Interview With Thinkorswim's Tom Sosnoff
This past week, Benzinga had the pleasure of speaking with thinkorswim co-founder Tom Sosnoff. He spoke about starting his company, which was recently bought by TD Ameritrade (Nasdaq: AMTD), and what sets thinkorswim apart.
Sosnoff told me that he had doubts about how much expansion could potentially occur within the brokerage industry. With regulatory barriers to entry high, and capital being so expensive, he believes new players entering the space will be limited. He also commented on how technology and pricing per trade has become increasingly commoditized. Sosnoff thinks that the three main obstacles to new player entry are limited domain expertise, increasingly competitive transaction fees, and lower payment for order flow.
The thinkorswim Difference
When asked what he thinks sets thinkorswim apart from other online brokers, Sosnoff gave us a number of examples of what he thought makes his company great. He cited an aggressive and integrated product mix and culture, as well as being a leader in education. More than anything, he stated, thinkorswim has an attitude unmatched in the industry where they strive to make the customer successful, and the customer really feels it.
He quoted Mark Cuban, saying “We’re not smarter than anyone else, we just work harder,” which has been a mantra of his for years. When asked to elaborate, he said that “we’re junkies, we love what we do and golf is a waste of life!”.
Tom Sosnoff’s First Job
To get a better idea of who Tom Sosnoff is, we asked him a little about his work history. From his first job caddying starting at the age of 13, he always had his eye on opportunities to make money. Right out of college, he began working at Drexel Burnham- now infamous for its employee Michael Milkin’s illegal trading activity- and within 6 months he was a market maker at the Chicago Board Options Exchange. He has never held a job he didn’t enjoy, and reiterated that hard work is the key to his success.
So what’s ahead at thinkorswim for 2010? More streaming audio and video squawk, better futures trading tools and Sosnoff discussed a groundbreaking trading robot “Prodigo” that is sure to be a great innovation for the company. In fact, in just the first two weeks, Prodigo has already driven 2000+ new users, and is set to increase thinkorswim’s automated market penetration. If you are looking for great online broker, please visit thinkorswim.com.
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