A Pioneer of Computerized Trading
Joe Ritchie, whose full name was Joseph Ritchie, was a legendary trader and entrepreneur who revolutionized the field of computerized trading. He was born on January 1, 1947, in Detroit, Michigan, and graduated from Wheaton College in Illinois with a degree in philosophy. He started his career as a bus driver, a jail guard, and a programmer, before becoming a trader at the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) in 1976. He was one of the first to use the Black-Scholes formula, a mathematical model for pricing options, on a handheld calculator, giving him an edge over other traders. He later moved to the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), where he traded futures contracts.
In 1977, he founded Chicago Research and Trading (CRT), an options and futures trading firm that employed sophisticated computer-driven trading strategies. CRT was one of the most successful and innovative firms in the industry, earning hundreds of millions of dollars in profits and expanding to other markets and countries. Ritchie sold CRT to NationsBank in 1993 for $225 million, and remained as its chairman until 1995.
A Diversified and Philanthropic Entrepreneur
After leaving CRT, Ritchie pursued various business and philanthropic ventures, using his wealth and expertise to make a positive impact on the world. He founded Fox River Partners, a private investment firm that focused on emerging markets, technology, and energy. He also invested in and advised several startups, such as E-Trade, Orbitz, and Tesla. He was a supporter of education, science, and innovation, donating to institutions such as Wheaton College, the University of Chicago, and the Illinois Institute of Technology. He was also involved in humanitarian and environmental causes, such as providing clean water, fighting malaria, and promoting renewable energy.
One of his most notable projects was his involvement in Afghanistan, where he helped rebuild the country’s economy and infrastructure after the fall of the Taliban. He established the Afghan Currency Exchange, which stabilized the currency and reduced inflation. He also created the Afghan Wireless Communication Company, which provided mobile phone and internet services to millions of Afghans. He also supported the Afghan government, the Afghan National Army, and the Afghan people, by providing jobs, training, security, and humanitarian aid.
A Tragic and Natural Death
Ritchie died on February 22, 2022, at the age of 75, following an illness.His death shocked and saddened his family, friends, colleagues, and admirers, who remembered him as a brilliant, generous, and visionary leader. He is survived by his wife, Sharon, his ten children, and his 25 grandchildren. A funeral service was held on February 28, 2022, at the Wheaton Bible Church in Illinois.
A Lasting Legacy and Influence
Ritchie leaves behind a legacy of creativity and kindness, as one of the most influential and respected traders and entrepreneurs of his generation. He was a pioneer of computerized trading, who used his skills and technology to create value and efficiency in the markets. He was also a diversified and philanthropic entrepreneur, who used his wealth and influence to make a difference in the world. He was a loving husband, father, and grandfather, who touched many hearts and lives with his generosity and warmth. Ritchie will be dearly missed by his loved ones and admirers, but his work and spirit will live on forever.