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Trading Technology 30: Thomas Peterffy

Thomas Peterffy
No. 15
Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President
Interactive Brokers Group 
Thomas Peterffy Global multiproduct broker-dealer and market maker Interactive Brokers Group traces its roots to Hungarian émigré and programming whiz Thomas Peterffy’s 1977 purchase of a seat on the American Stock Exchange to trade equity options. Technological firsts claimed by IB and predecessor companies, including computer-generated valuations in 1978 and handheld trading devices in 1983, established Peterffy, now 67, as one of the fathers of electronic trading. IB’s CEO declined a recent request for an interview. But in the Wall Street Journal last fall, he expressed some inventor’s remorse for the havoc caused by high frequency trading. At about $15, IB’s stock is at half the 2007 IPO price. Still, the Greenwich, Connecticut–based firm boosted nine-month net revenue to $1.05 billion last year from $736 million in 2010 and increased earnings per share to $1.10 from 44 cents. IB’s mission statement is posted on its website: “Create technology to provide liquidity on better terms. Compete on price, speed, size, diversity of global products and advanced trading tools.” After the third-quarter release of Interactive Brokers Information Systems, a news, data and research platform, Peterffy said IB planned further enhancements of IBIS “and other aspects of our brokerage technology.” • •

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