The WTSUG meeting on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 was held from 7:00pm to 8:30pm at Potomac Library of Montgomery County, 10101 Glenolden Drive, Potomac, MD 20854.


7:00pm – 7:15pm          Introductions and Opening

The group will give brief introductions to the group for any new attendees. Time will be made available for dealing with membership dues and any other minor administration items, but not to exceed 15 minutes in total.

7:15pm –                          Live Remote Presentation: Traders’ Toolbox
Jan Arps

Jan Arps literally learned to trade at his father’s knee, drawing stock charts by hand for his engineer father, who was a Technical Trader. As a kid, Jan’s neat hand made the daily entries on his father’s charts. He learned to use a slide rule in grade 6. He soon became a whiz on Dad’s Frieden mechanical calculator. Pop traded up to an electronic model Frieden in 1958 ($3600 in 1958 = $48,000 in 1998). We’re talking about a serious trader!

The rest of Jan’s story is testimony to a life-long career as an early adapter, applying complex mathematical concepts to markets…..A career uniquely structured to take ongoing advantage of the explosion in computer power and its impact on making money for traders. When Jan graduated from high school, Caltech and MIT were the two top engineering schools in the USA. They remain 1 and 2 today. Jan was accepted by both and chose Caltech. He financed his tuition with trading profits. He graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree and was recruited by Shell Oil Company to prospect for oil in the Louisiana Oil Patch. After 3 years of on-the-job experience, he took off his hard hat, applied for and was accepted into the Harvard MBA program.

One of his final year MBA courses at Harvard was “Management of New Enterprises”. A course requirement was the creation of a business plan for a specific new venture. Jan authored a plan for an oilfield service business providing real-time sub-surface telemetry analysis to drillers assessing potential pay zones.

Upon graduation he opted not to enter Corporate America as an anointed Harvard MBA but went out and found the financing to execute his “term paper” business plan. Arps Corporation grew to a multi-million dollar business that was ultimately acquired by the Baroid Division of National Lead. (Today the subsurface telemetry business has mushroomed into a 3 billion dollar industry.)

Jan had always wanted to trade full-time. Now he had “size” trading capital. From the late 60’s through the 70’s, Jan was a combination Trader and Venture Capitalist, specializing in the technology sector.

The organized option markets of today did not exist then. He became on of a handful of option writers in the USA. He responded to the needs of large brokerage firms, whose clients pioneered using puts and calls as part of sophisticated hedging strategies. Black-Scholes didn’t exist then — it was every man for himself. Writing options is not for the meek; ask Victor Niederhoffer.

During this time, Jan discovered the futures markets and acquired his first Apple II personal computer. He began converting his own trading strategies to PC software. He traded his way through the 80’s, focusing on the futures markets while managing other technology investments.

In the mid 1980’s, Microsoft Windows was beginning its reign. By 1991, newly designed trading platforms, known as trading assistants, were beginning to open the world of Windows-based intraday trading to individuals. Now individual traders could compete with the pros on a relatively level playing field. By 1992 Jan had left behind his technology investments to concentrate on trading and converting his own trading ideas and those of others into systems and indicators that exploited the many features of these platforms.

Today, Jan has clients around the world who ask him to convert sophisticated trading concepts into trading solutions. In addition to having created an impressive array of original trading studies, he has also translated published concepts of many great traders. Jan offers a library of hundreds of studies to traders worldwide through his company, Jan Arps’ Traders’ Toolbox.