Despite his 19 years as CEO of New Yorkbased Cantor Fitzgerald, Howard Lutnick cant be pigeonholed as a mere broker. Throughout his career he has been building technologies his name is on a few dozen patents and technology-based businesses, most prominently eSpeed, which Cantor spun off and took public in 1999 and merged with another Cantor offshoot, interdealer brokerage BGC Partners, in 2008.
Last year he helped launch ELX Futures exchange, powered by eSpeed and a minority BGC stake. We are the leader in converting over-the-counter markets to electronics, Lutnick, 48, says of BGC, which at its 2004 inception represented a rebirth of Cantors voice brokerage business after it was decimated by the terrorist attacks of September 2001.
BGC has expanded to 20 offices worldwide with more than 1,400 brokers. It has initiatives under way in 40 countries, up from ten at the time of the eSpeed merger. Lutnick says the business is exploding, in part fueled by growth in sovereign-debt credit default swaps. BGC reported a healthy 68.7 percent year-over-year rise in aftertax distributable earnings for the first quarter, to $38.1 million. Revenue from fully electronic trading on everything from U.S. and foreign government securities to currency options and CDSs jumped 57.9 percent, to $31.3 million, or 9 percent of BGCs total.
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