010 SO the Australian dollar hits parity and suddenly every Tom, Dick and frigging Harry is a currency expert. It's as if the Aussie dollar hitting the big figure miraculously released a previously absent forex-predicting hormone into the community, a compound that has empowered everyone from the completely unqualified dill to the completely unqualified dill with a financial services licence and some product to sell. All of a sudden, a horde of previously indifferent clients want to know how to trade forex. Financial planners are sagely listing for their clients ways to buy currency exposure through fee-carrying US dollar-based products priced in Australia, products that were seemingly unnecessary when the Aussie was at US99.99¢ but at $US1 are suddenly of grave importance. And the futures market, for the first time in years, has become popular again with the green and innocent and the interest in ASX-listed US dollar-based exchange traded funds, which only ever gain a seasonal popularity in a bull market, is blossoming. And it's the perfect storm for the CFD providers. Their "marche de choice" has always been forex anyway. It allows ''clients'' to trade 24 hours a day, is perfect for amateur charting and has proven itself the single best market for blowing up clients who can dispense of their funds, often with a bottle of red wine on board, while the rest of us sleep. It's a drug, and the parity headlines are the ideal opportunity to market, when everyone has a view, but not everyone the ability to profit from it. It's miraculous. And it's pathetic. Come on everybody, who do you think you are? The idea that you can suddenly speculate in foreign exchange and make money, just because it has hit parity with the US dollar, is ridiculous. What could you possibly know about the future direction of the forex markets? What edge could you or your product-wielding adviser possibly have on the currency trading world? Where could you have got this wisdom from? I'll tell you. You ripped it out of your [email protected]#e, because that's the only place your complete guesswork, seat-of-the-pants, mean reversion, media-fed instinct could have come from. You are making it up, guessing at best, and while everyone is entitled to their opinion, you will experience a random outcome if you allow your new-found wisdom to dictate where you ''gamble'', sorry, ''invest'' your money. I suppose all the professional currency traders that are doing their nuts in the forex markets every day are idiots and you're the guru? Yeah, right. Sorry, but knowing about two moving averages, doji and harami candles, support and resistance and any other titbit you picked up in a one-hour seminar doesn't count. The currency markets are for business, hedging and the professional systems trader. They are a graveyard for the part-time speculator. There is no edge for the mortal man, no matter how many home-study courses and DVDs you buy. It is a market for companies to exchange currency, for businesses to hedge their business, for producers to lock in future outcomes and for the big banks, endowed with their privileged knowledge of currency market action, to punt. That leaves amateur speculation and rogue trading. And unless you are under 17, have attitude, a juiced-up resume (big forex desks expect it), a mole in the back office, an ability to operate beyond your limits, a foolproof method of trading illiquid derivatives and work for a big bank board that wouldn't know a Pip from a Kiwi and a Cable, you'll never make a rogue trader. In which case you're speculating and the only people to make money out of that are the lucky and Nick Leeson's publisher. Marcus Padley.