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Trading Technology 30: Saro Jahani

Saro Jahani
No. 29
Chief Information Officer
Direct Edge 
Saro Jahani Direct Edge, a Knight Capital Group spin-off that attained exchange status in July 2010, gained its first chief information officer when Saro Jahani signed on in April 2011. Jersey City, New Jersey–based Direct Edge was vying with BATS (see Chris Isaacson, No. 12) for third place among U.S. equity exchanges, and CEO William O’Brien said at the time that he’d sought out Jahani for his understanding of “the balance between technological innovation and systemic integrity that is crucial to operating a successful registered stock exchange.” Latency — the communications delay that slows the completion of transactions — is a primary concern for Jahani, as the operation routinely handles more than a billion shares a day. Year-over-year volume increases on Direct Edge’s EDGA and EDGX platforms were clocked recently at 257 percent and 111 percent, respectively. But to Jahani, formerly CIO of Chicago’s National Stock Exchange, low latency must go hand in hand with stability and reliability. Among his contributions to Direct Edge is the ITIL, or Information Technology Infrastructure Library, best practices framework. He has trained 60 members of his team in ten ITIL disciplines, five addressing IT support and five service delivery. “It is very important [for a CIO] to avoid becoming a specialist and to be a generalist,” says the 55-year-old, who has a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Uppsala University in his native Sweden. “There is no trade-off. Everything has to be prioritized and acted upon.”

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