Brad Katsuyama, the trader turned famous overnight by the Michael Lewis novel Flash Boys, believes his investor-friendly exchange is gaining ground in its battle against the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.
Katsuyama’s IEX Group only launched in 2016, but today it handles $8 billion to $10 billion of equity trading a day. While that trails IEX’s rivals, it’s more than foreign exchanges like the London Stock Exchange, Deutsche Boerse and the Toronto Stock Exchange.
“We use technology to protect pension funds from getting picked off by high-speed traders,” Katsuyama told CNN Business on the sidelines of the SALT Conference in Las Vegas.
Katsuyama, who played the leading character in the novel Flash Boys, criticized the establishment exchanges for making more money off high-speed data than in their traditional role of matching buyers and sellers.
“It’s like finding out the electricity company makes more money doing something other than selling electricity,” Katsuyama said.
IEX, which has been profitable since its launch, has drawn takeover interest from Silicon Valley.
“We’ve been approached by bigger tech companies,” said Katsuyama, who declined to say when the negotiations took place nor say which firms.
He added that while an IPO of IEX is not in the short-term plans, it’s definitely a long-term option.
IEX also announced on Tuesday the addition of former Democratic SEC commissioner Kara Stein to its board.
“The SEC’s mission is to protect investors and the public. That’s also IEX’s mission in many ways,” said Katsuyama.