A few years back when we were working on a special issue regarding leaders of the derivatives industry it occurred to me that I couldn’t name the man or men responsible for the creation of listed options. I knew the Chicago Board of Trade created the Chicago Board Options Exchange and then spun it off to avoid dealing with Securities and Exchange Commission but I couldn’t name the man responsible. When asking other industry leaders they quickly let me know it was the O’Connor brothers.
The development of options occurred during what could be described as a period of unprecedented financial innovation. We know of Leo Melamed’s work creating the International Monetary Market and Richard Sandor’s work on interest rate futures and Leslie Rosenthal, Barry Lind and John Geldermann are familiar industry icons. But it was harder to name the “father” of listed options. There was one of course, Edmund O’Connor, but he did not seek attention. His story is as impressive in its up from the bootstraps origins as any other and the O’Connor brand is as solid as it comes.
In the last few months Futures profiled several managers who got their start or spent some time at O’Connor. While I am sure that not every successful option trader has at one time worked at O’Connor, sometimes it sure feels like it. Edmund O’Connor passed away last week. He was one of the giants of our industry.