Father Of Modern Algo Trading: Ultra-fast Ordering 'Has No Social Value'

thomas peterffy

Photo: Interactive Brokers

Life stories don’t get much more fascinating than Thomas Peterffy’s.Yesterday, NPR Planet Money correspondent David Kestenbaum (h/t iBankCoin) interviewed the man considered the father of algorithmic trading and learned the following:

He grew up in Communist Hungary and fled to the U.S. at age 21, speaking no English.

In the late ’70s, he built a “proto-iPad” to bring to the trading floor that contained his mathematical shortcuts for beating the market,.

And a decade later, he had built an actual robot with rubber fingers to type trading orders into a NASDAQ terminal. 

But Peterffy, now chairman of Interactive Brokers, now believes the trading speed arms race “has no social value,” and he now favours more regulation that would include more safeguards. 

Listen to the full interview on NPR.org.


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