This content is from: Home

The 2017 Tech 40: Sean Belka

< The 2017 Tech 4014. Sean BelkaDirector of Fidelity LabsFidelity InvestmentsLast year: PNR

Fidelity Investments chair and CEO Abigail Johnson caused a stir in May when, speaking at the ConsenSys blockchain conference in New York, she professed belief in digital currencies and noted that Fidelity's experimentation with Bitcoin and Ethereum mining had made the firm "a lot of money." That sets Fidelity apart from financial industry peers that perceive business potential not in Bitcoin, but rather in its underlying blockchain, or distributed-ledger technology. "We look at them both together and discretely," explains Sean Belka, senior vice president and director of Fidelity Labs, the money management giant's research and development arm. Founded in 1998 and headed by Belka for eight years, Fidelity Labs isn't in the business of dismissing or excluding possibilities. Its blockchain and cryptocurrency explorations are consistent with those it has made in recent years with the Apple Watch and Google Glass, and with augmented- and virtual-reality technologies like Aurasma and Oculus Rift. Each is a form of user interface, and "we want to know how it works," Belka, 54, says. Some of the R&D work may be too early and some may not pan out at all, "but that's all right," adds Belka, who has been with the firm more than 20 years. "Our goal is always to be where the customer is."

 The 2017 Tech 40Click below to view profiles
1. Adena FriedmanNASDAQ2. Catherine BessantBank of
America Corp.3. Robert GoldsteinBlackRock4. Jeffrey SprecherIntercontinental Exchange5. Lance UgglaIHS Markit
6. Shawn Edwards & Vlad KliatchkoBloomberg7. David CraigThomson Reuters8. Michael SpencerNEX Group9. Don CallahanCitigroup10. Elisha WieselGoldman Sachs Group
11. Michael BodsonDepository Trust & Clearing Corp.12. Terrence DuffyCME Group13. Charles LiHong Kong Exchanges and Clearing14. Sean BelkaFidelity Investments15. Chris ConcannonCBOE Holdings
16. Guy ChiarelloFirst Data Corp.17. Steven LieblichCitadel18. David RutterR3CEV19. Blythe MastersDigital Asset Holdings20. Alfred SpectorTwo Sigma Investments
21. Neil KatzD.E. Shaw Group22. Lee OleskyTradeweb Markets23. Richard McVeyMarketAxess Holdings24. David GledhillDBS Bank25. Seth MerrinLiquidnet Holdings
26. Antoine ShagouryState Street Corp.27. Peter Brown &
Robert Mercer
Renaissance Technologies28. Lou EcclestonTMX Group29. Peter CherecwichNorthern Trust Corp.30. Mike ChinnS&P Global Market Intelligence
31. Chris CorradoLondon Stock Exchange Group32. Neal PawarAQR Capital Management33. Gary NorcrossFidelity National Information Services34. Steven O'HanlonNumerix35. Sebastián CeriaAxioma
36. Brian ConlonFirst Derivatives and Kx Systems37. Tyler KimMaplesFS38. Michael CooperBT Radianz39. Robert SchifelliteBroadridge Financial Solutions40. Jim MinnickeVestment