Summer C-Level Series: Danny Friel, ISE Holdings
What have been the major themes of your business so far this year?
Within the options industry, some of the major themes include increased focus on risk management functionality and technology stability – ISE remains very active on both fronts. Through the first half of 2014, we strengthened our risk management initiatives by developing the Market-Wide Speed Bump, rolled out additional price protection for vertical spreads, and continued enhancements to our T7 trading platform. Internally, technology stability has been at the forefront of our work and we have done a lot with Software Deployment Automation. By automating many of the operational and recovery features of our trading system, we have taken a proactive step in eliminating manual risks. It speaks to the technology stability and the resiliency that we have invested in 2014 that the ISE and ISE Gemini markets have had a 100% uptime in 2014.
What has surprised you in 2014?
What has surprised me thus far is the fact that we are now about seven years out of the financial crisis and the economy is still fairly sluggish. Our industry has certainly been impacted by the prolonged downturn. As a result, year-after-year, we have a continued focus on expense reduction. Typically, when you are looking to reduce expenses, you are sacrificing things like reliability, stability, levels of back up, etc., but in this case, we have managed to really buckle down financially without sacrificing the resiliency of our technology, or our ability to innovate. Since the financial downturn, our budgets are under more pressure, and the first half of 2014 has shown that we can still manage those costs and remain resilient and competitive.
What are your expectations for the duration of 2014?
On the regulatory front, there is a lot to look forward to during the remainder of 2014. Our focus is on the Consolidated Audit Trail, Reg SCI, and lending support to the working group that the SEC created comprised of FINRA and the SROs to focus on the SIPs. As part of the different risk management and regulatory initiatives, we are also involved in industry efforts for cyber security, which is an area of constant vigilance for the financial markets.