Elrick Williams is an entrepreneur and investor who recently retired as a trader and executive with an algorithmic trading firm in Chicago. He was born and raised in the Washington Heights and Harlem neighborhoods of New York City to parents who emigrated from Kingston, Jamaica. After receiving a BA degree in Chemistry from Williams College in 1969, he went straight to Harvard Business School for an MBA, class of 1971.
Having learned computer programming in college, Elrick began developing and programming computer financial models while at US Trust Company in the early ‘70’s. He subsequently joined TWA’s financial analysis staff in New York. After four years on TWA’s New York staff in positions of successively greater responsibility, Elrick was promoted to manage its overseas finance operation based in Paris and served an additional four years in that capacity, beginning in 1977. He became a member of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in 1981. He first traded as an interest rate arbitrageur/spreader in CME’s interest rate complex and then formed a proprietary FX options floor trading group. After these initial trading successes, Elrick expanded his floor trading operation to include futures and options in equity index and agricultural products. Leaving the trading floor in 1991, he founded several office services companies and also engaged in various software development projects. In 1999, with a view towards becoming an early adopter of screen-based trading, Elrick combined his trading achievements, entrepreneurial experiences and systems development skills to co-found an electronic trading company. The successor firm, Allston Trading, LLC, with over 140 traders and systems professionals, is a leading proprietary algorithmic trading company. Allston trades equity, equity index, interest rate, commodity and foreign exchange products on more than 30 futures and stock exchanges worldwide. Elrick was Chairman and CEO of Allston until shortly after a significant ownership interest was sold to two private equity firms in 2007. Retired from Allston, he remains a major investor and board member.
Elrick is actively involved in the African American business community. From 1995 until 1997, he managed Rev. Leon Sullivan’s USAID-funded program to recruit mid-level African banking executives from a dozen countries on the African continent for advanced training in the US. He is currently a major investor and board member of Broadway Federal Bank (Los Angeles), the oldest African American-founded bank west of the Mississippi. As a result, he has had a front-row seat at an institution that is successfully navigating the shoals of the current credit crisis. He is also a major investor in The Africa Channel. Elrick’s investments and philanthropies are managed by Williams Group Holdings LLC, the family office he founded with his sister, Paula Madison. Ms. Madison is a NBC Universal Executive VP/GE Company Officer, as well as a Trustee of Vassar College, her alma mater.
His teenage son Chan lives with his mother in Washington DC. Elrick lives in Chicago and also maintains a residence in the Washington DC area.
Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Member 1981-1991, 1999-present Kingston Investments (1981-1991); Jordan Trading (1999-2000); Chevron Trading (2000-2001); Deere Park Trading (2001-2002); Harrison Trading (2002-2003); and Allston Trading (2003-2008).
Buzzeo, Inc., 1999 Enterprise management software development.
Metro Inc., 1998 American Express software contractor for its real-time airline reservation system.
International Foundation for Education and Self-Help, 1995-1997 Program created by Rev. Leon H. Sullivan and funded by USAID for the recruitment and credit training in the US of mid-level bankers from twelve African countries.
Trans World Airlines, Inc., 1973-1980
U.S. Trust Co., 1970-1972
Harvard Business School, MBA with Finance concentration, Class of 1971
Williams College, BA in Chemistry, Class of 1969