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Thomas Peterffy: A Stubborn, Penniless Refugee at Trader’s Narrative

Institutional Investor did a cover story on the otherwise shy and enigmatic Thomas Peterffy, founder of Interactive Brokers.thomas peterffy interactive brokers.png

Here are some excerpts:

  • Peterffy was born in Budapest during a 1944 bombing raid by the Russians.
  • He came to the US in 1965 and taught himself programming
  • In 1977, he bought an AMEX seat
  • “As I stood on the floor, I was constantly fantasizing about how to put what I was doing into a computer program”
  • IB is one of the biggest market-makers in the world trading in over 9,400 securities on more than 50 exchanges world wide
  • IB has revenues of +$1 billion with half being profits (!)

Reading about Perteffy’s life and accomplishments made me recall this quote:

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
-George Bernard Shaw

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11 Responses to “Thomas Peterffy: A Stubborn, Penniless Refugee”  

  1. 1 estocastica

    Great story. Also, really like your blog — very clear, concise, and insightful trading commentary and analysis.


  2. 2 Babak

    estocastica: thanks for the kind words :)

  3. 3 James Gallagher

    I traded for thomas Peterffy for a long time. I can tell you with a clear conscience that he is a bad man. He pulled the rug out from people that were loyal to him for years! He just took his millions and left us all in the lurch. Before you congratulate a greedy bastard like Peterffy you should look into all the people he laid off while were still making him money. In my oppinion he is nothing more than a coward that has no reguard for others.

  4. 4 Boris

    It’s very stupid to mention a bombing of Budapest by Russians in 1944 as if it was the fault of the Russians that Budapest was occupied by the Nazis. Winston Churchill cried when he saw the footage of Hamburg bombing by the British air force. An idiot can only be happy for ruining of great cities, but to blame saviours of millions of people is an act of atrocity itself.

  5. 5 John

    James Gallagher .Is it just that you are bitter about being laid off or is he more sinister.

  6. 6 Tom D

    I worked with Thomas on some issues concerning the IB trading platform back in the late 90’s. I found him to be very generous and gracious. Sometime companies have to reduce their workforce, you leave and move on with your life, don’t moan about it.

    Ultimately we are responsible for ourselves. Keep that in mind when you vote in November.

  7. 7 Barry Luke

    You are clearly a moron Mr. Peterffy to make comparisons to a socialist, communist country you you came from to the current Democratic government. In Canada we have the best health care, wealthy people and social benefits but we are nothing like the country you came from. You are an idiot and I plan to broadcast this around the world!!!!

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