The 2013 Tech 50
Click name to view ranking profile.
On April 2 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
declared that corporations could use social media like Facebook
and Twitter to publish required financial disclosures, in the
same way they use websites. Two days later Bloomberg claimed an
industry first when it added live Twitter feeds to the
proverbial fire hose of information gushing into its vaunted
Hardly alone among the leaders in financial technology
spotlighted in this year's Institutional Investor Tech
50, Bloomberg's Thomas Secunda seeks out opportunities
presented by marketplace changes and prizes agility in
responding with innovative products. No development has stirred
the competitive juices of financial technology strategists over
the past couple of years more than social media, and
Bloomberg's Twitter integration was a home run, a masterstroke
of timeliness. It's one reason Secunda, Bloomberg's global head
of financial products and services,
repeats this year as No. 1 on the Tech 50 ranking.
But there is more to the story than the SEC's announcing
something on a Tuesday and Bloomberg's working some programming
magic by Thursday. Secunda, who oversees the Bloomberg
Professional service as well as the company's 3,000
technologists, says the Twitter system was in the works for a
year. "We're constantly building our products," he notes. "In
this case the timing worked out especially well."
Lucky? Perhaps. But this win also came about by design.
Without its army of programmers and one of the financial
world's most extensive and aggressive commitments to research
and development, Bloomberg wouldn't have been prepared for the
Twitter opening, nor would it be the pacesetter that it has
shown itself to be since its start in 1982, when "you had to
invent technology to survive," as Secunda, a Bloomberg
co-founder, puts it. The company "still writes and builds some
of its own technology," he adds. This year it looked downright
Google-like when it launched a $75 million venture capital
fund to get in closer touch with high-tech start-ups. In that
regard, however, Bloomberg might be seen as a latecomer:
Citigroup, in the person of chief innovation officer
Deborah Hopkins (No. 14), has been on the ground in
Silicon Valley making strategic venture investments for five
years. ICAP (see
Michael Spencer, No. 16) introduced its Euclid
Opportunities incubation fund in 2011, resulting in an
investment in and business relationship with OpenGamma (Kirk Wylie, No. 50).
Indeed, in a hotly competitive industry that is buffeted by
economic, regulatory and financial market uncertainty and
depends on information technology to maintain its dynamism and
resilience, no organization has a corner on intelligence,
inventiveness and the ability to be both lucky and good
and even to stumble.
In May, Bloomberg had to issue apologies when its news
reporters were found to be monitoring the comings and goings of
terminal users. Bloomberg's bad press gave a publicity boost to
Markit Group, led by CEO
Lance Uggla (No. 3), which is developing an
alternative to Bloomberg's popular chat feature. The Markit
project is not new; it fits within a desktop strategy that has
been on Uggla's drawing board for years. And it was not
explicitly designed as an attack on Bloomberg, which would have
the option of linking to Markit's chat network. But the script
went in unplanned directions, and the timing was fortuitous.
Meanwhile, Markit has become a target of a European Union
antitrust probe into the derivatives business.
Jeffrey Sprecher (No. 2) has engineered more than a
few acquisitions since the turn of the century, but two of his
bolder bids fell short: for the Chicago Board of Trade
in 2007 and for NYSE Euronext (jointly with Nasdaq OMX Group)
in 2011. Last December, Sprecher got the big prize, landing
NYSE Euronext in a deal now hurtling toward completion.
"Postclose," says Sprecher, "serving evolving customer needs
through technology will be core to our success."
of effort in cloud computing are yielding tangible cost
benefits for the likes of Goldman Sachs Group
(Steven Scopellite, No. 6) and State Street Corp.
(Christopher Perretta, No. 30). With new regulations
and risk controls putting a premium on collateral and the
ability to move it around, platforms built for that purpose by
(Lieve Mostrey, No. 34) and Omgeo
(Marianne Brown, No. 28) are now coming into their
Capital One Financial Corp.
(Robert Alexander, No. 37) runs R&D labs in three
off-site locations, and Fidelity Investments relies on its
Center for Applied Technology to prepare for advances that will
reach the market in two to three years. "The more you engage
with the things that are changing," notes Fidelity enterprise
chief technology officer
Stephen Neff (No. 5), "the more you realize what
you don't know."
The Tech 50 ranking was compiled by Institutional
Investor editors and staff, with nominations and input
from industry participants and experts. Four primary sets of
attributes were evaluated: achievements and contributions over
the course of a career; scope and complexity of
responsibilities; influence and leadership inside and outside
the organization; and pure technological innovation.
Of the 50 entries, 38 return from last year. The 2012 ranks
are noted, and the rest are designated "PNR" (previously not
The Tech 50 was created under the direction of Senior
Contributing Editor Jeffrey Kutler. Individual profiles were
written by Kutler; Associate Web Editor Ben Baris; Asia
Bureau Chief Allen T. Cheng; Senior Writers Frances
Denmark, Julie Segal and Aaron Timms; and Editor Michael