As one of the founding members of the Investors Exchange, network and infrastructure expert Ronan Ryan is part of the team working to restore trust to the stock market, as chronicled in Michael Lewis’ latest best-seller, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt. One of the most provocative books ever to hit the financial market, the story reveals how computerized high-frequency trading (HFT) has allowed certain Wall Street players to work the stock market to their advantage. Brad Katsuyama (former Head of Electronic Trading at RBC and President of IEX) was one of the first to notice how the HFTs were costing his clients millions of dollars. To better understand the technology at the root of such losses (known as “flash crashes”), Brad consulted Ryan, whose network and cable infrastructure expertise had helped some of the world’s fastest traders become faster.
Ryan was one of few stock market insiders with intimate knowledge of the the inner-workings of HFT. “I learned more from talking to him in an hour than I learned from six months of reading about [high-frequency trading],” Katsuyama says. “The second I met him, I wanted to hire him.” As Chief Strategy Officer, Ryan, along with Brad and a handful of colleagues, devised a plan to identify and correct the effects of HFT tactics with the creation of IEX (the Investors Exchange), an upstart stock trading venue designed to institutionalize fairness in the market through the use of technology.