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Friday, February 20, 2015

SPDRs' Other Father Dies

News summary by MFWire's editors

The other father of the SPDRs, and one of the fathers of ETFs in general, died earlier this week.

Michael Riley tells Bloomberg's Larry Arnold that Riley's father, 82-year-old Ivers Whitman Riley Jr., died Tuesday at his home in Savannah Georgia, after being diagnosed with colorectal cancer last year.

Ivers Riley worked at the American Stock Exchange (now part of the NYSE) on derivatives trading from 1986 to 1993. Together with Nathan Most (who died in 2004), Ivers Riley "was the driving force in the development" (in the words of the Futures Industry Association) of the Standard & Poor's Depository Receipts and took four years to be approved by regulators. The first SPDR -- SSgA's now-$195-billion, S&P 500-tracking SPY -- debuted on the AMEX in 1993.

"At the time, we described our quest as a search for an instrument which would 'look, taste, smell, and feel like a share of stock representing the whole market," Ivers Riley wrote in a 2006 article for Futures magazine, "an entirely new instrument that could be the basis for many offshoots and iterations over time."

After leaving the AMEX, Ivers Riley took over the Hong Kong Futures Exchange as CEO, for a three-year stint and then, after a two-year break, another one-year stint. In 2000 he joined the International Securities Exchange's (ISE's) board, and he chaired it from 2002 to 2006.

David Krell, ISE's co-founder and current chairman, calls Ivers Riley "a true rarity in this industry."

"He was involved in many of the transformative moments that set the coarse for the robust options markets in existence today," Krell states. "From convincing the SEC to allow trading of puts, to developing the first ETF products, to leading the industry toward the benefits of electronic trading, Ivers had a clear vision driven by a desire for innovation and transparency ... He will be greatly missed by me and the countless others whose careers and lives were positively influenced by his presence."

Gary Katz, ISE's current president and CEO, describes Ivers Riley as a mentor to him.

"Ivers challenged me and the rest of the industry during his tenure at the AMEX to improve and remain sharp as he drove innovation that transformed the industry," Katz states. "I will miss him deeply."

A Los Angeles native, Ivers Riley was the son of a clothier and an alumnus of UCLA and La Salle Extension University in Chicago. He served the U.S. Navy as a pilot before he joined Merrill Lynch as an FA. He later worked at Aetna, the Chicago Board Options Exchange, and the NYSE (which he almost became president of) before joining the AMEX in 1986. His wife, Barbara, died in 2010. Ivers Riley is survived by his two sons, Michael and Steven, and a daughter, Christine. Funeral arrangements will be announced by Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Hodgson Chapel. 

Edited by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor


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