Spun out from Knight Capital Group in 2007 and now owned by a consortium consisting of Knight, Citadel Derivatives Group, Goldman Sachs & Co., International Securities Exchange and JPMorgan Chase & Co., Direct Edge had a fantastic year in 2009, exults CEO William OBrien.
We burst on the scene and became the third-largest [U.S.] exchange, he says. We were the only one growing. Direct Edge surged to that level its 10.9 percent market share, as of April, trailing only the New York Stock Exchange (26.3 percent) and Nasdaq OMX (22.2 percent) as an alternative trading system. Direct Edge obtained SEC approval in March to become an exchange; the transition starts in early July, and will take two to three weeks. To prepare, Direct Edge has been replacing its core technology and moving to a new data center. The platform proved its mettle during the May 6 meltdown when Direct Edge helped take a load off the overheated NYSE.
OBrien, 39, a former Nasdaq senior vice president, has been at the helm since 2007. He joined Nasdaq in 2004 when it acquired Brut ECN, where OBrien, a University of Pennsylvania law graduate, was general counsel and later COO.
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