FIA Futures Hall of Fame 2019 Inductee
“Over the last 40 years Chris has left his fingerprint on the derivatives industry ensuring integrity, transparency and evolution,” said Walt Lukken, President of the Futures Industry Association. “He is a true pioneer in this space and his induction into the Hall of Fame is well deserved.”
Our own Chris Hehmeyer was inducted into the Futures Industry Association’s (FIA) Hall of Fame last week at the FIA’s 44th Annual Boca Conference. As the first CEO of a Principal Trading Group (PTG) to be inducted, we are proud of Chris and took a few minutes to speak with him about his career in the derivatives industry that spans more than four decades.
“I started in this business in 1977 and so I have seen the industry evolve from floor trading, to click trading, to algorithmic trading, to digital assets,” he said.
Chris got his foot in the door when some friends from Memphis took him around the trading floor and helped him find a job as a runner on the floor at the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT).
“I was staying with my uncle in his extra bedroom,” he recalled. “On August 1, 1977, I started as a runner in the CBOT’s grain room.”
While Chris was taken by the excitement and organized chaos of the trading floor, he had his eyes on the financial pits.
“I got into the pit and it was intimidating. Everyone was screaming at each other and they didn’t necessarily welcome new blood,” he said. “But it seemed to me that everything was happening in the financial room and therefore that’s where I wanted to be.”
At the time the CBOT, which was later acquired and became part of the CME Group, offered T-Bond permits.
“You had to apply like any member and pay a $2,500 fee for the right to execute orders and trade your own account on the floor,” he said. “I borrowed $5,000, paid my first $2,500 and traded with the rest of the money, which I lost at first and then made back.”
A few years later, Chris joined forces with Ralph Goldenberg, a fellow trader on the floor, to launch Goldenberg Hehmeyer & Co. On January 2, 1985, Goldenberg Hehmeyer opened their doors as a clearing member FCM at the CBOT.
“At the time, it only took 45 days to get approved as a FCM with clearing member status,” Chris reminisced.
Fast forward to 2019, it can take up to 4-6 months for a clearing member to get approval if they intend to clear for customers and up to a year for foreign firms.
“I watched the fully automated traders do to the click traders what the click traders did to the floor guys,” he said. “Now the crypto guys are going to change everything.”
With a successful career in derivatives, Chris has no plans to stop moving the industry forward and launched one of the first commodity pools focused on cryptocurrencies.
However, he did take a moment to appreciate the honor bestowed on him last week.
“It feels incredibly gratifying and humbling to be in the Hall of Fame. Hopefully my experience and career inspires people to be useful to future generations like my mentors were to me,” he said. “If people could take what I’ve learned and help the industry, then I am fulfilled.”