A trading veteran has joined startup exchange IEX as it goes after the marquee business of NYSE and Nasdaq

Brad Katsuyama, chief executive of IEX GroupBrad Katsuyama, chief executive of IEX Group, is pictured at IEX’s new office space in 2014
  • A former sales and trading director at Instinet has joined the listings team at upstart stock exchange IEX.
  • Jon Simblist, who started in January, joins the firm at a critical point as it seeks to lure listings from its larger rivals NYSE and Nasdaq.

A veteran of the sales and trading world has joined upstart IEX at a critical junction in the young stock exchange’s life.

Jon Simblist, a former derivatives sales and trading director at Instinet, is now on the listings team at IEX, the former dark pool made famous in Michael Lewis’ “Flash Boys,” according to his LinkedIn profile.

Simblist, who’s career in sales and trading spans more than a decade, was most recently a senior sales consultant at Eze Castle Integration, a tech provider to hedge funds.

He also held positions at Bank of America, Convergex, and Macro Risk Advisors. IEX declined to comment on the matter.

Simblist joins IEX at critical time for its listings business, which the company got the green-light to launch in October. The exchange is currently trying to snag listings from its larger rivals, the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.

A person familiar with the company’s operations told Business Insider a couple of companies, including a large asset manager, are lined up for a possible switch.

The scandal surrounding casino tycoon Steve Wynn, who came under fire for allegations of sexual misconduct, could prove to be a speed bump for the exchange. Some market watchers expected Wynn’s company – Wynn Resorts – to be IEX’s first switch. But that’s less certain now.

“He might be ousted and the upper management could be switched out,” an industry insider told Business Insider. “That would hit the pause button on any switch.”

There’s a lot riding on IEX getting a listing. A boost in the number of companies listed on its exchange will likely translate into a boost in the amount of trading that takes place on the exchange, as stocks are more likely to trade on the exchange they are listed on, particularly when the market opens and closes. This could help boost IEX’s 2% market share. In addition, having a well-known company switch would represent an endorsement of IEX’s market model, and help further boost its visibility.

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