Alex McCallum is the Moderator at MarketForum.
Alex McCallum was introduced to futures trading in 1963 when, as a trainee journalist with Reuters, he was assigned to write commentaries on the Cocoa, Sugar and Rubber markets in London. These were not futures markets as we know them today. Prices, when available, were posted in chalk on blackboards, except in the case of rubber futures where traders whispered their quotes to one another! We complain a lot about the functioning of today's markets, but we have certainly come a long way since those slow and secretive days.
After a spell in Brussels in the mid 60s, when copper was a major news
story as Belgium reluctantly exited from Zaire (now the Democratic
Republic of the Congo) and the lucrative Katanga mines, McCallum was transferred to New York where he became Reuters' U.S. financial editor as the news agency set out to compete head-to-head with Dow Jones and Commodity News Service (CNS). This was before Bloomberg.
Chicago and New York
In those days, the U.S. futures markets were chiefly grains and meats in Chicago, and metals and softs in New York. Financial futures, in the form of currencies, were launched in 1972 but didn't take off until interest rate contacts were introduced later in the decade. When McCallum, having left Reuters, joined the Chicago Mercantile Exchange as the CME's PR director in 1979, financial futures were in full swing and stock index futures were poised to launch.
It has been helter-skelter in the futures markets ever since.
After leaving the CME and returning to New York in 1982, McCallum was
a consultant to the Coffee, Sugar & Cocoa Exchange when Options on
Futures were started with Sugar -- the beginning of what became a very
successful new departure for exchange-traded derivatives. Less
auspiciously, he advised the CSCE when its Consumer Price Futures
contract failed as inflationary fears dissipated. He was also a
consultant to the New York Cotton Exchange (both exchanges now form
the New York Board of Trade).
As a PR practitioner, and more recently as a newsletter editor,
McCallum also spends a great deal of time working outside the
confines of the futures industry. His favorite non-futures PR
clients have included the Financial Times, Midland Bank plc (now
part of HSBC Bank plc), real estate investment firm Beacon Capital
Partners, LLC, Auerbach Grayson & Company, Inc., an international
securities firm, and Pulse Trading, Inc., an institutional
brokerage firm. His latest newsletter enterprise is called
Insurance Asset Manager.
Back to Futures
McCallum has never been very far away from the futures
markets, however, and in 1995 he was invited by Adam Hewison,
a friend and former foreign exchange trader on the CME, to
help him launch INO.com, the futures and options website. As
INO's Editorial Director, McCallum started the INO forum
and the INO news service as well as directing the site's publicity activities until, in mid-2003, he reached an agreement with INO to acquire the forum and operate it independently as MarketForum starting in September 2003.
McCallum is a 1963 graduate of Oxford University with Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in Geography. He has lived and worked in London, Brussels, New York and Chicago, and now lives 50 miles north of Boston, in New Hampshire.