If trading makes the financial world go round, then technology is the energy and gravity. The objectives of initiating, processing and clearing transactions are simple. Ensuring the necessary capacity and reliability while keeping pace with the latest technological capabilities in a highly competitive and regulation-heavy environment is something else entirely.
The Trading Technology 40 show the way. The leaders spotlighted in the fifth annual Institutional Investor ranking have distinguished themselves as managers of systems and people — and of the interfaces between the two. They stand out in an industry that is still haunted by the vulnerabilities exposed by the May 2010 flash crash even as it has ventured out to the leading edge of cloud computing and data analytics, containerized software and application programming interfaces, ultra-low-latency communications and the distributed ledger technology known as blockchain.
They are people like Jonathan Ross (No. 4), chief technology officer of KCG Holdings, who doesn’t limit his sights to the financial services realm. A former video game programmer, Ross sees the future through the lens of search engines, for which powerful hardware is being developed “to process raw data at an amazing rate,” he says. “A lot of it can be very applicable to trading.”
Anton Katz, one of two technologists representing AQR Capital Management (No. 29), considers the possibility that “in a few years it may not make sense to run your own data center.”
“Complexity is a fact in our business, and the challenges are only becoming more integrated and complex,” says Joshua Walsky, CTO and co-founder, with CEO Tyler Moeller, of Broadway Technology (No. 22). “There is the regulatory environment, products like swaps, various challenges related to scale in functionality and geography. ”
Raymond Tierney III, who moved last year from Bloomberg Tradebook to become Bloomberg’s global head of trading solutions, tops the ranking, rising two places from last year. The financial data giant’s order management systems business boosted revenue 10 percent in 2015. Like others, Tierney has an eye on the blockchain: “The digital ledger will change the industry in significant ways over the next five to ten years.”
The Trading Technology 40 were selected by Institutional Investor editors, taking into account nominations and other input from industry experts. The leadership criteria include recent and career accomplishments and contributions to individual companies and to the industry at large; scope and complexity of executive responsibilities; and pure technological innovation. In the profiles, last year’s rank is shown in parentheses; “PNR” denotes “previously not ranked.”
The ranking was compiled under the direction of Senior Contributing Editor Jeffrey Kutler. Individual profiles were written by Kutler; Editor Michael Peltz; Asia Bureau Chief Allen T. Cheng; Content Editor Anne Szustek; Associate Editor Kaitlin Ugolik; Senior Writers Frances Denmark and Julie Segal; and Research Staff Writer Jess Delaney.