IEX CEO Brad Katsuyama talks about disrupting Wall Street and the power of 'Flash Boys' on the upstart exchange
- Brad Katsuyama, the CEO of upstart stock exchange IEX, didn't realize how hard disrupting Wall Street would be.
- Katsuyama, who came to prominence as the star of Michael Lewis' 2014 best-selling " Flash Boys," said without the book, "I'm not sure if I'm sitting here for a stock exchange right now."
- Katsuyama spoke on Tuesday at Business Insider's IGNITION 2018 conference.
Disrupting Wall Street is hard.
Brad Katsuyama, the CEO of upstart stock exchange IEX, just didn't realize how hard."There was a naivety about me in thinking there was going to be a fight, but not fully appreciating how big of a fight it would be," he said on Tuesday at Business Insider's IGNITION 2018 conference in New York.
Katsuyama, who came to prominence as the star of Michael Lewis' 2014 best-selling " Flash Boys," said without the book, "I'm not sure if I'm sitting here for a stock exchange right now."
Katsuyama founded IEX in 2012 as a new trading venue that aims to thwart the advantages that he says predatory high frequency traders enjoy on incumbent exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.
But by setting out to change how traditional US stock markets function, Katsuyama found himself fighting against big Wall Street players.
"Anytime you want to make something simpler, the people who benefit from the complexity do not want that to happen," he said. "Michael [Lewis] said, 'if you're taking billions of dollars out of people's pockets, they're going to be really angry.'"Up next for IEX is a building out a new listings business. In September, the exchange snagged its first listing, Interactive Brokers, from rival Nasdaq. A boost in the number of companies listed on IEX would likely mean an increase in the amount of trading that takes place on it, as stocks are more likely to trade on the exchange on which they are listed.
Katsuyama said his pitch to companies to switch their listing venue over to IEX is simple.
"We're the only stock exchange that aligns the interests of investors and companies," he said. "When we talk to companies, we say you and the investor are the two most important parts of the market and we have tremendous support from investors and we want to build a relationship with you. Most of them haven't been talked to that way ... we're different, we stand for something, we're a value-based decision and a lot of CFOs are trying to make value-based decisions."