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Trading Technology 30: Jerry Dobner

Jerry Dobner
No. 23
Chief Technology Officer
GFI Group 
Jerry Dobner Top executives of GFI Group, an interdealer brokerage founded in 1987, regarded the Internet explosion as an inflection point requiring a significant commitment to technology. After buying some third-party systems in the 1990s to establish an electronic trading foothold, they turned to Jerry Dobner to set a unique course for GFI through bespoke in-house software development. GFI does not depend on outside vendors. “Having our own team is a strong competitive advantage,” declares Dobner, who joined New York–based GFI in August 2001 from NewsAlert, where he had developed a widely disseminated online stock quote system. A self-educated programmer who started at age ten on an Apple II brought home by his father, Dobner, now 41, recalls that his first year at GFI was spent “rebuilding and recoding” to allow the firm to enter the realm of real-time trading. “Of course, real-time then was not what real-time is now,” the CTO quips, referring to the microsecond latency that is today’s institutional trading table stake. He has some 250 people working on trading systems and support and other technologies — and that doesn’t include more than 100 technical staffers in GFI’s Fenics (foreign exchange derivatives systems) and Trayport (multiproduct trading software) units. Dobner is keeping close tabs on pending derivatives regulations that “will change the trading landscape.” GFI is technologically prepared for any outcome and, he vows, “will be compliant from day one.”

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