Richard Sandor

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Richard L. Sandor
Occupation Chairman and CEO
Employer American Financial Exchange (AFX)
Location Chicago, IL
LinkedIn Profile

Richard L. Sandor is an American businessman, economist, entrepreneur and chairman and chief executive officer of the American Financial Exchange (AFX), an electronic marketplace for small and mid-sized, U.S. banks and financial institutions to lend and borrow short-term funds, which launched on December 11, 2015.[1]

Sandor is a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School. [2]

He is widely recognized as the “father of financial futures” for his pioneering work in developing the first interest rate futures contract in the 1970s, when he served as chief economist and vice president of the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT).[3]

Sandor is also the founder of the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) — the world’s first exchange to facilitate the reduction and trading of all six greenhouse gases.[4] In 2007, he was named the “father of carbon trading” by Time magazine for his work in designing, developing and launching CCX and affiliated exchanges.[5]

Sandor is known for asserting that the next financial revolution will be in the convergence of the financial markets and the environment.[6] He is often credited for founding the field of environmental finance. His first book, “Good Derivatives: A Story of Financial and Environmental Innovation”, was published by John Wiley & Sons in February 2012.

In October 2012, the World Federation of Exchanges presented Sandor with the 2012 WFE Award for Excellence. WFE said Sandor was selected for the award in recognition of his work in environmental and financial markets for more than four decades.[7]

In September 2015, Sandor, with backing from the Chicago Board Options Exchange and Northern Trust, announced plans for the American Financial Exchange, an anonymous, bilateral electronic platform for small and mid-sized banks to lend and borrow funds over the short-term. [8] The exchange will create a new benchmark interest rate index, AMERIBOR. Sandor said that he "thought there was a crying need for a benchmark interest rate for these banks because often times their lending costs and the way interest rates move for them may not parallel the big banks."[9]


As a young professor on sabbatical from the University of California, Berkeley, in the 1970s, Richard Sandor became the chief economist and vice president of the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT).[10] At the CBOT, Sandor not only pioneered the first ever interest rate futures contract, but the most widely traded and imitated interest-rate futures in the world, the Treasury bond futures contract. [11][12] This revolutionized the field of finance and earned him the title of “father of financial futures.” Sandor was honored by the CBOT and the City of Chicago in 1992 for the creation of financial futures.

Sandor was also a strong proponent of electronic trading at a time when most exchanges favored open outcry. In fact, he had presented the case and designed the platform for electronic trading as early as 1970- even before the concept of electronic trading was patented.[13] At Berkeley, he was the project leader of the California Commodity Research Project (CCARP), which looked at the feasibility of establishing a for-profit, all-electronic exchange at the time when none existed.[14]

At the CBOT, Sandor championed innovative financial instruments such as event-linked derivatives. Sandor served as vice chairman of the CBOT Insurance Committee and was the originator and co-author of the catastrophe and crop insurance futures and options contracts.[15]

From 1991 to 1994, Sandor was chairman of the Chicago Board of Trade Clean Air Committee,[16] which developed the first spot and futures markets for sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission allowances and supervised the annual allowance auctions conducted on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.[17] He also led the effort to create the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI)- the first global indexes that track the financial performance of leading sustainability-driven companies worldwide.[18]

Sandor has held a variety of senior executive positions in financial service companies, such as Drexel Burnham Lambert, Kidder Peabody and Banque Indosuez.[19] Sandor has served on numerous exchange committees and boards, including the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), Intercontinental Exchange(ICE), LIFFE and the international advisory board of Marché à Terme International de France(MATIF).[20] Sandor played an advisory role in helping Swiss Options and Financial Futures Exchange (SOFFEX) become the world’s first electronic exchange.[21] Teaming up with Boston-based Battery Ventures, Sandor also helped to promote Liffe’s electronic trading platform [22] and is credited for Liffe’s successful contract- the universal stock futures contract.[23] He also assisted the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) on the design of the options contract for crude oil.[24]

Sandor has served several times as an advisor to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on matters related to financial, energy and environmental futures.[25]

Sandor was interviewed by FIA CEO Walt Lukken for a FIA Speaks podcast in 2019.[26]


Sandor founded the Climate Exchange PLC family of companies. They include Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX); the Chicago Climate Futures Exchange (CCFE), a futures branch of the former; and European Climate Exchange(ECX), Europe’s leading exchange operating in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) and the benchmark for world carbon prices. Additional global affiliates included the Tianjin Climate Exchange in China, the Montreal Climate Exchange in Canada and Envex in Australia. The emissions covered under the Chicago Climate Exchange were larger than that of Germany under the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme. It included 50 states and all major sectors of the U.S. economy.[27] Its membership represented 17 percent of the companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and 20 percent of the largest CO2 emitting electrical utilities in the U.S., and 11 percent of Fortune 100 companies.[28]

By 2011, Sandor and his firm, Environmental Financial Products LLC (EFP) had ventured into water trading. EFP was retained to study the possibility of a water quantity exchange for the state of New Mexico. Sandor also researched the viability of a water market in the Great Lakes region.[29] Additionally, Environmental Financial Products was engaged by Alberta Water Research Institute to examine the benefits of implementing a rules-based exchange for water resources in Alberta, Canada [30] and helped develop a pilot nutrient trading effort in Pennsylvania.[31]

In August 2002, Sandor was chosen by Time magazine as one of its “Heroes for the Planet” for his work as the founder of the Chicago Climate Exchange.[32] Five years later, he appeared in Time magazine’s fifth annual list of “Heroes of the Environment” for his work as “the father of carbon trading.” In 1992 Sandor served as an expert advisor to the UN Conference on Trade and Development on tradable entitlements for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.[33]

In June 2010, CLE was acquired by the Intercontinental Exchange. (ICE) [34]

Awards and Acknowledgements[edit]

  • In July 2013, Dr. Sandor was as named Chevalier dans l´ordre de la Légion d´Honneur (Knight in the French National Order of the Legion of Honor), the highest decoration granted by the French government, and was awarded for his accomplishments in the field of environmental finance and carbon trading as well as his personal commitment and contribution to the promotion of French-American friendship.[35]
  • In 2010, Dr. Sandor received the John H. Dales Memorial “Leadership in Environmental Markets Award” from the Environmental Markets Association.[36]
  • In 2009, he was named Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award in the “green” category.[37]
  • In 2008, he was named Financial Management Association’s Outstanding Financial Executive Award,[38]
  • In 2005, Dr. Sandor was inducted into the Futures Industry Association's inaugural class of the Futures Hall of Fame, which was established in 2005 to commemorate outstanding contributions to the global futures and options community. [39]
  • In May 2005, Dr. Sandor was named by “Treasury and Risk Management” magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People in Finance.” [40]
  • In November 2004, Dr. Sandor was the recipient of an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) of Zurich, Switzerland [41] for his work on the design and implementation of innovative and flexible market-based mechanisms to address environmental concerns.
  • Other awards include the McGraw-Hill Energy Award (1999), the Life Time Achievement award from the Global Association of Risk Professionals (2001),[42] and the Milken Institute’s award for Distinguished Economic Research (2003).[43]
  • In the spring of 2014, Dr. Sandor was the keynote commencement speaker and received the Distinguished Alumnus award from his alma mater, Brooklyn College.[44]
  • In June 2014, Dr. Sandor was honored with the Energy Risk Lifetime Achievement Award. He was one of 20 industry veterans to receive the honor, marking 20 years since the launch of Energy Risk magazine in 1994.[45]


Sandor received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the City University of New York, Brooklyn College, and holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Minnesota.


All Smalls and Mediums: Richard Sandor Looks To Transform The Small and Mid-Tier Bank Sector

In this video, Sandor discusses the American Financial Exchange, his venture that allows banks to lend and borrow in the overnight and interbank market on an anonymous bilateral platform.

The financial industry has adapted to new technologies before, but AFX CEO and Chairman Richard Sandor believes blockchain will gain traction in financial services much quicker than electronic trading did. In this video from JLN’s annual series with industry leaders, Sandor talks about why he is a “buyer” of the crypto ecosystem.

Started at the end of 2015 to address the interbank funding needs of small and midsize banks, the American Financial Exchange (AFX) welcomed its 147th member as of May 2019, bringing its clients’ assets to more than $2 trillion and average daily volume to $2 billion.

Sandor spoke at TEDxWallstreet in 2013. The title of his presentation was "Good Derivatives - You CAN Put a Price on Nature: Richard Sandor at TEDxWallStreet."

Sandor participated in a discussion at the Chicago’s Becker Friedman Institute, Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in 2021.


  • Richard L. Sandor, "Electronic Trading & Blockchain: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow." World Scientific, 2018.
  • Richard L. Sandor, "How I Saw It: Analysis and Commentary on Environmental Finance." World Scientific [1]
  • Richard L. Sandor, Nathan Clark, Murali Kanakasabai and Rafael L. Marques. "Environmental Markets: A New Asset Class." Research Foundation Publications. January 2014
  • Richard L. Sandor. "Good Derivatives: A Story of Financial and Environmental Innovation." John Wiley & Sons. February 2012
  • Richard L. Sandor. "Speculating in Futures." Handbook for the Board of Trade of the City of Chicago. 1973

Richard Sandor discusses his new book “Good Derivatives: A Story of Financial and Environmental Innovation” with John Lothian News. The book outlines the creation of the Chicago Climate Exchange (and its affiliated exchanges) and the role of markets in addressing climate change and other environmental challenges. Interview published March 5, 2012.


  1. Leadership. Envifi.
  2. Richard L. Sandor, Aaron Director Lecturer in Law and Economics. University of Chicago Law School.
  3. Speaker: Richard Sandor. Financial Times World Energy Council Energy Leaders Summit. October 2009. Retrieved November 2011.
  4. Leila Abboud.Economist Strike Gold in Climate-Change Fight. The Wall Street Journal. March 13, 2008. Retrieved November 2011.
  5. James Cameron. Heroes of the Environment: Richard Sandor. Time Magazine. October 17, 2007. Accessed November 2011.
  6. The World According to Richard Sandor. December 1999. Retrieved November 2011.
  7. Press Release. WFE.
  8. CBOE, Northern Trust and Sandor team on new financial exchange. Crain's Chicago Business.
  9. Smalls and Mediums: Richard Sandor Looks to Transform the Small and Mid-Tier Bank Sector. John Lothian News.
  10. Carbon Market Design: Issues and Opportunities: Bios and Abstracts, USDA Economic Research Service Conference Center, January 2011, Retrieved November 2011.
  11. Peter Norman, The Risk Controllers: Central Counterpart Clearing in Globalised Financial Markets. West Sussex, United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. 2011. p.121
  12. William B. Crawford Jr. Pioneer Still Trying to Change The World With Futures. Chicago Tribune. October 03 1993.
  13. Paul E. Schaafsma of Foley & Lardner LLP. The Next Patent Frontier- Financial Product Patents. FindLaw: For Legal Professionals. February 18, 2003. Retrieved November 2011.
  14. Phillipa Leighton Jones. Sandor Paper Could Aid Defense. eFinancial News. November 4, 2002. Retrieved November 2011.
  15. Daniel P. Collins. Richard Sandor: Inventing Markets out of Thick Air. allBusiness. October 1, 2007. Retrieved November 2011.
  16. Michael Himick Ed. Securitized Risk Strategic Opportunities for Insurers and Investors. The Glenlake Publishing Company, Ltd. 1998. p. xi
  17. Taylor, Jeffrey, and Rose Gutfeld. "CBOT Selected to Run Auction for Polluters." Wall Street Journal. September 25, 1992, p. C1
  18. “The DJSI—a story of financial innovation.” How I See It. Environmental Finance. Dec 2001–Jan 2002
  19. The World According to Richard Sandor. December 1999. Retrieved November 2011.
  20. NABE Washington Economic Policy Conference 2005 Session 22- The Role of Climate Exchange in Efficient Pollution Reduction (Speakers). March 21, 2005. Retrieved November 2011.
  21. Richard L. Sandor. Good Derivatives: A Story of Financial and Environmental Innovation. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons Inc. 2011. Chapter 14
  22. Leah McGrath Goodman. Blackstone's Battery Mates, Dealmaker. March/April 2007.
  23. Patrick L. Young and Charles Sidey, Single Stock Futures- A Trader's Guide, West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. 2003. p. xiv
  24. The Volatility Exchange
  25. CFTC Names Members of the Energy Markets Advisory Committee. CFTC Press Release: PR5496-08. May 02, 2008. Accessed November 2011.
  26. Ep 2 : The “father of financial futures” Richard "Doc" Sandor. Futures Industry Association.
  27. CCX Fact Sheet. Intercontinental Exchange. June 2011.
  28. “CCX: Cap-and-Trade in the United States,” Chicago Climate Exchange, December 2008.
  29. Carbon Trading Pioneer Dips Toe into Water Markets. Wall Street Journal.
  30. Richard L. Sandor, Michael J. Walsh and Jeffrey. K. O'Hara. "The Potential Benefits of an Organized Exchange for the Sustainable Use of Water in Alberta." June 2010.
  31. Pennsylvania Nutrient Trading Executive Summary, Chicago Climate Exchange, November 17, 2009.
  32. Heroes: Richard Sandor, His Market is a Gas. Time Magazine.
  33. UNCTAD, Global Greenhouse Emissions Trader- a quarterly newsletter dedicated to greenhouse gas emissions trading, December 1997, Retrieved November 2011
  34. Intercontinental Exchange Announces Acquisition of Climate Exchange. Intercontinental Exchange. April 30, 2010.
  35. Richard Sandor Awarded the French Legion of Honor. Environmental Financial Products.
  36. Leadership in Environmental Markets Award. Environmental Markets Association. March 22, 2011. Retrieved November 2011.
  37. Winners for Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2009 Awards in Midwest Announced. Ernst & Young. June 26, 2009. Retrieved November 2011.
  38. Financial Times World Energy Council Energy Leaders Summit: Speaker Details. October 13, 2009. Retrieved November 2011.
  39. Futures Hall of Fame. FIA.
  40. 100 Most Influential People In Finance. Treasury & Risk magazine. June 2005. Retrieved November 2011.
  41. Peter C. Fusaro, Marion Yuen. Green Trading Markets: Developing the Second Wave. Oxford, United Kingdom: Elsevier Ltd. 2005. p.221.
  42. GARP Honor Richard Sandor with the Life Time Achievement Award. Global Association of Risk Professionals. February 22, 2001. Retrieved November 2011.
  43. Milken Institute Awards its 2003 Distinguished Economic Research Prize, Milken Institute Newsroom, April 3, 2003. Retrieved November 2011.
  44. 2014 CUNY Commencement Ceremonies. CUNY.
  45. Richard Sandor Honored with Energy Risk Lifetime Achievement Award. Press Release via Reuters.
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