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February 1, 2013

Opening Up

TD Ameritrade's Jiganti Talks About the Options Mart

By Peter Chapman

Paul Jiganti joined TD Ameritrade in Chicago in July as a managing director, responsible for market structure and routing strategy. He replaced Chris Nagy, who left the broker in May. Jiganti oversees the routing of TD Ameritrade's millions of stock and options orders to wholesalers and exchanges. He spent most of his career working for Susquehanna International Group in Chicago, joining them in 1992, shortly after college. He left Susquehanna and the industry temporarily in 2008, after running the firm's Chicago office for five years. Jiganti took some time out from his busy schedule to chat with Traders Magazine about his time at Susquehanna and his current position.


Traders: How did you get your start in trading?

Jiganti: I started out after college as a clerk for an independent trader on the floor of the CBOE. I was bright enough to know that I could not compete against the likes of Susquehanna. So I decided it was better to join them than fight them. When I joined in 1992, I was the 125th employee. When I left there were 1,600.

Paul Jigante


Traders: What was your experience running the Chicago office?

Jiganti: When I took over the Chicago office in 2004, there were 185 employees. When I left we had 60. It was brutal. The market had become much more electronic, so you didn't need to be on site anymore. We sent many people back to Philadelphia. I left because I didn't want to stick around for any more cutting. So I took some time off to have fun with my family.


Traders: Besides the cutting, what were your responsibilities at Susquehanna?

Jiganti: During that time, I traded everything. I traded at the Board of Trade for about a year. But most of the time it was at CBOE. I ran our desk, the trading operation. I ran the specialist posts. We called them DPMs back then. I traded every day and did all the rest of the stuff on the side. I also sat on the CBOE board for a couple of years.


Traders: You ran the block desk.

Jiganti: Yes. I took over the desk in 2001. We would get the off-floor shows from the big brokers at the exchanges looking for stuff they couldn't get on the floor.


Traders: You also got Susquehanna into the routing business.

Jiganti: Yes. I set up the payment-for-order-flow program. At the time, Susquehanna wanted to get into that game and had no idea how to do it. So I did it. I quickly realized that you had to have a real person who was good at it, instead of someone doing it off the side of their desk. So I hired Joe Selitto. That's my claim to fame. It's the one thing I did that sticks out. Everybody in the industry knows Joe.


Traders: When did Susquehanna get into the PFOF business?