Magazine Sep/Oct 2012 Where Pit Smarts Meet Street Smarts

01 September 2012, 12:00
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Where Pit Smarts Meet Street Smarts

Jack Bouroudjian, a Political Science major at Chicago’s Loyola University, had his heart set on becoming a lawyer. However, one afternoon, advice from a legendary trader changed the course of this young man’s life – who in a matter of time – became a legend in his own right.

Jack Bouroudjian’s lifelong love affair with the market was sparked one fateful afternoon when he accompanied a friend who was visiting his godfather, the legendary trader and one of the wealthiest men in Chicago, Ralph Peters. His friend planned on asking Peters for a job, and Jack was there to keep him company. As he stood unsuspectingly next to his friend, Peters asked Jack what his plans were, and upon hearing his reply wasn’t particularly impressed with Jack’s legal ambitions. Peters voiced, “Don’t even bother – get in the market. It’s the most overpaid profession in the world.” Being a man who recognizes a good thing when he hears it, Bouroudjian was intrigued.


Doing some research sparked his interest even further, and Jack decided that Peter’s advice was well-worth taking. He began working as a runner on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for $68 a week as he continued his studies in the evening. When his parents moved to California, Jack stayed in Chicago, lived on campus and launched his career. He became infatuated with the market and decided to learn everything about it. He confessed, “Once you get it in your blood, it’s very difficult to do anything else. Getting involved was very easy and gave me an interesting Chicago perspective to trading. They say that in Chicago you trade anything that moves.”


With hard work and determination he moved through the ranks, eventually serving as senior vice president of Equity Futures for Nikko Securities, the secondlargest securities firm in Japan and Credit Agricole Futures, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Credit Agricole, the 17th largest bank in the world. Bouroudjian was also president of Commerz Futures, a subsidiary of Commerz Bank in Chicago, the fourth largest bank in Germany.


From 1996-2002 he acted as chairman and co-chairman of several educational product and regulatory committees; at the same time he sat on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Board of Directors. During his term he was also involved in launching many of the CME Group’s most successful products. Currently, Jack Bouroudjian is chairman of Bull & Bear Partners, a financial services holding company based in Chicago. He is the host of the syndicated program The Jack B. Show, which has over 150,000 listeners. In addition, Bouroudjian is a regular commentator on CNBC, author of Secrets of the Trading Pros and a columnist for Townhall Finance. In August, Bouroudjian started doing Market Update, a video feature on Open Markets for the CME Group, where he provides video commentary on the stories and ideas that most impact capital markets and the economy.


Being raised during the Reagan era, he admits that he is prone to seeing the world through rose-colored lenses, and he always sees opportunity. Bouroudjian describes his market outlook as being a “PermaBull,” because he remains optimistic and seeks to recognize opportunity, while others may be caught up in daily motions. Bouroudjian mentions that he had the great fortune of being mentored by individuals such as Bing Sung, the manager of the Harvard Endowment Fund, whom he met during the years he spent trading on the floor of the Exchange. One of the most important lessons he learned from Sung is “ the idea of stepping back and looking at the market from 30,000 feet instead of being down there caught in the noise of it all, which helps and gives an objective view of things, especially when you get caught up in the emotions of the market. Thus you always see the opportunity at hand.”


Leo Melamed, a financial visionary known as the Father of Financial Futures was another source of inspiration for Bouroudjian. Melamed was the former chairman of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, board member of the CME Group and its chairman. Sitting on the board for seven years next to Melamed taught Bouroudjian more than he could have learned from anyone else. Serving together on the strategic planning executive committee, Melamed and Bouroudjian were the driving force behind the success of the Chicago Exchange. They were both tasked with the planning and execution of the exchanges IPO spearheading the Exchange’s transformation, making it one of the world’s most significant financial exchanges. In addition, Bouroudjian served as the executive committee chairman of the Equity Index Committee. He can also be credited with the successful launch of the very controversial and, at the time, politically scrutinized launch of the E-mini contracts traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchanges Global electronic trading platform.

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