The story of Richard D. and Wyckoff Stock Market Institute began in the 1880’s. Back then, the stock market was a very small affair that was pretty much controlled by few professional traders. The stock market’s small size made their trading manipulations more visible than today. While much has changed over the years and the manipulation by professional traders and large interests are more difficult to uncover, they are still there and provide excellent opportunities for those who know where to look.
The late 19th and early 20th century featured well-known professional investors like William Rockefeller and his allies, J.P. Morgan and other banking interests. Bucket shops were in operation for those with relatively small amounts of money.
Those dealing with the bucket shops were not actually trading shares of stock. They simply made side bets on the direction in which they expected a stock to move.
Richard D Wyckoff went to work in the stock market as a very young man and, through hard work, achieved great success and eventually owned his own brokerage firm. He established his own market letter and published the prestigious Magazine of Wall Street which was the first financial magazine in the country.
He also ran a very excellent financial advisory service and in the 1920s set up the finest stock market analytical staff in New York City
In the late 20s, the pressures of the job and some unfortunate personal issues led to some significant health problems. Mr. Wyckoff stepped away from Wall Street and took up residence on the French Riviera. He did continue to pay attention to the stock market and in 1929, realized that the market was about to crash.
He came back to the United States and tried to encourage some friends and former clients to get out of the market. Influenced by the market euphoria, they didn’t believe him. After liquidating his assets, Wyckoff returned to France.
Needless to say, what Richard D Wyckoff foresaw was the crash of 1929. I believe he actually forecast the bottom of that crash within 50 points on the New York Times stock average, which was the prevailing index of the day.
By 1931 his health had recovered to the point where he could work a few hours each day. Wyckoff decided to start a company dedicated to teaching stock market investors and traders the techniques that had made him so successful.
He opened his investment teaching business in 1931. The firm’s initial name was Richard D Wyckoff, Inc. It then became Wyckoff Associates, Inc. Later on the name was changed to Wyckoff Stock Market Institute. In the 1950’s the name was shortened to Stock Market Institute. Fifty five years later, in 2009, the business was brought online as WyckoffStockMarketInstitute.com and now is known as Wyckoff SMI and can be found on WyckoffSMI.com
The teaching enterprise was an instant success. Wyckoff sold an extremely large number of courses during its first year in existence. In fact, that annual course sale record was not eclipsed until the 1960’s.
The fascinating point is that today, WyckoffSMI.com is still teaching, the same strategies and techniques that were developed by Mr. Wyckoff some 100 years ago.
During his time on Wall Street, Richard D. Wyckoff was considered an investing giant. He not only developed the strategies and techniques, but with great success, tested them with his own capital. This was unlike other important Wall Street figures, like Charles Dow, who never owned a share of stock in his life.
Dow and Wyckoff had lunch together every Wednesday. Wyckoff was very interested in the Dow Theory and applied his volume studies to many of Dow’s concepts.
Wyckoff wrote the original one volume text on Stock Market Science and Technique in 1931. The original Tape Reading course was written in 1932.
Mr. Wyckoff died in 1934. Ownership of the firm was transferred to Robert Stanlaws. Stanlaws was an engineer by training, but his first love was the stock market. He had worked with Wyckoff for many years and was an outstanding stock market analyst.
He was president of the company from 1934 to 1951. This was a particularly difficult time as, during the 1930’s and 1940’s, the stock exchange almost went out of business. During the depression and World War II, very few shares were traded and the New Your Stock exchange became a very quiet place. There were even antidotes about passing a football around the floor of the exchange, as there was nothing else to do.
Stanlaws held the organization together and made several extremely important contributions. In 1937 he expanded Wyckoff’s single one volume course and it became a two-volume course. He was also responsible for vertical line chart studies and its coordination with the point and figure chart. It was also during his time that the Trend Barometer came into being. The Trend Barometer, now known as the Wyckoff Tools, was invented by Toby Weary in 1938
Initially there were two indexes. The speculative index, which was later renamed the Momentum index and Investment index which was later renamed the Force Index. The Technometer was added in 1941.
In 1951 Stanlaws died of a heart attack. Mrs. Stanlaws sold the company to Robert Evans, who at the time was the Midwest representative of Wyckoff Associates, Inc.
Mr. Evans led the firm from 1951 to 1967. Evans had purchased his initial course from Mr. Wyckoff in 1933. He had enjoyed an excellent relationship with both Wyckoff and Stanlaws.
In 1951, Mr. Evans moved the company from New York City to the LaSalle financial district in Chicago. Seven years later, Stock Market Institute moved again to Park Ridge, Illinois.
Bob Evans created the Evans Echoes lecture program. He also developed the Optimism – Pessimism Index and several teaching analogies including the Spring, the Jump across the Creek, the Fall Through the Ice and several other delightful analogies that have been extremely helpful to Wyckoff students over the years. He also developed the count guide which became an integral part of the investment decision-making process, as it forecast the distance a stock would rally or react after the move began.
When Evans purchased the firm it was almost ready to go out of existence. When he moved to Chicago there were only three people on the staff. When he sold the business to Bud Andrews, in 1967, it was profitable and employed 10 people.
Andrews purchased the company in 1967. He sold it to Elba Systems in 1972. He reacquired the business in 1973. Elba Systems reacquired the organization in 1974.
Several very important improvements were made under Mr. Andrew’s tenure. During the mid 1960’s the operational climate was changing. Government regulations became more stringent, especially in the educational field.
One of the first things Andrews did was to revamp the Wyckoff course and improve the teaching. He expanded it into a three volume text with exams. SMI became accredited with the Home Study Council. He also registered the company with SEC and became approved by the Veterans Administration. This allowed Stock Market Institute to sell courses to veterans under the G.I. Bill.
Bud Andrews’ leadership helped Stock Market Institute rapidly expand, but by 1972 it was a bit overextended and retrenching. This led to the 1972 sale to Elba systems.
Two years later, A. Ray Freeman purchased Stock Market Institute and moved it to Phoenix Arizona. Mr. Freeman handled sales and advertising and was involved in computer development. Long time associate David Mathys continue to operate the Park Ridge Illinois office.
Stock Market Institute was eventually purchased by Craig Schroeder and Gary Schuber. Both had worked under Robert Evans at the Illinois office, but joined Mr. Freeman in Phoenix.
Schroeder and Schuber continued the teaching services and published a weekly set of charts. They continued the Stock Market Institute tradition by continuing to market the courses and provide teaching assistance to those students who needed help.
They also published and mailed charts to students through their weekly Pulse of the Market Charting Service.
During the 1990’s the traditional hand posted charts and ticker tape market information was being replaced by computers and online services. The Stock Market Institute had to make some major changes to adjust to the new technology.
Around the turn of the century, Jim O’Brien, who owned a marketing and communications company, called the Jamison Group, Inc., began to work with Craig Schroeder. Together they began developing a new website with an online charting service.
O’Brien, who successfully completed the basic Wyckoff course in 1972, under the G.I. Bill, had enjoyed trading success using the Wyckoff strategies and techniques. He wanted to make sure Wyckoff would live on and continue to help traders and investors worldwide.
In 2008, as they were working together to develop the online charting service, Craig Schroeder succumbed to cancer. Jim O’Brien completed the project and launched WyckoffStockMarketInstitute.com
In addition to offering the basic Wyckoff courses and the timeless Evans Echoes lectures, O’Brien offered daily commentary on the stock market and a weekly review of market action.
In late 2014 Jim O’Brien met with another Wyckoff graduate Todd Butterfield. Todd Butterfield graduated from Wyckoff Stock Market Institute in 1982 and has traded in the markets, and owned and operated a successful registered investment company since completing the Wyckoff Stock Market Course. During this meeting Jim O’Brien and Todd Butterfield discussed thoughts regarding the transfer of leadership of Wyckoff Stock Market Institute due to Mr. O’Briens need “to slow down and reflect on the wonderful life God has given me” as he entered his mid 70’s. While these initial conversations didn’t lead to an immediate change of control, it did lay the foundation for what would come in the next year and a half.
In 2015 while Jim O’Brien continued to operate WyckoffStockMarketInstitute.com Todd Butterfield began building a new and improved Wyckoff Charting software that would improve on many aspects of the existing software that Wyckoff Stock Market Institute had been offering up until this point. Mr. Butterfield’s new software was not initially built to be a public offer but to be a personal trading tool for himself. Some of the amazing features he introduced specific to the Wyckoff Charting service are
- Wyckoff Sector Charts
- Compare Holding Charts
- Wyckoff Tools Spreadsheets
- The 5 Minute Intra-Day Line Chart with the corresponding Wyckoff OP Index for all symbols
- Rolling Technometer (Which allows the Technometer to update every 5 minutes during the trading session)
- 100% Browser Support Including Mobile Devices
- Twitter Snapshot allowing users to post their charts to Twitter Instantly
- Various New Wyckoff Sectors including the Wyckoff Gaming, Tape Reading, New & Unweighted
In late 2015 after more conversations with Jim O’Brien, Todd Butterfield brought on board, marketer and web designer Matthew Beasley to help develop a website that would eventually become the future home of Wyckoff Stock Market Institute. Over the next year Todd and Matt would work long hours on refining and testing the new platform. During this time in 2016 Jim O’Brien published his first book entitled Wyckoff Strategies & Techniques. It was a condensed version of the entire Classic Wyckoff course, but with up-to-date charts and graphics. The book, was the first new Wyckoff publication in many years.
In June 2016, Jim O’Brien officially closed WyckoffStockMarketInstitute.com and redirected all web traffic over to the new platform and website WyckoffSMI.com. All students, users and subscribers were transferred over to control of Todd Butterfield and the WyckoffSMI.com staff. It was at this time that Mr.Butterfield made the decision to make his charting software available for public use to Wyckoff students and members. During the months that follow Jim O’Brien would continue to publish his nightly “Pulse of the Market” and weekly “Week In Review” newsletter to subscribers from the new website and platform. Initially it was planned for Jim O’Brien to be head of ongoing educational studies however due to health reasons he wasn’t able to fulfill these duties. It was at this time that Todd Butterfield decided that it was in the best interest of Wyckoff Stock Market Institute to update the Wyckoff Stock Market Institute Course and offer it online. In early November 2016, Wyckoff SMI launched the Wyckoff Unleashed Course. The Wyckoff Unleashed Course includes over 40 lessons, over 100 updated charts, 8 hours of lectures and many videos.
On November 27th, 2016 Jim O’Brien announced during his final “Week In Review” newsletter,
“As I approach my mid-70s, it is time to slow down and reflect on the wonderful life God has given me. I sincerely appreciate all the wonderful friends I have made over the past several years. Thank you so very much for all your support. Writing these blog posts have been a wonderful experience and genuine pleasure.”
Todd Butterfield has since taken over the role of author of both the “Week In Review” and “Pulse of the Market” newsletters.