Commentary

Tim Quast
Traders Magazine Online News

We're All HFTs Now

In this guest commentary, author Tim Quast looks back at the history of HFT and how the market has evolved to where many firms now fit the definition of high-frequency trader.

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October 14, 2009

Feature Sidebar: The Band Together Again

By Nina Mehta

Although Kevin Foley heads Aqua Securities, he didn't launch the crossing platform all by himself. Sure, he was the one at eSpeed who realized that there was still a crying need for block trading platforms, despite the success of Liquidnet and Pipeline Trading Systems. But when it came time to figuring out what to do, he turned to former Bloomberg colleagues Andrew Fishkind and Brian Gay. "Basically we put the band back together at Aqua," Foley said.

The three had worked together in the late 1990s. Back then, Foley was CEO of Bloomberg Tradebook. That was the era when new trading platforms were bringing competition and change to the Nasdaq market. Bloomberg Tradebook, which launched in December 1996, was one of the first ECNs when the Securities and Exchange Commission's Order Handling Rules came into force in January 2007. In 2004, after 14 years at Bloomberg, Foley left to become president of eSpeed.

Fishkind landed at Bloomberg's B-Trade Services in the late 1990s, where he helped develop and position Bloomberg Tradebook. Earlier, from 1987 to 1996, he held several senior positions at Instinet. After Bloomberg, he worked at institutional broker UNX and then consulted for buyside and sellside firms, helping develop electronic trading systems and products.

"Kevin said he needed help figuring out what to do in institutional equities trading," Fishkind recalled. "It was the kind of nebulous job description I could get my arms around."

Gay was at Bloomberg LP for six years starting in 1997. He managed the client connectivity group, which handled front-end trading connections for clients, the Bloomberg OMSs, Bloomberg's IOI platform and Tradebook ECN. "My career has been spent squarely on top of the fence, straddling business and technology," Gay said. "I talked technology to business guys and talked business to technology guys." He eventually went to TransactTools (now part of NYSE Euronext's technology group), before joining the Aqua effort in mid-2006.

 

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