Hit the Spot: How to tame the currency market

December 31, 2010 06:00 PM

“Hit the Spot: How to tame the currency market”
By: Reggie Henkart
Family Freedom, 2007-2010

The author of this small book is a professional photographer and promoter of a “nutritional cleansing” product that he claims made him a millionaire. Reggie Henkart’s self-description at LinkedIn says he is self-employed in the “health, wellness and fitness industry.” He lists himself as a CTA, but his name doesn’t come up on the NFA database as a registered CTA.

A talented hobbyist who trades FX can still have something valuable to say, even if he did have to publish his book himself. Nothing wrong with self-publishing — Mark Twain did it. But Henkart says he is more than an amateur — he reports that he ran a FX brokerage house out of Hong Kong in the 1980s that attracted a CFTC charge of impropriety, although fraud was not alleged. Henkart’s brokerage won the case on the Treasury Rule (spot FX is exempt). However, in Foreign Currency Trading—From the Fundamentals to the Fine Points, author Russell Wasendorf points out in a chapter entitled “Buyer Beware—Be Very Aware” that the contract Henkart was offering was a blend of futures and spot characteristics, and traded on prices shown only in Hong Kong.

Trading is a negative sum game where for every winner there is a loser, and both must pay their brokers. To restrict oneself to this curiously blended Hong Kong contract when the currency and currency futures markets are open 24 hours a day would seem to increase the probability of losses on liquidity grounds alone.

“Hit the Spot” names several of the usual technical tools, including candlesticks, MACD (with Fibonacci numbers replacing the standard parameter set) and stochastics, but moves quickly to promoting Advanced GET (from eSignal), VantagePoint and TraderPlanet. Henkart also promotes three advisors and a few favored brokers, some with their own dedicated pages complete with photos. In fact, only about half of the book was written by Henkart himself. The rest was contributed by experts, including an options section. Ten percent of the book is by Adrienne Toghraie, who does have important and valid things to say about taking losses. The author also adds a smattering of regulatory material and a word or two about money management.

Henkart advises that you should trade only with money you can afford to lose. This implies that one’s quest for proficiency and profits trading FX is doomed. If that were true, what is the purpose of the book? The author also says you can succeed in FX trading by spending just fifteen minutes per week. Anyone who has begun to learn a craft, profession or trade will disagree. Proficiency is not achieved investing only fifteen minutes per week of effort in any endeavor. Who is the audience for this book? Someone hoping to get rich quick. At $49.95 for this book, the only person who has a prayer of getting rich quick is the author.

About the Author
Desmond MacRae is a New-York-based free-lance writer specializing in institutional banking, finance and investments.