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The 2017 Trading Tech 40: Mike Blum

  • By Peter Vasiliev

9. Mike Blum
Chief Technology Officer
KCG Holdings
PNR

For Mike Blum, joining KCG Holdings in January 2016 was a reunion of sorts. From 2009 through 2012 he had been head of Getco Execution Services, a key client-facing business of the high-tech Chicago trading firm Getco. In 2013 — as Blum was starting a roughly two-year stint as chief technology officer of hedge fund firm Teza Technologies — Getco acquired Knight Capital Group. Though he found "some Getco groups still intact" at what is now KCG Holdings, Blum says, the New York–based company "is different in a lot of ways," with a broader range of market making and trading services. KCG — a self-described "independent, pure-play, technology-driven intermediary in liquid financial instruments" — is in the process of moving all its operations onto a unified technology platform. That creates clean-slate opportunities for efficiencies and innovations that Blum finds exciting and says helped convince him to sign on.

Tapped initially as global head of client technology, Blum, 49, became CTO in October, succeeding Jonathan Ross (No. 4 last year), who left to pursue technology interests outside of trading and markets. With a BS in computer science from the University of Dayton, Blum started his career as a developer for electronic market making pioneer Automated Trading Desk. After serving as vice president of development at Island ECN, he made significant trading technology contributions at UBS, where he became a managing director of the investment bank. Blum notes that his subsequent business responsibilities at Getco, and then taking charge of "the whole technology stack" for the first time at Teza, prepared him for the changes and challenges presented by KCG. He has seen high frequency trading evolve in stages, from "conquering complexity" in market structure to maximizing speed. Although those advanced capabilities cannot be neglected, "the focus now is on alpha," Blum says. "Now it's about getting smarter."


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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