The TabbFORUM 40 honors top innovators in capital markets, leaders whose blend of vision, strategy and execution sets them apart in applying technology for maximum advantage. This second annual list, researched by TabbFORUM Contributing Editor Jeffrey Kutler, recognizes the achievements and influence of 40 outstanding disruptors and difference-makers having the greatest impact at the intersection of finance and technology. Plus, a list of 10 More to Watch.

Innovation isn’t created in a vacuum, and it certainly isn’t everywhere all the time. But when the culture and environment are right, it can be a persistent force for growth and change in businesses and economies, ultimately for the benefit of societies well served by open competition. Financial services has come to embrace innovation as much as any other industry, certainly in parallel with technology, which in turn fuels this particular energy.

The TabbFORUM 40 are a diverse group representing various facets of finance. What they have in common is innovation as an essential ingredient in how their organizations excel. As modern as this phenomenon is, the TabbFORUM 40 includes companies that originated in the 18th century (a predecessor of BNY Mellon, and Intercontinental Exchange’s New York Stock Exchange) along with ventures less than a decade old (BMLL Technologies and Fireblocks among them).

Technology is both “an accelerant and a way forward,” in the words of Brad Levy, CEO of Symphony Communication Services, which was founded in 2014.

“Technology is not the source of all innovation, but it does carry a big stick,” says CEO Billy Hult of Tradeweb, a product of the 1990s “pre-fintech” wave. “Our business has always been about optimizing the balance between humans and technology, so a potential sea change like artificial intelligence and machine learning becomes an opportunity to recalibrate that balance and ask what else can we do for clients.”

Adena Friedman, chair and CEO of Nasdaq, which launched its market in 1971 and now calls itself “a leading global technology company” with a capital markets focus, was asked during the World Economic Forum’s January meeting if economic uncertainty and corporate cutbacks would stifle innovation. “Instead of letting every sprout grow,” she replied, “you’re going to choose which sprouts are going to grow into trees, and you’re going to really go hard after those.”

The 40 honorees include Levy, Hult and Friedman and were selected from TabbFORUM research, with consideration given to nominations and recommendations from the community, and based on qualities of the individual executives including leadership, results and reputation; impact on domestic and/or global markets; achievements both recent and over the course of a career; and pure technology advances, implementations and R&D. Below the 40 are 10 More to Watch on the leading edge of change and innovation in financial markets.

The TabbFORUM 40 2023

10 More to Watch on the leading edge of change and innovation in financial markets


Brian Hyndman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Blue Ocean Technologies

As president of BRUT, and a senior vice president of Nasdaq after it acquired the electronic communications network in 2004, Brian Hyndman had a strong conviction that equities should trade around the clock. Technology didn’t pose an obstacle, and at any given moment, investors could be served regardless of their time zone. Currencies, derivative products and cryptocurrency exchanges were not so time-limited, yet stock markets held to customary business hours. Today, Interactive Brokers and Robinhood are promoting 24-hour trading, but Blue Ocean Technologies closed the “overnight gap” first. Blue Ocean launched its alternative trading system in 2021, open 8:00 pm to 4:00 am New York time, enabling U.S. market access during Asia-Pacific investors’ daytime. By February 2022, through a strategic partnership with Samsung Securities, U.S. equities were trading during local Korean business hours for the first time. A partnership with the Tokyo Stock Exchange resulted in a 5% investment in Blue Ocean. There are additional brokerage connections, along with connectivity and data relationships with the likes of Broadridge, FlexTrade Systems, Intercontinental Exchange and Transaction Network Services. Hyndman, who joined as COO in 2021, became CEO in May 2022, saying at the time that he “was excited to leverage my global electronic trading background to execute on the mission the team set out to fulfill given the overnight gap and new growing on-demand trading needs for investors in today’s 24-hour climate.”

Jeffrey Kutler is contributing editor to TabbFORUM. He is also a contributing editor of Global Association of Risk Professionals’ GARP Risk Intelligence site. He served as editor-in-chief from 2008 through 2019. Before joining GARP, he had senior editorial roles at Institutional Investor, Securities Industry News and American Banker.