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Ron Levi
Chief Operating Officer
GFI Group
Last year: 29

Markets have been bumpy, as revenue growth for GFI Group has been while regulatory uncertainty clouds the outlook for many of the over-the-counter products it handles. But that has done nothing to stanch investments in technology at a steady annual rate of $30 million, which the New York–based firm sees as crucial to its agility and ability to differentiate itself from competitors, according to COO Ron Levi. "The vast majority of our desks have proprietary technology," explains the 49-year-old U.K. native. More than 60 percent of brokerage revenue is supported by those systems. "We constantly innovate," says Levi, COO since 2006. "We see what we do as disruptive." GFI uses automation to enhance liquidity and efficiency in one asset class after another, be it iron ore swaps or nondeliverable forwards, either fully electronically or through hybrid voice-electronic brokerage. "Our people understand work flows, how markets work and how to adapt technology, and they come up with new ideas," says Levi, who was director of fixed income at ICAP predecessor Garban before joining GFI in 1993.