Goldman electronic trade head to join Getco

Greg Tusar, head of electronic trading at Goldman Sachs, will become the latest banker to leave a big investment bank and join high-frequency trading firm Getco, people familiar with his decision said.

Mr Tusar will head Getco’s client services division and will report to Daniel Coleman, Getco chief executive and a former global head of equities at UBS, one of these people said.

Mr Tusar did not return a request for comment. Getco declined to comment.

The move comes as Getco prepares to complete its $1.8bn acquisition of Knight Capital and as it has begun filling executive positions for the combined company.

Getco said last week that two other former UBS bankers will occupy lead roles after the merger. John DiBacco, who once supervised rogue trader Kweku Adoboli at the Swiss bank, will head global equities trading, while Nick Ogurtsov, will be chief risk officer.

The merger will create one of the most influential trading companies on Wall Street and is seen as an attempt by Getco to boost its profitability after its proprietary trading business has suffered in recent years.

The closely held company recently opened its books for the first time and revealed that profits in the first nine months of last year dropped 82 per cent from the same period in 2011. The declines have come as high-frequency trading firms have seen profits from US equities trading plummet.

Through the Knight acquisition, Getco’s client services division will be able to expand the algorithms it offers to trading companies.

During his 13 years at Goldman, Mr Tusar helped the bank push into electronic trading including forays into building high-speed algorithms which have come to dominate modern trading.

He also had an unusually public role while at Goldman, often appearing in trade publications and industry events to discuss electronic trading. Mr Tusar will stay at the investment bank until May, according to a person familiar with the matter, to work on the spin-off of Goldman’s Redi electronic trading platform.

Equity trading divisions at many top Wall Street banks have come under pressure in recent years as market volumes have fallen and as computers play an increasingly important role in trading. During recent rounds of job losses at large banks including Goldman, equities trading teams have been among the hardest hit.

Goldman Sachs’ off-exchange trading venue, Sigma X, last month fell one position to third in terms of total equity transaction volume among leading dark pools, according to research from Rosenblatt Securities.

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