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The 2017 Trading Tech 40: Jenny Knott

  • By Peter Vasiliev

13. Jenny Knott
Chief Executive Officer
NEX Optimisation
PNR

At the close of 2016, ICAP completed the transfer of its voice brokering business to rival Tullett Prebon, now doing business as TP ICAP. The old ICAP, which was the world's biggest interdealer brokerage, was reborn as NEX Group, fulfilling a long-held, technology-centric vision of CEO Michael Spencer. NEX says it "empowers markets" with products and services that "underpin the entire trade life cycle pre-, during, and post-execution." NEX Optimisation, the division formerly known as posttrade risk and information (PTRI) and headed by Jenny Knott, is a £245 million ($305 million)-in-revenue business — smaller than that of NEX's EBS BrokerTec trading platforms but growing faster, by 7 percent year-over-year versus 1 percent on a reported basis.

Roughly half of the £145 million in annual technology spending across NEX Group, which employs about 1,800 worldwide, goes toward new developments, as opposed to "business as usual" core functions and maintenance. Knott says that "Optimisation" speaks to NEX's goals of helping clients to simplify processes and workflows and maximize resources as they navigate the complexities of market structure, regulation, and risk management; and to making it easy to access NEX's offerings through a single point of connection, master services agreement, user interface, and marketplace of services. "We combine a talented group of technologists — engineers, data scientists, computer scientists — with business skills and expertise, and that makes us uniquely positioned," says Knott, who joined ICAP as PTRI chief executive in the summer of 2015. Euclid Opportunities, which reports to the 48-year-old CEO, has made several strategic financial technology investments. Two of them in 2016 became wholly owned NEX Optimisation businesses: ENSO Financial Analytics, a data platform for hedge funds and prime brokers; and regulatory reporting hub Abide Financial. Current portfolio company Axoni is collaborating with NEX in developing blockchain, or distributed ledger, technology; Euclid also has in that field an investment in Digital Asset Holdings.

A former CEO of Standard Bank in London, part of South Africa's Standard Bank Group, and with UBS and Nomura International among her previous affiliations, Knott says she is not wedded to any single blockchain standard or approach, focusing instead on arriving at solutions that benefit clients and improve business processes. "Distributed ledger really goes together with cloud technology," she says. "Looking at distributed ledger, artificial intelligence, cloud, big data — it's the convergence of these technologies that is exciting."


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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