Adena Friedman
President and Chief Operating Officer

In a move to harness disruptive technologies and “future-proof” market operations and infrastructure, Nasdaq in May unveiled a business model that president and COO Adena Friedman describes as a modular portfolio of offerings across the trade life cycle. Dubbed the Nasdaq Financial Framework, it is a significant R&D initiative by the Nasdaq Market Technology unit, whose systems are used by more than 100 marketplaces around the world. Customers gain the flexibility to tailor various applications and emerging technologies — blockchain, for one, is fully integrated in the framework — to their needs. “What we hadn’t done in the past, and what the Financial Framework will do, is create a completely standardized, common messaging layer, a resiliency layer and infrastructure in a much more flexible way for people to add components, including things from other players and their own homegrown technology,” says Friedman, who last December was named COO, responsible for all global business operations and reporting to New York–based Nasdaq’s CEO, Robert Greifeld. The framework’s components are a high-performance communications and operations hub called Nasdaq Core; Core Services, which include connectivity, a data store and blockchain functionality provided by Nasdaq’s partner Chain; and an array of business applications. “The messaging framework will allow the blockchain to persist across each of the components, so as you go end to end, it will track the blockchain all the way through the life of a trade to settlement and depository,” notes Friedman, 47. The idea for the new approach came after two years of working on a trading platform overhaul for Borsa Istanbul that involved 18 Nasdaq technologies. “We realized how great it is to have all the components able to talk to each other,” Friedman says. She expects the framework to be ready for production by the beginning of next year, with the earliest adopters finishing installation about 18 months after that. With a BA in political science from Williams College and an MBA from Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management, Friedman started at Nasdaq as an intern in 1993 and rose through the ranks until 2011, when she left to become CFO of Carlyle Group. She returned to Nasdaq in 2014 as president, overseeing nontrading businesses including listing and information services and technology.

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