Remembering Liz Cheval

March 19, 2013 09:44 AM

 “It is with great sadness that I report to you the passing of Elizabeth Cheval, the Founder and Chairman of EMC Capital Management. Liz was highly regarded by her peers throughout the managed futures community and recognized as one of the leaders of the industry from its earliest stages. She was a very special person and a great friend to many. Our thoughts and prayers are with Liz’s family during this time of mourning.

John Krautsack, Managing Director and 18-year veteran at EMC, has assumed the role of Chairman of the firm. The Executive Committee, which has developed and implemented the current investment strategy, continues to oversee the day-to-day operations of the firm and ensure the execution of its systematic investment program continues as usual.”

EMC Capital website letter from Chairman John Krausack


Elizabeth Cheval, founder and chairman of EMC Capital, died of a brain aneurism on March 9 while in China for business. Liz, as most of us who knew her called her, was a pioneer in the managed futures arena and one of the few women in the business in the early 1980s. She was the only woman who was selected to enter the renowned “Turtle” program, a training boot camp run by legendary traders Rich Dennis and Bill Eckhardt. She also was one of the few turtles to succeed — and thrive — once moving on to start their own firms.  

Liz launched EMC Capital in 1988 after “graduating” from the turtle program. She always was a strong advocate of the managed futures business and loved futures trading.  One time during an interview she told me  that she couldn’t understand why some people gave her money but they only wanted her to trade a small portion of it. It seemed such a waste, she said, and didn’t leverage her talents.  She was one of few commodity trading advisors I knew who was vocal on this issue, and with EMC’s annualized returns since inception at 21%, there was little doubt of her trading prowess.

The sadness upon hearing of Liz’s death went viral across the business where she had deep roots and was largely respected by friends and business associates.

”Liz's laughing, bright-eyed enthusiasm warmed every encounter and reflected her kind and generous spirit,” wrote Tom Shanks, of Hawksbill Capital, a fellow turtle student with Liz who also succeeded after the program ended. “Brilliant and insightful, utterly devoid of pretension, her self-deprecating sense of humor never failed to charm. She will be deeply missed and warmly remembered.”

Many throughout the industry echoed his comments, disbelieving that someone so young (in her 50s) could be gone so quickly. She will be missed by her family, firm and the larger family of those in the futures business.

Liz is survived by her mother, two brothers and two sisters and their families. She also was a big animal lover and the family asks that donations in lieu of flowers be made in Liz’s name to the Anti-Cruelty Society of Illinois. The memorial is March 21 at 2:30 pm at the Village Presbyterian Church, 1300 Shermer Road, Northbrook, IL.

About the Author

In her many years covering the futures industry Ginger has interviewed some of today's best global hedge fund and commodity trading advisors. Ginger received a master's degree in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and a bachelor’s in communication arts from the University of Wisconsin – Madison