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The 2017 Tech 40: Sean Belka

14. Sean Belka
Director of Fidelity Labs
Fidelity Investments
Last 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 40
1. Adena Friedman
2. Catherine Bessant
Bank of
America Corp.
3. Robert Goldstein
4. Jeffrey Sprecher
Intercontinental Exchange
5. Lance Uggla
IHS Markit
6. Shawn Edwards & Vlad Kliatchko
7. David Craig
Thomson Reuters
8. Michael Spencer
NEX Group
9. Don Callahan
10. Elisha Wiesel
Goldman Sachs Group
11. Michael Bodson
Depository Trust & Clearing Corp.
12. Terrence Duffy
CME Group
13. Charles Li
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing
14. Sean Belka
Fidelity Investments
15. Chris Concannon
CBOE Holdings
16. Guy Chiarello
First Data Corp.
17. Steven Lieblich
18. David Rutter
19. Blythe Masters
Digital Asset Holdings
20. Alfred Spector
Two Sigma Investments
21. Neil Katz
D.E. Shaw Group
22. Lee Olesky
Tradeweb Markets
23. Richard McVey
MarketAxess Holdings
24. David Gledhill
DBS Bank
25. Seth Merrin
Liquidnet Holdings
26. Antoine Shagoury
State Street Corp.
27. Peter Brown &
Robert Mercer
Renaissance Technologies
28. Lou Eccleston
TMX Group
29. Peter Cherecwich
Northern Trust Corp.
30. Mike Chinn
S&P Global Market Intelligence
31. Chris Corrado
London Stock Exchange Group
32. Neal Pawar
AQR Capital Management
33. Gary Norcross
Fidelity National Information Services
34. Steven O'Hanlon
35. Sebasti√°n Ceria
36. Brian Conlon
First Derivatives and Kx Systems
37. Tyler Kim
38. Michael Cooper
BT Radianz
39. Robert Schifellite
Broadridge Financial Solutions
40. Jim Minnick

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