John Lothian News recently interviewed the recently retired Piper Sandler Managing Director Rich Repetto for the John Lothian Profiles video series. The interview coincided with Repetto’s recognition by the charity Tuesday’s Children. Repetto shared insights from his career journey in the financial industry, which started rather late. Repetto began work on a Wharton MBA at age 36 after graduating from West Point and serving in the U.S. Army as a helicopter pilot for five years. At Wharton he took every finance class he could to catch up, he said.
Repetto entered Wall Street at 39 and started with menial tasks but credited his West Point background for instilling discipline and understanding the importance of seniority in relation to experience.
He was recruited by Lehman Brothers and joined the firm as part of its MBA class. He said he was not an intuitive trader. He joined the research department and worked for a top ranked credit card analyst. In 1999, he decided to focus on electronic brokers, anticipating their growth potential. He developed a passion for the companies he covered, he said.
Some of Repetto’s favorite executives from his career are the CME Group’s Terry Duffy and ICE’s Jeff Sprecher. He praised Sprecher for always seeing where the puck is going to be. Repetto gave the example of Sprecher seeing beyond electronic trading to the value of clearing and risk management and buying clearinghouses.
Repetto praised Duffy for being a class act and having great relations with investors.
He also expressed critical views of certain companies over the years, like Knight and TD Ameritrade. His criticism of TD Ameritrade was enough to make its owner, Joe Ricketts, call Repetto and ask what he had against the company, Repetto said.
Repetto also praised Ken Griffin for his depth of knowledge and intensity.
Repetto said two things really made his career; electronic trading and volumes. He said the ODTE options were an example of something that stood out enough for him to want to quit his jobs and buy shares in Cboe. He also said he would have bought CME given its historic rise.
He said he probably issued more than a dozen reports after which stocks rallied or dropped more than 10%.
He expressed his contentment in retirement, where he continues to follow the industry’s growth and enjoys the non-working aspects of life, including improving his golf game.
Repetto also discussed his future involvement in charity work, particularly with organizations like Tuesday’s Children, which supports military families and resonates with his background as a helicopter pilot and a passion for giving back. He also said he expected to join some boards, and since this interview was shot Repetto was named to the board of Interactive Brokers.