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The 2016 Tech 50: Lee Olesky

The Tradeweb Markets CEO jumps to No. 20 on this year’s Tech 50 ranking.

Lee Olesky
Tradeweb Markets

Having introduced institutional electronic trading of U.S. Treasury securities in 1998 and added more than 20 asset classes to its now-global platform, Tradeweb Markets did not just overcome the long odds that any start-up faces. The company also survived the turn-of-the-century bubble, when dozens of aspirants failed to gain footholds in online fixed-income trading. Lee Olesky, who had a hand in the original business plan approved by his then-employer, Credit Suisse First Boston, 20 years ago, says he can’t point to any single event or decision that got Tradeweb over the hump. He talks instead about day-to-day consistency and improvement in performance and service, saying, “Every day we come in excited about innovating. There is no endgame.” The founding chairman of New York–based Tradeweb, Olesky left Credit Suisse — a member of the ownership consortium now led by Thomson Reuters — to start another joint venture platform, BrokerTec Global, which ICAP acquired in 2002. He returned to Tradeweb as president and has been CEO since 2008. The 54-year-old espouses a wave theory of market evolution, and Tradeweb caught two big ones: the 1990s Internet-fueled boom and the post–global financial crisis swap execution facility mandate for over-the-counter derivatives. “Change creates opportunity,” Olesky says, “and each wave produces winners.” Citing a confluence of regulatory, liquidity and cost issues, he adds, “We are the beginning of the next wave of change.” On cue, there is a boomlet in new platforms like Direct Match, Electronifie, Liquidnet Fixed Income (see Seth Merrin, No. 22) and Trumid Financial. The CEO says Tradeweb, which has more than 275 technology employees and 850-plus overall, is “uniquely situated” across three segments: institutional, or dealer-to-customer, on Tradeweb; wholesale, or interdealer, through its Dealerweb unit; and retail through Tradeweb Direct. In February, Tradeweb launched its U.S. marketplace for exchange-traded funds after handling more than €200 billion ($226 billion) in notional ETF volume in Europe since 2012. In March the company acquired trade-data and workflow-management software company CodeStreet, part of a bet Olesky is placing on data science as increasingly crucial to “finding the other side of a trade” and other analytical needs.

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The 2016 Tech 50

1. Catherine
Bank of America Corp.
2. Jeffrey Sprecher
Intercontinental Exchange
3. Lance Uggla
4. Phupinder Gill
CME Group
5. Shawn Edwards and Vlad Kliatchko
6. R. Martin Chavez
Goldman Sachs Group
7. Robert Goldstein
8. Adena Friedman
9. Deborah Hopkins
Citi Ventures
10. Daniel Coleman
KCG Holdings
11. Stephen Neff
Fidelity Investments
12. David Craig
Thomson Reuters
13. Michael Spencer
14. Michael Bodson
Depository Trust & Clearing Corp.
15. Charles Li
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing
16. Chris Concannon
BATS Global Markets
17. Blythe Masters
Digital Asset Holdings
18. David Rutter
19. Neil Katz
D.E. Shaw & Co.
20. Lee Olesky
Tradeweb Markets
21. Richard McVey
MarketAxess Holdings
22. Seth Merrin
Liquidnet Holdings
23. Robert Alexander
Capital One Financial Corp.
24. Brad Katsuyama
IEX Group
25. Antoine Shagoury
State Street Corp.
26. David Gledhill
DBS Bank
27. Lou Eccleston
TMX Group
28. Andreas Preuss
Deutsche BÖrse
29. Dan Schulman
PayPal Holdings
30. Scott Dillon
Wells Fargo & Co.
31. Mike Chinn
S&P Global Market Intelligence
32. Craig Donohue
Options Clearing Corp.
33. Gary Norcross
Fidelity National Information Services
34. Steven O'Hanlon
35. Sebastián Ceria
36. Michael Cooper
BT Radianz
37. Tyler Kim
38. Neal Pawar
AQR Capital Management
39. David Harding
Winton Capital Management
40. Chris Corrado
London Stock Exchange Group
41. Brian Conlon
First Derivatives
42. Jim Minnick
43. Stephane Dubois
44. Mazy Dar
45. Yasuki Okai
NRI Holdings America
46. Kim Fournais
Saxo Bank
47. Jock Percy
48. Robert Schifellite
Broadridge Financial Solutions
49. Brian Sentance
Xenomorph Software
50. Pieter van der Does

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