Online Trading Academy Teaches Skills Needed to Play the Markets

Originally published in Chicago Daily Herald, April 20, 2007.

A franchise that recently opened in Des Plaines is designed to educate the individual wanting to learn how to invest or trade.

The training facility utilizes the same tools and professional trading techniques used by traders on Wall Street, owners say. Online Trading Academy at 2340 River Road offers courses that teach trading fundamentals, technical analysis and risk management.

“There is a huge number of people with an interest in the markets and trading. It’s a way to build wealth and income,” said Craig Weil, co-owner of the business.

This is the first franchise of its kind in the state and one of a dozen around the world. The company is based in Irvine, Calif.

Weil, a professional trader and an active member of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, operates the franchise with Michael Young and John Henek. Young traded for 25 years on the Chicago Board Options Exchange.

“We are an educational facility. We teach participants how to gauge the markets and give the skills needed to trade,” Weil said.

The Des Plaines school features two classrooms, each with 20 workstations.

“We provide hands-on training to learn the skills,” said Weil, a resident of Highland Park. The most popular course is a seven-day equities class that runs from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. “Students use our capital and trade live in our classroom, using state-of-the-art equipment,” he said.

The business partners saw a need to offer the courses for nonprofessionals as more and more people use their home computers to trade.

“We offer a number of courses for advanced traders, as well,” Weil adds.

Weil, who has been trading for 32 years, sees a major transformation taking place as the number of people working on the major exchanges in Chicago declines.

“We’re trying to help people adapt to the new world of electronic trading. We see that people really need a tremendous amount of help with their skills.”

After the student completes the course, there is ongoing support offered. The graduate has access to weekly Web programs hosted by experts in the industry and can retake the class for free, for life, in any of the 12 worldwide locations. “It’s an ongoing life-time evolution,” he added.

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