Brian Hyndman wanted to be a stockbroker growing up and that is what he became, starting out by working for Waterhouse Securities. But his career would be driven by the innovations and new technologies adopted by the markets and he would play a central part.
Hyndman was interviewed by John Lothian News for The Path to Electronic Trading video series.
While many of the stories JLN has told have centered on futures or options trading, Hyndman’s career has been in equities, though he did take a turn in cryptoland before returning to equities with Blue Ocean. He was the subject of a JLN interview we published on May 25, 2022, “Blue Ocean Technologies CEO Brian Hyndman Sees Clear Sailing For ATA In Overnight Trading.”
After two years at Waterhouse Securities, Hyndman joined a startup firm called National Discount Brokers (“NDB”) that was famous for having a mallard duck as part of its logo. NDB was run by Arthur Kontos, and a firm called Sherwood Securities started the firm.
The technological advantage NDB had in the early days was that they were pioneers in touchtone phone trading. Clients could key in trading information into their phone, and it would then be transmitted to a printer where a team of three people would read the information and key it into the internal order entry system.
This was the first step towards today’s trading on your phone, Hyndman said.
Hyndman moved to Chicago to open a satellite office for NDB there, and then after two years moved back to New Jersey to run a call center. The last year he was at NDB he ran the trading department, he said.
One of the biggest problems NDB had was managing its growth. Customers would sometimes be left holding for many minutes to reach a customer representative, so NDB created some working groups to address the issue. One solution was to create a list of frequently asked questions that they could have available on the phone system for customers to listen to, which would help reduce the wait times.
Hyndman’s next step would be into the world of ECNs or electronic communication networks. Reg ATS had been approved by the SEC and new alternative trading systems were popping up, including ECNs.
Hyndman met Bob Greifeld, who had developed the Brass order routing system for Nasdaq stocks. They built the Brute ECN together. Eventually, Sungard bought Brass and Brute, and Greifeld and Hyndman came along.
Hyndman helped Sungard upgrade its technology to grow its market share of Nasdaq stocks.
Nasdaq then showed up and bought Brute and Brass from Sungard, and Hyndman followed. Nasdaq began trading NYSE stocks through the Brut ECN and eventually overtook NYSE for trading volume of NYSE listed stocks, something they pointed out in a Wall Street Journal advertisement, Hyndman said.
After Nasdaq, Hyndman left to explore the world of crypto at Paxos before eventually working his way back to equities with Blue Ocean.