The Famous Turtle Trading Program

In the middle of 1983, two established traders, Richard Dennis and William Eckhardt had a discussion over what type of person could learn to trade.

Dennis believed that he could teach people to become great traders. Eckhardt thought genetics were the determining factor.

In order to settle the matter, Dennis suggested that they recruit and train some traders and give them actual accounts to trade to see which one of them was correct.

They took out a large ad advertising positions for trading apprentices in Barron’s, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. The ad stated that after a brief training session, the trainees would be supplied with an account to trade.

This group was invited to Chicago and trained for two weeks at the end of December, 1983. They began trading small accounts at the beginning of January. After they proved themselves, Dennis funded most of the trainees with $1 million in February.

“The students were called the ‘Turtles.’ (Mr. Dennis, who says he had just returned from Asia when he started the program, explains that he described it to someone by saying, ‘We are going to grow traders just like they grow turtles in Singapore.’)” – Stanley W. Angrist, Wall Street Journal 09/05/1989

The Turtles became the most famous experiment in trading history because over the next four years, they earned an aggregate sum of over $100 million dollars.

Richard Dennis proved that with a simple set of rules, he could take people with little or no trading experience and make them excellent traders.

First of all, this inspired a well-known and very popular movie starring Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd and Jamie Lee Curtis, which most people have seen, and consider a classic. Here’s the trailer:

Trading Places movie trailer

Next, finding information on the Turtle systems has often proven to be quite difficult- one of the traders, Curtis Faith published a book on it, and another author Michael Covel released a well-known researched book on it. They can be found here:

Way of the Turtle: The Secret Methods that Turned Ordinary People into Legendary Traders Hardcover
by Curtis Faith (Author) 

The Complete TurtleTrader: How 23 Novice Investors Became Overnight Millionaires
by Michael W. Covel (Author)

The system was of course, a trend-trading system, based on very specific signals- the books are a great read, and source of inspiration for new trades, and not that out-dated.

A fellow London trader and writer for the Huffington Post, Zaheer, wrote a brief article with more information on the system, since his mentor was trained by one of the original Turtles.

It’s worth a read- you can find the link here:

Zaheer AnwariFOREX, Futures and Stocks Trader

The Turtle Traders

The Bet

“We’re going to raise traders like they raise turtles in Singapore.” That is what one of the world’s famous commodities speculators, Richard Dennis, said to his good friend William Eckhardt, an equally successful trader. Back in 1983…

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