To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Pro?t & Loss, the editorial team has been discussing those people that have really made a difference in our industry. It is not just about those at the helm of one of the biggest organisations in the business, we have also tried to capture the spirit of Forex by honouring those that have worked hard behind the scenes, driven innovation, or consistently raised standards for the industry.
We also asked you, our readers, to nominate for one position among the inaugural 10, and several of our inductees were proposed by readers. Unfortunately, not all of the 33 people that were nominated can be included in the class of ’09; however, we will unveil further inductees at the annual Forex Network Chicago conference every year going forward, so our Hall of Fame will continue to grow.
For now, it is with great pleasure that we unveil the 10 inaugural members of our industry to be honoured in the Hall of Fame, as well as a special Lifetime Achievement Award.
With a derivatives and sales background, Zar Amrolia’s route to the top of Deutsche Bank’s foreign exchange business mirrors several others in the profession. What makes him stand out is his early commitment and belief in the e-channel as a way of developing and growing a truly global FX operation.
That belief has seen him finish the work started by such predecessors as Michael deSa, Hal Herron and Jim Turley and establish Deutsche Bank in the eyes of many as the number one forex bank. Amrolia joined Deutsche Bank initially in 1995 from Credit Suisse on the FX options desk. Following the bank’s merger with Bankers Trust, he was named head of e-commerce and led the newly-merged bank’s program to roll out its e-platform, fxmarkets.com. In 2000, Amrolia set a first for Goldman Sachs’ FX business when he became the first appointee at partner level to come from outside the firm, although he returned to Deutsche as global head of sales in 2004.
The snippet of background on Goldman Sachs gives an insight into one of the key reasons Amrolia is among our inaugural inductees – the respect he provokes among competitors. It is not only about the respect, it is about the challenge that he has laid down to the industry: if you want to succeed you have to aspire to the standards he has established at Deutsche Bank since taking over the FX business in 2006.
He was an early protagonist for the e-channel in the sales relationship – a view that was not universally endorsed by FX salespeople around the world, but one that has been proved right. He promoted the notion that the e-channel enhances the sales relationship – and by association, the ability of a salesperson to better service clients.
Growth in the modern era of foreign exchange has been all about attracting clients; as global head of sales, Amrolia not only led the teams that established Deutsche at the top of the tree, he then moved on to run the entire business.
As noted by a correspondent to the Hall of Fame, Amrolia continues to push the technology envelope of FX productivity, efficiency and evolution, and his tireless and incessant drive to catapult the product forward, faster and smarter, have undoubtedly helped FX attain the status of the market’s favourite son.
He is a visionary and innovator and has also had that crucial talent to spot, recruit and develop human capital. Above all, he is a leader who inspires those around him.
Peter Bartko’s three designations at EBS notwithstanding, he may have been better described as Chief Negotiator, for getting 12 of the world’s leading FX banks to agree to cooperate while remaining fierce competitors is no mean feat. His oft-uttered phrase: “Are we having fun yet?” says it all.
Bartko has been at the forefront of change in the global banking and financial markets industries for many years, most significantly as the founder and, for 10 years, the chairman and CEO of EBS, the world’s largest OTC interbank FX broking platform.
Bartko’s 40-year career reflects his skill as an architect and driver of change. Indeed, his vision and drive were key to the successful creation of electronic trading in FX, leading to a revolution in dealing practices and a fundamental change in the way banks deal today.
In formulating EBS, Bartko brought together the leaders of a diverse group of the world’s top FX banks and persuaded them to work together to create a competitive challenge to Reuters and the voice brokers. The fact that these market-leading and competing banks agreed to do something that would inevitably reduce their own margins, but would ultimately ensure that they continued to have a significant stake in their own market, is a testament to Bartko’s negotiating and stakeholder management skills.
He had earlier been responsible for a multi-bank project aimed at reducing FX settlement risk that subsequently became FXNet, a consortium of 17 banks that built the first private sector netting service available to banks.
Bartko played a unique role in persuading the initial 10 EBS partner banks to invest $3.5 million each to fund the launch of EBS, and later introduced two further investors to the business. He also oversaw the acquisition of third-party technology provider, Citicorp Dealing Resources, as well as the merger of Japanese-owned Minex Corp.
Prior to EBS, Bartko spent 23 years at Chemical Bank, where he held a number of senior positions. He also sat on the UK’s FX Joint Standing Committee, the Fed’s FX Committee and the ECB’s FX Contact Group. Bartko recently came out of retirement and is again active in the FX market, joining BGC Partners to start a new interbank trading business.
Bartko is undoubtedly a force for change, an influencer of market behaviour and an individual who is most deserved of his place in the Profit & Loss Hall of Fame.
The hardest decision one has to make when introducing David Clark is which title to use – he is possibly the busiest man in the markets… considering he is officially retired!
In addition to his above role, Clark is also a non-executive director of Tullett Prebon and Westpac (Europe) and senior advisor to currency overlay firm GFTA. He is also chairman of Charity Bank, holds the position of honorary president of ACI – The Financial Markets Association and of ACI UK, and sits on ACI’s Board of Education. He has a keen interest in operations and risk management and has served on a number of Basel II working groups.
Clark is an alumni of Bankers Trust, and has also held senior positions at Commerzbank, Midland Bank and HSBC in his trading career. He closed the trading room aspect of his career with a stint as managing director in the UK of Bankgesellschaft Berlin, before moving to become senior advisor to the Major Financial Groups Division of the UK’s Financial Services Authority.
What epitomises Clark’s commitment to the financial markets is probably his stint as president of ACI – The Financial Markets Association from 1992-1995. At a time when the FX market in particular was under attack from politicians and media alike, Clark rose to the challenge, most famously when responding to then-German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt’s accusation that forex dealers were “petty bank clerks” and “idiots” at the time of the European Rate Mechanism crisis of the early 1990s.
With the industry on the front pages as well as the business pages, Clark wrote an open letter to Herr Schmidt, refuting his claims and establishing firmly that the industry was not to blame for the financial crisis. Scroll forward 16 years and once again the financial markets are under scrutiny, only this time it is the hedge funds and derivative traders that are under the scope.
The point is that David Clark is passionate about this industry and will do everything in his power to protect its reputation. He understands the importance of education, as witnessed by his work with both WMBA and ACI – and was a prime mover in the establishment of an ACI Institute that helped raise educational standards globally.
Clark epitomises all that is good in the foreign exchange market – convivial company, long experience, a great leader – and the willingness, indeed determination to help others, both in and out of the markets.
At the age of just 15, Mike Eastaway got his first bank job – but not the one you’d think. Sweeping the car park at the former Bank of New South Wales, Eastaway’s ebullient personality soon caught the eye of the bank manager and landed him inside the bank, and within a few years, inside the dealing room.
At 21, Eastaway started his dealing career in an unlikely location – Papua New Guinea – where he got his introduction to FX. Once back in Australia, Eastaway worked his way up and, at the age of 25, opened the Melbourne dealing room for the bank. He went overseas, working in New York and London, but returned to Sydney in 1983 to head the spot trading desk of Westpac when Australia announced the deregulation of its financial markets. While working for Westpac, Eastaway sat in one of the hottest seats of his career – chief dealer for the biggest bank in the market when the Australian dollar floated in November of that year.
After a year’s sabbatical at the end of the 1980s, Eastaway returned to the markets with a new mission. He resumed his banking career at NAB and got involved with ACI – The Financial Markets Association, where he focused on education and training, taking on positions as secretary and treasurer for ACI, as well as president for the Australian chapter. He was later elected vice president of ACI, and headed its Strategic Planning Group.
Eastaway was one of the founders of Australia’s spot FX dealing simulation course and his enthusiasm has helped hundreds of young traders develop their skills in both developed and emerging markets. “I saw an opportunity to give back something to the industry that I’ve worked in for more than 30 years,” he says. “Even with the advancement of electronic trading, we have to remember that people are still the most important element of this market.”
Eastaway retired from banking after a 27-year career in 2005. But instead of taking it easy, he chose to throw his considerable energy and enthusiasm into what had been a parallel career to date – promoting and maintaining the professionalism of the market.
Today he serves as training manager at AFMA Services, a unit of the Australian Financial Markets Association, which is responsible (among other things) for managing the training and accreditation programmes in Australia’s financial markets.
Eastaway is a unique individual in the market – the industry is lucky to have him. His boundless energy, deep devotion to the human element of the market, and avid focus on professionalism secures his much-deserved place in the Profit & Loss Hall of Fame.
Mark Galant’s career path prior to Gain Capital saw him trade for his own account; work for one of the largest global macro managers; run the FX options trading businesses of two global banking giants; and become a key executive in a technology company. This experience has clearly stood him in good stead, for while several of our Hall of Famers also attracted nominations from our poll, Galant far and away won the most votes from our readers – and is therefore the 2009 People’s Choice for the Profit & Loss Hall of Fame.
Experience at firms such as Tudor Investment Corp., Chemical Bank, Credit Suisse and FNX clearly provided the grounding for his decision to establish Gain Capital in the retail FX industry. That decision was taken at a time when few saw the potential for retail FX, and even fewer foresaw that it would become the huge business it is today.
In 1999 when Gain Capital opened for business, it was early days in the e-FX space – and earlier still in retail FX. Under Galant’s stewardship, Gain achieved significant year-on-year growth for nearly a decade before he stepped down as CEO in mid-2007. Founded by bankers, Gain Capital was, and is, widely recognised as the firm that did things right – as highlighted by several of the comments we received alongside his nomination.
With a big emphasis on education, Galant ensured that new traders to the FX market were protected from the most dangerous influences on their profitability – themselves! To this end, we received several comments regarding his co-authorship of “Trading for Dummies”, a book many cited as an ideal entry to forex trading.
With Gain Capital and Forex.com, its platform aimed at the smaller end of the retail spectrum, Galant pulled together a team that has established itself as one of the leaders in retail FX – meeting the needs of what could be the broadest customer base in the business. The “inclusiveness” of the platform was mentioned by several respondents – a reflection of his career background.
Ultimately though, this is the People’s Choice, so we shall close with comments from some of those that nominated him.
- “He has made a significant contribution to the growth of the industry.”
- “He ensures his people employ the highest standards and service pro- vision.”
- “He made Gain Capital the best forex broker in the retail FX market.”
- “He provides vision, support, insight, and leadership”
- “Great teacher, great trader, great guy!”
For all the words used above to describe Leo Melamed, “trader” is probably the most apt, for without that innate drive, it’s difficult to imagine how this man could have achieved all that he has.
His induction into the Profit & Loss Hall of Fame is unquestionable, and yet another example of how chance and happenstance has aided in the development of the foreign exchange industry as a whole.
Arriving in Chicago with his family in 1941 after a two-year ordeal to flee Eastern Europe, Melamed’s path could easily have taken him in another direction. Having studied law, Melamed applied for a job in 1953 as a runner at what he unwittingly thought was a law firm, but which was in fact a member firm of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. With this fateful start, Melamed’s love of the markets was set in motion.
By January 1969, Melamed, aged 37, became the youngest man to be appointed chairman of the Merc. He was re-elected to successive terms and by late 1971, unveiled plans for the world’s first futures market for financial instruments, the International Monetary Market (IMM), a separate but affiliated entity of the CME.
In the years that followed, Melamed led the CME in the introduction of futures in currency (1972), Treasury Bills (1976), Eurodollars (1981), and stock indices (1982). In 1987, he spearheaded the introduction of Globex, the world’s first futures electronic trading system, and became its founding chairman.
Melamed spent much of 1972 touting the “dawn of the financial futures revolution”, in particular, the fledgling currency futures contracts. “It is our view that a market in currency will become viable only through the interaction of speculative and commercial activity in an open, free and competitive arena,” he says in his book, “Melamed on the Markets”. Melamed noted that the uniformity unique to the futures markets is the “quintessential ingredient of their existence”. “This ingredient makes it possible for every participant to offset an existing market position… the exchange becomes the clearinghouse of all the transactions… No similar capability exists in the interbank market. It is the underpinning of liquidity in futures.”
CME’s currency futures launched on May 16, 1972 to wide acclaim, and today many of the original reasons behind the birth of these contracts remain in place today.
In addition to his role at CME, Melamed is chairman and CEO of Melamed & Associates, a global consulting group. He is also a member of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Technology Advisory Committee and a special advisor to the National Futures Association.
Virginia Parker is well-known for developing industry-recognised performance benchmarks for foreign exchange. She has been involved in investment management since 1981 when she began managing equity and fixed income investments for a family office.
In 1988, she joined Ferrell Capital Management, a company she helped build from a start-up into a successful alternative investment firm. Her work on FX indices first began here in 1990, while serving as MD of research and risk management. The firm’s clients at the time were the treasury divisions of commercial banks. The FX prop traders within these banks were asking for a benchmark to measure their performance against, so Parker stepped up. She created the Ferrell FX Index, and when she left the firm to start her own in 1995, Parker Global Strategies, she took over the index and renamed it the Parker FX Index and introduced the concept of tracking risk-adjusted returns.
Parker found that when looking at FX managers there can be an enormous range of annualised volatility of returns, from 2% to upwards of 20%. In order to put managers on a similar playing field, Parker risk-adjusted all the managers to 5% annualised volatility to provide a better view of their true annual returns. Respected managers and academics often refer to the Index as by far the best available because of how it measures performance, both in reported and risk-adjusted terms.
In 1996, Parker wrote a paper looking at the concept of using currency trading as an alpha generator for international bond and equity investment portfolios. A Canadian pension fund client began doing this just shortly after the paper was published. Today, it is more the norm than the exception for investors to use one or more managers as alpha generators to hedge currency risk.
Parker is showing no signs of slowing down. Over the past year, her firm has been mapping currency managers against different risk factors. As part of this research, Parker has mapped 80 managers and found nine different factors – with no two currency managers being the same. PGS recently announced a partnership with BlackTree Investment Partners, a firm founded by ex-Lehman executives, to create and launch a new suite of currency indices.
Firm-wide, Parker has just under $800 million under management and within FX, has $180 million under management. Parker says she first became interested in FX as an asset class because of its low correlation, good liquidity and flexibility, although, she notes, “FX is still the hardest place to make money!”
Ivan Ritossa is a graduate of one of the better “colleges” in the FX market – Bankers Trust. From his early days at BT Australia, Ritossa has exhibited drive, focus and the ability to embrace innovation – qualities he has brought to his role at Barclays Capital, which he joined in London in March 2002.
Within a year of his arrival, the bank increased its market share by 50%; just two years into the role and he’d brought in more than 80 new faces.
The pace of change has not abated in the seven years he has been with Barclays. In his first year in charge, Barclays’ FX business reported revenues of £498 million. Last year that had nearly tripled to £1.272 billion.
Ritossa likes to give credit where credit is due and is quick to point to his team. “You must have a view on how the industry is going to evolve, and then know the strengths of the organisation to see what place it has in that space,” Ritossa said. “It’s about getting the right platform, the right team and the right culture.”
Identifying good people is a critical and not always present trait in managers; however, it is testimony to the quality of people under Ritossa that two other members of Barclays’ FX team were nominated in our People’s Choice category.
Upon joining, Ritossa made it clear that his plan for growth was by way of innovation and efficiency – and that meant e-commerce. As he told Profit & Loss at the time, “Expanding the bank’s client footprint is key, and this must be product-led.”
The firm is now reaping the rewards of that strategy and has executed a solid, inventive and broad e-commerce strategy which has seen the bank’s trading platform, BARX, rise to the top of the industry. Its technology has consistently pushed boundaries. One of the key releases links in with another of our inaugural Hall of Famers, Doug York – that of Precision Pricing. Barclays was initially criticised in some quarters for releasing technology that allowed it to price clients to a fifth decimal point in all currency pairs, but not only was the product well-received by clients, it has since been adopted as an industry standard.
In March 2007, Ritossa transferred from London to Singapore to take up additional responsibilities as head of rates, for Asia-Pacific. Stressing his experience and track record, Barclays Capital’s co-president Jerry Del Messier highlighted Ritossa as the ideal man for the new role in Asia – and peer and manager recognition remains the best endorsement anyone can have in this industry.
Anyone pondering Jas Singh’s impact on the FX industry need only look back to the turn of the century when electronic trading was just starting to get off the ground. The company he founded, AVT Technologies, provided the technology behind just about every early adopter bank platform out there – as well as a few of the multibank portals.
It can be argued that he and his firm helped to transform the FX industry, for his systems were at the heart of the banks that got their technology right from the start – The Bank of New York and UBS were among those early adopters. The technology was quickly harnessed by the new generation of multi-contributor portals, FXall and SwapsWire among them. While FXall’s chief rival, Atriax, never got out of the gates, AVT powered on.
In 2001, although ultimately an ill-fated project, AVT provided the technology behind EBS Trader, the firm’s Internet-based conversational dealing product that, paradoxically, was intended to challenge Reuters’ dominance in this field.
Reuters itself snapped up AVT in 2002, and the acquisition, along with its team, has aided the industry giant in growing its technology business. A measure of the man is the respect Singh engenders, and maintains, both during and after the transition from small niche company to industry giant. Although the scale of the two firms is quite different, Singh adheres to his original principles and one of his tenets – to be a trusted, neutral provider to the industry.
Prior to AVT, Singh was chief operating officer, FX and money markets at JP Morgan, during which time he became one of the founder executive board members of EBS.
Always a thinker, Singh is also one of the most interesting people to converse with over the industry’s evolution – never afraid of a “different” idea or one that challenges the popular conception. His preference is to promote development and investment in technology in the FX markets – a belief that makes him a very good man to work for – for he is always looking for the next generation product.
Singh has had a direct impact in revolutionising the FX market by providing solutions that have increased price transparency and workflow efficiencies. He therefore can rightly claim (although he is too modest to do so of course) to have been a prime driver of the FX market’s growth over the past 10 years.
More specifically, he has been a central figure and played a significant part in shaping the e-FX market as it stands today.
Doug York is a man unafraid to suggest what may appear to be unpalatable ideas to some. In part that is down to his career background, which has taken in banking, corporate and asset management sectors and given him a wide perspective on our industry.
York’s grounding in the industry came in the banking industry at First National Bank of Maryland, First Chicago and Bank Brussels Lambert in Baltimore, New York and London. He joined Campbell & Company in 1992 from Black & Decker, where he was head of foreign exchange trading, and rose to become executive vice president and head trader at Campbell, before he retired in August 2005.
Although the firm was not particularly involved in the high frequency space, current members of that market segment should give thanks to York for helping to lay the groundwork that established a market infrastructure without which, high frequency would be nowhere near as successful a strategy as it is.
Unpopular as it may have been at the time, York’s opinions were based upon his experience and his solid belief. He was an early advocate of the benefits of allowing “clients” onto matching engines and argued thoughtfully about the impact of prime brokerage in FX. More pertinently, he was one of the few members of our industry that was not afraid to call for dramatic change.
In addition to his call for banks to allow fund managers onto the matching platforms, it was York that sat in front of an audience of bankers at a Profit & Loss conference and suggested that if pricing from banks was a little tighter – specifically, went to a fifth decimal place – then client volumes would rise dramatically. As is often the case with innovators, many of York’s bankers were sceptical, but the facts speak for themselves.
As the matching engines were opened to hedge funds and their brethren – pricing became tighter and then, led by Barclays Capital, the banking industry started pricing certain currencies and clients to the extra decimal place. This is efficiency in action and was a key element of the explosive growth in foreign exchange market volumes.
As a trader, York was well-respected by his peers and was responsible for changing the way people thought about executing business – and how liquidity providers thought about pricing. He was a focal point among those who moved the industry forward and left a legacy for many in the industry to benefit from. He demanded change, and got it.
And he was a very good trader to boot.
John Christopherson has many friends around the world as a result of the 41 years he has dedicated to the industry.
Like many early entrants, Christopherson’s move onto the FX desk was one of happenstance. Born in England in 1932, he moved to Toronto at the age of 21, where he got his first job as a bank teller at the former Imperial Bank of Canada. After two years, the bank moved him into the FX trading division, “an area where nobody wanted to work,” he tells Profit & Loss. “My qualifications? Well, first off, I was an accurate teller, but perhaps more importantly was my nationality. In Canada, there were virtually only two foreign currencies – the US dollar and the pound – so being British, the bank figured I’d be good at foreign exchange because I could count in pounds, shillings and pence!”
Christopherson took that lucky break and repaid the industry in kind, spending much of his career dedicated to the advancement of the industry through senior roles at ACI – The Financial Markets Association chapters in three countries (including President of the associations in Canada and the US), a first we think.
He worked in the New York office of Continental Bank and later as chief trader of Continental’s London branch. During his time in London he was elected as a committee member of the London Forex Club, a predecessor of ACI UK.
He returned to Canada in 1972, with Bank of Montreal as senior manager with global responsibilities for FX and Eurodollar activities. While there, he was instrumental in founding the Forex Association of Canada (predecessor of the ACI chapter) and was its first president.
Christopherson moved back to New York in 1975 as a senior vice president with United California Bank International. He left UCBI in 1975 and became FX manager of Chemical Bank.
He was elected president of the US chapter of ACI and held that position for two years. Subsequent to Chemical, he was with the Bank of New York as FX manager. He served as treasurer and senior vice president of Commercial Bank of Kuwait, New York and finally as treasurer and FX manager of Banco Portugues do Atlantico, New York until his retirement in 1994.
During his career, he served as an alternative member of the Fed’s FX Committee, and later as a full member for three years. He was a member and vice-chairman of ACI’s Committee for Professionalism for many years.