From the August 01, 2010 issue of Futures Magazine • Subscribe!

Ross: White Indian and rubber chickens

When Robb Ross was 19, stock his grandfather gave him in his energy company doubled on a rumor. Ross sold it near the top before it returned to its previous level. Being the only family member to cash out, Ross learned something from that episode, and it started a passion in him that eventually would lead to the creation of his commodity trading advisor, White Indian Trading Company.

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The name is not just catchy; Ross is one sixteenth Chickasaw and spent time in India as a missionary in college.

While that first trade created a passion for trading and figuring out markets, Ross’s journey to building a trading business has been pretty eclectic. In addition to missionary work, Ross had two stints working for Microsoft helping others build and test their trading systems, worked as a consultant mainly in computer programming and also as a stand-up comic. The last part he acknowledges is a hobby, but it is unmistakable when speaking to him.

“I came to a point in my life where I had to have a mid-life crisis and instead of getting a little red car or a little redhead, which my wife would not have appreciated, I decided to do standup comedy,” Ross deadpans.

He spews one liners while describing his strategy. On his education, he says, “I graduated in three terms: Reagan, Bush and Clinton.”

But he takes his trading seriously, as his 18.54% compound annual return in his medium- term Stairs trading program attests to. Those returns are proprietary as his first customer was a family member, but his strategy returned 17.02% in 2009 and is up 4% through June in 2010.

Ross got married and had a family while still in college, so he needed to work and not simply trade. He eventually got a degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Texas and went to work for Microsoft.

He worked in the excel visual basic division and later at the dot net division. Because of his understanding of trading, his bosses often paired him up with trading-related clients.

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