Joseph J. Ritchie (1947-2022) was a listed derivatives trader, proprietary trading firm entrepreneur and foreign policy and investment advocate who founded Chicago Research and Trading (CRT), one of the most innovative and copied options proprietary trading firms. Ritchie passed away in February of 2022.
Ritchie was a serial entrepreneur and was founder of Fox River Financial Resources Inc. which focuses on investing in hedge funds, venture capital funds, real estate, and proprietary trading strategies. After selling CRT, he founded JV Dialog, which spawned dozens of additional companies in the former Soviet Union.
Ritchie's mother was a homemaker and father was a civil engineer and minister who worked in Afghanistan for four years when Ritchie was a boy. Home was Reedsport, Oregon. Ritchie moved to Illinois to attend Wheaton College and study philosophy. Richie started work as a bus driver for the Chicago Transit Authority and a guard a Cook County Jail, then became a computer programmer Arthur Anderson. It was then he met Steve Fossett.
He took a job on the floor of the Chicago Board Options Exchange in 1976, but stayed only two month. During that time though he programmed the Black-Scholes formula into his Texas instrument calculator, a device he gifted to Steve Fossett when Ritchie moved over to the Chicago Board of Trade.
Ritchie began trading silver at the CBOT, arbitraging the futures against physical silver supplies.
He founded Fox River Partner in 1993 and later served as an advisor to the firm a was a member of its investment committee.
Ritchie was also the pilot, with Fossett the co-pilot, on a record breaking return trip to San Diego, CA to Charleston, SC after Fossett has set a record when he first flew the first let in his Cessna Citation X jet in a non-supersonic aircraft record of less than three hours at an average speed of 726.8 miles per hour.
In 1989, Ritchie pledge $25 million of his own money in a bid to save Eastern Airlines from bankruptcy.
Chicago Research and Trading was originally named Chicago Board Crushers after Ritchie moved from silver arbitrage to trading the soybean crush at the CBOT. The firm was then renamed Chicago Research and Trading and more widely known as CRT. CRT started with an investment of $100,000 in 1977.
Ritchie developed a slide rule for soy products that had different prices for soybeans, soybean oil and soybean meal on them that would show quickly calculate the different relationships, giving him an advantage over other traders.
CRT was one of the first firms to deploy a team approach to trading rather than a single trader fending for themselves. It as known for sharing responsibility and the profits.
It also was a pioneer in computer-driven trading strategies, using computers to give up to date pricing data to its traders rather than paper sheets other traders used that were updated a couple times during the trading day.
Ritchie held a bachelor of arts in philosophy degree from Wheaton College.
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