34
R. Cromwell Coulson
President and Chief Executive Officer
OTC Markets Group
Last year: 37

Over-the-counter trading is for stocks too small or otherwise unready for exchange listing. OTC Markets Group offers these companies a systematic and economical way upstream, operating three platforms that are progressively more disciplined and less “exchange lite,” says CEO R. Cromwell Coulson. With 10,000 securities, including a growing cadre of community banks and international companies’ American depositary receipts, on his firm’s systems, he’s like a proud parent. Running the company and continually upgrading its technology since 1997, Coulson over the past five years has seen nearly 400 companies, including 60 in 2015, graduate from his platforms to “main boards” operated by Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange. Comparable figures from two peer markets, Canada’s TSX Venture Exchange and London Stock Exchange Group’s AIM, were each in single digits. An equally significant point of pride for a corner of the securities markets historically snubbed as substandard: “We had 100 percent core system reliability last year,” says Coulson, 49, who’s more than happy to be in the too-big-to-fail league, even if his company is below the most elite tier. The CEO sees New York–based OTC Markets filling a void for entrepreneurs left behind by Nasdaq’s upgrade to exchange status in 2006. The firm’s objectives center on the transparency of data and the connectivity of market participants. “There are risks in this market,” Coulson explains. “We drive transparency so risk is appropriately priced. Our platform makes it easier for dealers to build clout around the liquidity they offer.” For young companies OTC Markets offers “a place to go when you’re trying to figure it out.” Among those launched last year on the top-level OTCQX platform: Bitcoin Investment Trust. “We are an open market where entrepreneurs like Barry Silbert [CEO of the trust’s sponsor, Grayscale Investments] are welcome without a lot of pain, cost and complexity,” Coulson says.

 

 
2016 Trading Technology 40
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1. Raymond Tierney III
Bloomberg
2. Richard Prager
BlackRock
3. Chris Isaacson
BATS Global Markets
4. Jonathan Ross
KCG Holdings
5. Bradley Peterson
Nasdaq
6. Brad Levy
Markit
7. Dan Keegan
Citi
8. Ronald DePoalo
Fidelity Institutional
9. Raj Mahajan
Goldman Sachs Group
10. Ari Studnitzer
CME Group
11. Mayur Kapani
Intercontinental Exchange
12. Gerald O’Connell
CBOE Holdings
13. Nicholas Themelis
MarketAxess Holdings
14. Gil Mandelzis
EBS BrokerTec (ICAP)
15. Bill Chow and Richard Leung
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing
16. Rob Park
IEX Group
17. Philip Weisberg
Thomson Reuters
18. John Mackay (Mack) Gill
MillenniumIT
19. Robert Cornish
International Securities Exchange
20. Paul Hamill
Citadel Securities
21. Eric Noll
Convergex
22. Tyler Moeller and Joshua Walsky
Broadway Technology
23. Rishi Nangalia
REDI Holdings
24. Veronica Augustsson
Cinnober Financial Technology
25. Alasdair Haynes
Aquis Exchange
26. Manoj Narang
Mana Partners
27. Gaurav Suri
Arcesium
28. Robert Sloan
S3 Partners
29. Anton Katz and Stephen Mock
AQR Capital Mgmt
30. Stu Taylor
Algomi
31. D. Keith Ross Jr.
PDQ Enterprises
32. Donal Byrne
Corvil
33. Alfred Eskandar
Portware
34. R. Cromwell Coulson
OTC Markets Group
35. Masayuki Hosaka
Rakuten
36. Peter Maragos and David Karat
Dash Financial
37. Amar Kuchinad
Electronifie
38. Jennifer Nayar
SR Labs
39. Dave Snowdon
Metamako
40. Dan Raju
Tradier