CBOE Lifer Ed Provost Reflects on Nearly 42 Years at the Exchange

Spencer Doar

Spencer Doar

Associate Editor

Ed Provost retired as CBOE president and COO after the completion of the Bats deal. It marked an end to a 40-plus year career at the exchange.

One of 13 kids, Provost came from a largely musical family. He was always interested in markets due to his father’s rapt attention to early television coverage of stocks, and Provost thought he would go the traditional financial path by entering the banking industry. In the end, it was the chance choice of the then upstart CBOE as subject matter for a college paper which exposed him to the fledgling options exchange industry.

Before long, Provost was working in the small regulatory division of the exchange, monitoring the pits. He would spend some 10 years in the regulatory side of the business. Eventually, then- President Chuck Henry spotted Provost’s potential and moved him into operations. By then an officer, Provost was in the thick of technology’s evolving role in trading, aiding efforts and investments which resulted in the innovative Hybrid Trading System. Before an increased reliance on electronics, much of the day to day operational activities involved resolving out trades. 

After 15 years in operations, Provost moved to business development, helping expand the CBOE’s footprint among different end users and increasing the exchange’s marketing activities.  During his tenure in business development, the CBOE’s volumes tripled. But the crowning moment of Provost’s career was his appointment as president and COO in 2013.

A severe fire, demutualization and going public, market fragmentation, extreme market volatility, the resurgence of the Blackhawks — Provost saw it all in his nearly 42-year career at the CBOE.

Now, Provost said he has more opportunity to focus on philanthropy, specifically improving financial literacy in Illinois. He also plans on spending some time improving his golf game, since around the CBOE he is known as the “world’s worst avid golfer.”

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