The Ninth-Grader as Hedge Fund Manager

While I have trouble buying this is as a trend, I still find this WSJ story on the financial sophistication of some young people a bit jaw-dropping. It may not supplant Bear Stearns CDO troubles in the public consciousness, but the idea of 14-year-old hedge fund managers is out-there stuff.

His room is covered in papers and corporate reports. A series of clocks on his walls show the time in New York, Moscow, London and Tokyo so he can keep track of when foreign markets open. His younger siblings, Christopher, 6, and sister Joralyssa, 9, speak in ticker symbols at times, referring to McDonald’s as “MCD.” They’ve picked up the abbreviations from hearing Brandon talk and from being exposed to the constant chatter on CNBC.

…His mother, Judith, a computer programmer who home schools Brandon, doesn’t mind his running an investment company out of their home. But she worries about him investing so much money, and about his frustration at things that don’t normally frustrate a teenager, such as his inability to take a six-hour Series 7 exam for would-be securities traders. (You have to be working at an NASD member firm to take the test.) After finding him following Asian markets on financial TV networks at 4 a.m., she told him to get some sleep.

“I’m terrified, I have to say, as a mom,” says Ms. Conley.


  1. If she’s “terrified” she could try “parenting”.
    Couldn’t he take the Series 3 to tide him over (you used to be able to take that one w/o sponsorship)? Of course, the exam fees would cut into the $5,000 he has under managmement :)
    I prefer the 14-year-old-goes-to-college stories, but I guess this is where we are in the cycle…

  2. jabba the mutt says:

    Maybe I’m cynical, but this guy almost seems like the JT Leroy of the financial markets. This seems like a hoax.

  3. @jabba — I bet this is not an (outright) hoax. The numbers would have been omitted or fudged if so, and you can’t include the bit about hiring a trader and an “IT manager” with a straight face!
    The irony is sweet — this story appears in the WSJ, not the NY Post, and one wonders if the former is trying out the latter’s editorial style pre-takeover :)

  4. Oh give me a break…haven’t you seen how pathetic saturday WSJ becomes?
    This is just a filler — no different from the main page story of Indian lower castes emerging in the new economy…

  5. Mildly impressed. Thats pretty scary actually – that I’m mildly impressed.

  6. In the age of Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair, it will be crazy for the WSJ to not check through every part of this story. Now, I am feeling the same terrified thoughts as the mom. Too young. Too soon. Too dangerous & risky. Just my 2 cents.