William Eckhardt (trader)

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William Eckhardt is a commodities and futures trader and fund manager. He began trading in 1974 after four years of doctoral research at the University of Chicago in mathematical logic.

Education[edit]

Eckhardt never finished his PhD in mathematics, claiming that he left graduate school for the trading pits after an unexpected change of thesis advisors. Despite leaving academia prematurely, Eckhardt has published several papers in academic journals. In 1993, Eckhardt's article "Probability Theory and the Doomsday Argument" was published in the philosophical journal Mind. His follow-up article, "A Shooting-Room view of Doomsday" was published in The Journal of Philosophy in 1997. Both articles make arguments skeptical of the Doomsday Argument as formulated by John Leslie. In 2006, he published "Causal time asymmetry" in the journal Studies In History and Philosophy of Modern Physics.

Career[edit]

In 1991 he founded Eckhardt Trading Company ("ETC"): an alternative investment management firm, specializing in the trading of global financial futures and commodities, which manages over $1 billion in managed accounts, domestic and offshore products. The firm's international clientele includes "fund of funds", corporate, private, and institutional investors.

Having a strong analytical and mathematical background, Eckhardt believes that the correct application of statistics and mathematical concepts is key for successful trading.[1] However, he highlights the difficulties in using these concepts, mentioning that "the analysis of commodity markets is prone to pitfalls in statistical inference, and if one uses these tools without having a good foundational understanding, it’s easy to get in trouble".

Prior to founding ETC, Eckhardt was also involved in the Turtle Trading experiment,[2] set up by partner, friend and fellow trader Richard Dennis. The goal of that experiment was to settle a philosophical disagreement between the two partners, to determine whether the skills of a successful trader could be reduced to a set of rules (i.e. can trading be taught?). The experience was overwhelmingly successful with novice traders ending up making $100 million. Eckhardt, who believed trading could not be taught, had effectively lost his bet with Dennis.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • Eckhardt, William. (2006). "Causal time asymmetry". Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 37 (3): 439–466. doi:10.1016/j.shpsb.2006.04.001. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Schwager, Jack D. (1995). The New Market Wizards. 20 pages: Wiley; New Ed edition.