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The 2017 Trading Tech 40: David Mercer

< Wall Street's Nerds: The World's Most Powerful Trading Executives39. David MercerChief Executive OfficerLMAX ExchangePNR

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 40Click below to view profiles
1. Richard PragerBlackRock2. Chris IsaacsonBats Global Markets3. Bradley PetersonNasdaq4. Brad LevyMarkitSERV5. Dan KeeganCiti
6. Glenn LeskoBloomberg Tradebook7. Bryan DurkinCME Group8. Mayur KapaniIntercontinental Exchange9. Mike BlumKCG Holdings10. Raj MahajanGoldman Sachs Group
11. Ronald DePoaloFidelity Institutional12. Nick ThemelisMarketAxess Holdings13. Jenny KnottNEX Optimisation14. Billy HultTradeweb Markets15. Rob ParkIEX Group
16. Bill Chow & Richard LeungHong Kong Exchanges and Clearing17. John Mackay (Mack) GillMillenniumIT18. Paul HamillCitadel Securities19. Eric NollConvergex20. Veronica AugustssonCinnober Financial Technology
21. Tyler Moeller & Joshua WalskyBroadway Technology22. Alasdair HaynesAquis Exchange23. Gaurav SuriArcesium24. Manoj NarangMana Partners25. Michael Chin & Neill PenneyThomson Reuters
26. Robert SloanS3 Partners27. Anton Katz & Stephen MockAQR Capital Management28. Donal ByrneCorvil29. Stu TaylorAlgomi30. Alfred EskandarPortware
31. Steven RandichFinancial Industry Regulatory Authority32. R. Cromwell CoulsonOTC Markets Group33. Peter MaragosDash Financial34. John FawcettQuantopian35. Donald
Ross III
PDQ Enterprises
36. Jennifer NayarVela Trading Technologies37. Dan RajuTradier38. Susan EstesOpenDoor Trading39. David MercerLMAX Exchange40. Oki MatsumotoMonex Group