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Trading Technology 30: Tom Sosnoff

Tom Sosnoff
No. 30
Chief Executive Officer
Tom Sosnoff Twenty years at the Chicago Board Options Exchange would be a full and prosperous life for a successful floor trader. But for Tom Sosnoff, an index market maker and one of the first Standard & Poor’s 100 Index traders, those 20 years only took him up to 1999. The dot-com boom was beckoning, and Sosnoff sensed an opportunity to make sophisticated investment strategies accessible to the emerging online trading marketplace. The self-styled options geek left the pits and founded Thinkorswim, which combined an e-brokerage platform — including a pioneering single-click trading function for complex spreads — with options-focused investor education. “Nobody did what we did in popularizing derivatives,” the 54-year-old boasts. In 2006, Thinkorswim merged with investor education provider Investools, a public company, and in 2009, having grown to 700 employees, was bought by TD Ameritrade for more than $600 million. Sosnoff took a senior strategy position at TD for “the only two years I ever collected a paycheck,” he says. “I love to start businesses.” Last May, still tucking shoulder-length hair under his trademark beret, Sosnoff went on the air — literally — with Tastytrade, currently streaming six hours of live daily video programming from a former hip-hop studio in Chicago. Tastytrade positions itself as an alternative to CNBC and its ilk, promising “immediately usable trading strategies” and “reinventing content for investors,” Sosnoff says.

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