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The 2017 Trading Tech 40: Chris Isaacson

  • By Peter Vasiliev

2. Chris Isaacson
Chief Information Officer
CBOE Holdings
Last Year: 3

Under the terms of the $3.4 billion merger that CBOE Holdings negotiated with Bats GlobalMarkets last September and completed on February 28, all CBOE businesses and products — including the Chicago Board Options Exchange, the largest U.S. options market; and the vaunted CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) — will run on Bats's technology. That's music to the ears of Chris Isaacson, global chief information officer at Bats and now CIO for the combined entity. "I've been very blessed to have been part of the team that started Bats," the 38-year-old says. "Now I get to see us move on to the next phase with CBOE acquiring us and migrating to the Bats platform."

The sleek, world-class exchange platform of Bats, which was launched in Lenexa, Kansas, in 2005 by a 13-person team spun out of high frequency trading shop Tradebot Systems, is a far cry from the man-powered markets where Isaacson's father, a pig and grain farmer, traded futures to hedge against changes in livestock prices. The younger Isaacson first learned to code at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln and graduated in 2001 with a bachelor's in information systems. The Loomis, Nebraska, native received an MBA in computer science and management in 2003 from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where he learned skills for managing large-scale software projects.

He says his team is "laser-focused" on his biggest project yet: moving CBOE onto Bats systems. Rebounding from its failure to complete an initial public offering in 2012, Bats had a strong 2016 that included a successful IPO in April at the high end of its price range. "It's always a momentous day for a company when it goes public, but it's not every day a company goes public on its own exchange," Isaacson says. Recalling the roots of Bats, he adds, "We understood what the most demanding of our trading members would require because we were one of them. So we developed a platform that could satisfy the most demanding. That ethos has been driving the firm until today with the merger, and going forward I think it will remain essential to our success."


The 2017 Trading Tech 40

1. Richard Prager
BlackRock
2. Chris Isaacson
Bats Global Markets
3. Bradley Peterson
Nasdaq
4. Brad Levy
MarkitSERV
5. Dan Keegan
Citi
6. Glenn Lesko
Bloomberg Tradebook
7. Bryan Durkin
CME Group
8. Mayur Kapani
Intercontinental Exchange
9. Mike Blum
KCG Holdings
10. Raj Mahajan
Goldman Sachs Group
11. Ronald DePoalo
Fidelity Institutional
12. Nick Themelis
MarketAxess Holdings
13. Jenny Knott
NEX Optimisation
14. Billy Hult
Tradeweb Markets
15. Rob Park
IEX Group
16. Bill Chow & Richard Leung
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing
17. John Mackay (Mack) Gill
MillenniumIT
18. Paul Hamill
Citadel Securities
19. Eric Noll
Convergex
20. Veronica Augustsson
Cinnober Financial Technology
21. Tyler Moeller & Joshua Walsky
Broadway Technology
22. Alasdair Haynes
Aquis Exchange
23. Gaurav Suri
Arcesium
24. Manoj Narang
Mana Partners
25. Michael Chin & Neill Penney
Thomson Reuters
26. Robert Sloan
S3 Partners
27. Anton Katz & Stephen Mock
AQR Capital Management
28. Donal Byrne
Corvil
29. Stu Taylor
Algomi
30. Alfred Eskandar
Portware
31. Steven Randich
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
32. R. Cromwell Coulson
OTC Markets Group
33. Peter Maragos
Dash Financial
34. John Fawcett
Quantopian
35. Donald
Ross III
PDQ Enterprises
36. Jennifer Nayar
Vela Trading Technologies
37. Dan Raju
Tradier
38. Susan Estes
OpenDoor Trading
39. David Mercer
LMAX Exchange
40. Oki Matsumoto
Monex Group

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