My three biggest passions in life are my job, my helicopter and my philanthropic work. So 12 months ago I decided to try and combine all three and use these passions to help others. The result was something incredible that had never been done before and this year we're going to do it all over again. Welcome to the Flying Trader.
Last summer I took to the skies above London and the City - the heart of the world's financial district - in my helicopter and began to trade the foreign exchange markets live from 1,000 feet. I've traded all over the world and flown my helicopter many times, but combining the two was a completely new experience and one I won't forget, and am excited to do again this year.
Using my laptop and a live video feed, I called down my positions and moves to my team and clients on the ground, around 500 people around the world, and together we traded the currency markets. In the process we raised over £150,000 for charity; this year we intend to raise £250,000.
The day worked largely in part to our broker ETX Capital, who donated all their brokerage profits to the Knowledge to Action Foundation - a charitable organisation I set up with my girlfriend Katherine Scott two years ago.
Last Christmas Katherine and I saw first hand how the money helped the charities we chose to support; Barnardo's and Ubuntu Education Fund in South Africa. Ubuntu used the money raised to help launch their Early Childhood Development Programme (ECD), a project aimed at enabling South African children under five to enter primary schools with the same skills as their peers in London and New York.
The ECD launched in February 2012 and has already given almost 50 children the opportunity to be involved with reading, writing, singing, art, movement and story-time, three days per week.
This year we will also be working with Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Unite and Pride 'n Purpose charities, helping disadvantaged communities around South Africa's Sabi Sand Reserve, and improving their access to food, water, health and education services.
In partnership with these charities, the money raised through the days will go towards building a new crèche in one of the rural villages just outside Ulusaba; the goal being to complete the new school by the end of the year.
In 2011 Katherine and I established the Knowledge to Action Foundation to help improve the quality of life for disadvantaged children around the world, both home and abroad. For the last year we have organised a variety of events raising money to support the Foundation and the Flying Trader is the pinnacle in the fundraising process. This year there will be six Flying Trader events throughout summer, starting on April 26th, as we look to raise as much money as possible.
Proceeds raised will be tracked daily on the Flying Trader website barometer and participants will be able to follow stories online of how the money helps each charity's chosen project. Go to www.theflyingtrader.org to join in and trade with us or just to watch as I trade from the skies above London as the Flying Trader.