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The 2017 Trading Tech 40: David Mercer

  • By Peter Vasiliev

39. David Mercer
Chief Executive Officer
LMAX Exchange
PNR

At $5 trillion a day, foreign exchange is the biggest financial market, and historically the most unruly. Regulators in recent years have sent disciplinary signals, fining major banks billions of dollars for manipulation and misconduct, and a Bank for International Settlements working group has drafted a code of conduct for wholesale forex trading. David Mercer believes that in LMAX Exchange he has the industrial-strength technology and market structure to bring to currencies the liquidity, transparency, and operational integrity associated with exchange trading. A multilateral trading facility regulated by the U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority, LMAX has climbed into the top ten among foreign exchange platforms and "aspires to be No. 1," CEO Mercer, 46, says.

Founded in 2010, LMAX was not an overnight success in the big-bank-dominated forex world. Mercer, a 25-year financial markets veteran formerly associated with Credit Suisse Financial Products and Credit Suisse First Boston, came in as CEO in 2011, was part of a management buyout in 2012, and then embarked on a three-year plan to reach breakeven while building out the global infrastructure that currently serves banks, funds, proprietary traders, and other customers in more than 90 countries. Rising to prominence in London's start-up scene — LMAX was a Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50 winner in 2015 and 2016 — the company established data centers in the key trading hubs of London, Tokyo, and, as of September 2016, New York. It has about 110 employees, turned a profit last year, "and now it's all about distribution," Mercer says.

The technology is homegrown; Mercer notes that 70 percent of LMAX's spending and half its head count are tech-related. To avoid the hazards of aging systems and to maintain maximum reliability, "we rewrite a third of our code every year and release new software every two weeks," he says.


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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