CEO JJ Kinahan talks about the journey to rebranding “tastyworks” as “tastytrade,” adding crypto wallet and equities

John Lothian

John Lothian

Executive Chairman and CEO

JJ Kinahan became CEO of IG North America, which consists primarily of tastytrade, tastyworks, and its IG FX Business, on July 1, 2023. The company rebranded tastyworks as tastytrade on February 22, 2023. JLN spoke to Kinahan on that day. 

Kinahan and Tom Sosnoff and Scott Sheridan, the CEOs of tastylive and tastytrade respectively, were at ThinkorSwim when it was sold to TD Ameritrade. Sheridan left but Kinahan stayed on. 

Then Sosnoff started tastytrade as an online video content company to help people understand trading. He soon realized that to monetize the business he had to have his own brokerage firm associated with it. 

They kept the “tastytrade” moniker for the content company.  Sheridan came back and started the brokerage side of the business, which became “tastyworks.”

“I always struggled with, why wouldn’t you have the brokerage firm named tastytrade, because that’s what you do, you trade at the brokerage firm,” Kinahan said. “We had a lot of discussions about it, and we came to the conclusion that we would call our content firm tastylive, because we are doing 10 hours of live programming every day, and then our brokerage firm would become tastytrade. Tastyworks, which was the brokerage firm, is a name we still own but we won’t be using, at least in the near term. So tastytrade is officially our brokerage firm as of today.”

Sosnoff and Tony Battista host a show on tastylive for three hours every morning from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Central Time through the market open, “to help people understand what’s going to go on that day, help understand the first hour and a half of trading,” Kinahan said. 

“We talk a lot about derivatives. We talk about derivatives a little bit differently than others, in terms of limiting your risk as well as trying to make some money,” Kinahan said. “Derivatives shouldn’t be talked about as some scary thing, but rather income enhancers and a way for the retail investor and trader to use their capital more efficiently.”  He said retail traders are underrated for how well they use their capital, because unlike professional traders, “they think about how much money they have in their account before they make the trade.”

They host another show from 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. to help people as they go into the market close. Tastytrade also has co-hosts Liz Dierking and Jenny Andrews, former floor traders as well, who have a slightly different spin on how to think about the markets, Kinahan said. 

“We have some great young people like Anton (Kulikov) and Jermal (Chandler). And we just hired a couple of new people, Delia and Chris, who talk a lot about the FX world and interest rates,” Kinahan said. 

“One of the things we’ve done well is mix male and female, younger and older, floor traders and people who learned the business on their own a bit more, and we present a lot of different viewpoints. We distribute it on YouTube also,” he added.

Among what’s new for tastytrade and IG North America, they just released their crypto wallet and customers will very shortly be able to move money in and out.  

“We had a nice size waiting list for our crypto wallet, and we are getting those people onboarded,” Kinahan said. “We are really excited about what we can do in the crypto space.  We actually see a great opportunity with some of the unfortunate things that have happened to go to someone you trust. We don’t want to release anything that we don’t think is worthy of people’s trust. The opportunity in crypto is absolutely amazing, so you’ll continue to see a lot of development from us.”

Although they made their name in options trading, their futures trading has lately been “fantastic” and their futures options trading has grown significantly, he added. They are now even planning to add equities. 

“People haven’t looked at us as an equity trading firm…but we’ve added a lot of things to our platforms to help those who are involved in trading equities,” he said. 

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