These are external links and will open in a new window. With the economy stuck in the doldrums and unemployment high, adverts claiming to be able to teach people how to make their fortunes are becoming more common. But some who take the courses are left disappointed by their experience. Phil Kemp investigates one of the largest providers. We are gathered in the conference suite of an exclusive hotel in London's Knightsbridge for a free foreign exchange trading seminar, and our guide tells us he will let us in on some of the secrets of how he made all his money.
It claims to be one of the largest international brands providing education in foreign exchange and stock market trading, training more than , people in the last eight years. A colleague and I have come to see the presentation because we have heard complaints from some course 'graduates' about its high cost and the sort of training they received. After a brief introduction to the 'dos and 'don'ts' of foreign exchange trading, it soon becomes apparent that the two hour talk we have attended is not going to be enough.
But we would-be traders will be learning the tricks of the trade from the people who, we are told, are some of Knowledge to Action's top earners. Away from the hard-sell of the seminar, we tracked down a former employee and asked him about how experienced some of the trainers were.
What does Knowledge to Action have to say to that? Former trainer John says he was introduced by the company to clients as an 'advanced trading mentor' but that he was actually contracted as a 'sales consultant'. Very high targets are set," John said. Knowledge to Action say they wouldn't comment on the specifics of any sales targets but they say they're very common to the vast majority of businesses. He asked us not to use his real name because he doesn't want people to know what has happened to him.
He used the money to take the Unlimited Wealth course at Knowledge to Action's training centre in London. So there was the panic about: Knowledge to Action say they have many examples of successful clients, but that to be successful does require effort and discipline over time. They say an overwhelmingly large number of their graduates have had a very positive and enriching experience.
One such satisfied customer is accountant David Fisher, who has been trading for nearly a year after completing one of KTA's foreign exchange courses. He will not say how much money he has made as a trader so far. By now those of us at the seminar are developing a different attitude to making money and just how easy it could be.
There was also a video of him trading from a helicopter high above London as part of a charity event, for no apparent reason. Trading expert Justin Urquhart Stewart, director of Seven Investment Management says betting on movements in foreign exchange rates is notoriously volatile.
This is very risky electronic roulette and you can get caught out in seconds. According to its website, the Mr was appointed a vice president of the financial services company, Mellon Financial Corp by the age of 25, where he worked around some of the very best traders in the world.
But the bank, now known as BNY Mellon, told the BBC that, while Mr Secker had been a vice president there, he had actually worked in their IT department in foreign exchange operations, reporting to a senior manager there. Once more, Knowledge to Action told us we had been jumping to conclusions. Towards the end of the presentation in Knightsbridge, the would-be traders are shown a montage of photos of our young host at various glamorous locations around the world.
In one, he is seen soaking in a hot tub with a stunning mountain backdrop; in another he is racing huskies in the Arctic. If I had not seen enough evidence of his wealth, in a quiet moment at the end he points to a rally car parked outside the hotel and tells me it is his.
But on the bus back, I wondered whether any of the lucky six to be offered a place would find themselves any better off after the course. Or whether, like some of the graduates now telling their stories, they might also finish up out of pocket.
You can listen to the full report on 5 live Investigates on Sunday, 14 October at Listen again via the 5 live website or by downloading the 5 live Investigates podcast.
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