William F. O'Connor
|William F. O'Connor|
The late William F. ("Billy") O'Connor was the co-founder of O'Connor & Company - acquired in 2006 to form Fortis Clearing Americas - First Options of Chicago and O'Connor and Associates. He also is a former chairman of the Chicago Board of Trade.
William F. O’Connor was a legendary figure on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade. A member of the exchange since 1955, he stood out in the trading pits with his green plaid jacket and shock of white hair.
With his brother Edmund, O'Connor co-founded O’Connor & Company in 1959. In 1972 First Options of Chicago was founded; it grew to become the largest clearing firm for options market makers in the world and was acquired by Spear Leeds & Kellogg in 1977. O’Connor and Associates was established in 1977 as a proprietary derivatives trading company, and in 1994, it was acquired by Swiss Bank Corporation.
During his career, O'Connor exercised considerable influence on the evolution of the CBOT, serving not only as its chairman from 1990 to 1992 but also as an important voice for innovation and technological change. In particular, he was one of the early champions of single stock futures and the guiding force behind the development of Project A, the exchange’s first successful electronic trading platform. He also was an early proponent of cooperation between the two Chicago exchanges. He proposed the “Futures Exchange Common Goals Committee” to explore ways the two Chicago exchanges could unify such areas as operations and clearing to their mutual benefit.
The Chicago Sun-Times described O'Connor as: “a tenacious Irishman who elevated Chicago’s financial markets to international prominence.”