Inter as option broker
Between and , the corporate group Interactive Brokers Group was created, and the subsidiary Interactive Brokers LLC was created to control its electronic brokerage, and to keep it separate from Timber Hill, which conducts market making.
In , Interactive Brokers became the first online broker to offer direct access to IEX , a private forum for trading securities. The following year, he formed his first company, named T. At the time, trading used an open outcry system; Peterffy developed algorithms to determine the best prices for options and used those on the trading floor,  and thus the firm became the first to use daily printed fair value pricing sheets.
In , the company expanded to employ four traders, three of whom were AMEX members. In , Peterffy renamed T. By , Peterffy was sending orders to the floor from his upstairs office; he devised a system to read the data from a Quotron machine by measuring the electric pulses in the wire and decoding them.
The data would be then sent through Peterffy's trading algorithms, and then Peterffy would call down the trades. At the time, the AMEX didn't permit computers on the trading floor. Because of this, Peterffy had an assistant deliver market information from his office in the World Trade Center. In , Timber Hill created the first handheld computers used for trading.
As Peterffy explained in a interview, the battery-powered units had touch screens for the user to input a stock price and it would produce the recommended option prices,   and it also tracked positions and continually repriced options on stocks. When he made the device smaller, the committee stated that no analytic devices were allowed to be used on the exchange floor.
Effectively blocked from using the CBOE, he sought to use his devices in other exchanges. Also in , Timber Hill expanded to 12 employees and began trading on the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. In , Timber Hill began coding a computerized stock index futures and options trading system and, in February , Timber Hill's system and network was brought online. The system was designed to centrally price and manage risk on a portfolio of equity derivatives traded in multiple locations around the country.
However, the stock exchange only allowed it to be used at trading booths several yards away from where transactions were executed. Peterffy responded by designing a code system for his traders to read colored bars emitted in patterns from the video displays of computers in the booths. This caused the exchange and other members to be suspicious of insider trading , which convinced Timber Hill to distribute instructions throughout the exchange, describing how to read the displays.
Eventually computers were allowed on the trading floor. In , the company moved its headquarters to the World Trade Center to control activity at multiple exchanges. Peterffy again hired workers to sprint from his offices to the exchanges with updated handheld devices, which he later superseded with phone lines carrying data to computers at the exchanges. Peterffy later built miniature radio transmitters into the handhelds and the exchange computers to allow data to automatically flow to them.
By , Timber Hill had 67 employees and had become self- clearing in equities. Because of this, Peterffy pledged that Timber Hill would make tight markets in the product for a year if the exchange would allow the traders to use handheld computers on the trading floor. At that time, Timber Hill had employees. While Peterffy was trading on the Nasdaq in ,  he created the first fully automated algorithmic trading system.
It consisted of an IBM computer that would pull data from a Nasdaq terminal connected to it and carry out trades on a fully automated basis. The machine, for which Peterffy wrote the software, worked faster than a trader could. Peterffy and his team designed a system with a camera to read the terminal, a computer to decode the visual data, and mechanical fingers to type in the trade orders, which was then accepted by the Nasdaq.
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