Shelly Natenberg: trader and teacher
by John Sweeney
Shelly Natenberg, a floor trader at the Chicago Board of Trade, is the author of Options Volatility &
Pricing Strategies, Probus Publishing, Chicago, 118 North Clinton St, Chicago, IL 60606, (800)
426-1520 or (312) 346-7985. He has been teaching options for six years to professional and floor traders
at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and is currently active in giving seminars for many different
Shelly, Probus sent us your book for review. I've scanned through this thing, but I wanted to get some
more background on you before diving in. Can you give me information about who you are and where
you came from?
I'm basically just a floor trader. I started teaching options as a sideline about 5 or 6 years ago—only to
professional or floor traders. I was teaching for the Merc [Chicago Mercantile Exchange] in Chicago so I
developed a manual for floor traders. Then, I guess my name got passed around. I did some more
teaching for other firms, Bear Stearns, Chicago Research and Trading and a few others, and then got
invited by other exchanges. I'm still just a single guy on the floor but I've done quite a few seminars for
other exchanges. Let's see, I've done them for the CME [Chicago Mercantile Exchange], the Board of
Trade [Chicago Board of Trade], the CBOE [Chicago Board of Options Exchange], the NYFE [New
York Futures Exchange] and the Coffee Sugar, & Cocoa Exchange [CSCE]. I'm scheduled to do one for
the New York Merc [New York Mercantile Exchange], two for SIMEX in Singapore and some for LIFFE
[London International Financial Futures Exchange] in London.
Gadzooks! Most guys on the floor aren't really known for their teaching skills...
No! And I have no teaching background. I just sort of fell into it. You know how a floor trader's income
fluctuates...and when I first started trading I was looking for ways to make a few dollars and smooth out
the income flow. I got a few friends together as guinea pigs, and I tried it out on them. Then I knocked on
a few doors, and put out a few letters just to see what would happen and I got, well, the first major
response I got was CRT. That was, I guess, just a stroke of luck because, you know, they are pretty well
known in the industry. They recommended me to other people so I guess I was just fortunate enough to
be in the right place at the right time.
I just basically try and teach traders the theory they need to know as professional traders in order to go out
and make an intelligent decision. I'm not an advisory service. I don't try and make decisions for the
people, I just try to help them make their own decisions.