Mohammed Islam, a 17-year -old senior at Stuyvesant High School in Queens, has reportedly already earned over $72 million trading stocks, according to Laura Italiano of The New York Post – the story has been picked up by several media outlets since the news broke. It should be noted that it is unclear whether The Post or any other outlets have been able to verify the numbers.
The teenage trader has been dabbling in penny stocks since he was nine, but just got serious about it over the last few years. “Mo” credits Paul Tudor Jones for most of his success. Islam plans to go to college, but is planning to start a hedge find with a couple of friends ad soon as he turns 18 in June and can get his broker-dealer license.
Teenage trader living large
“What makes the world go round?” Islam said rhetorically in a recent interview with New York Magazine, explaining why he likes trading and investment over startups. “Money. If money is not flowing, if businesses don’t keep going, there’s no innovation, no products, no investments, no growth, no jobs.”
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Islam is a quiet sort for the most part, but he is learning to appreciate the finer things in life. For starters, he bought himself a BMW even though doesn’t have a license to drive it. He also rented a Manhattan apartment, although his parents, immigrants from the Bengal in South Asia, won’t let him move out of the house until he graduates high school.
Islam and his friends do help support the consumer economy in New York City, as they dress in expensive clothes and eat regularly at hot spot Morimoto, where they typically indulge in $400 caviar and fresh-squeezed apple juice.
Credits Paul Tudor Jones for inspiration
It turns out Paul Tudor Jones, the billionaire hedge-fund manager, is Islam’s greatest inspiration.
Early in his career, Jones would jump back into trading again and again, even after big losses. This was a lesson Islam took to heart, given that at age 9, he lost a chunk of the money he’d made tutoring in penny stocks. Islam said he swore off trading, realizing that “I didn’t have the balls for it.”
Over the next few years the teen age trader turned to studying modern finance, and read everything he could get his hands on, including the books of the now 60-year-old Jones. “I had been paralyzed by my loss,” Islam said, reflecting on his 9-year-old self.
“But [Jones] was able to go back to it, even after losing thousands of dollars over and over,” he said, which gave him the confidence he could do the same.
Mo says he hopes to have one billion under management by “next year” (it is unclear whether that refers to 2015 or 2016). While we wish Mo the best, the story brings back memories of 1999.