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Industry Rivals Come Together for Charity as Wall Street Rides FAR

Traders Magazine Online News, October 11, 2018

Forefront Communications

The world of trading and market structure has no shortage of folks with strong opinions, and debates around policy direction have sometimes been known to get a bit … spirited. But in spite of some of the public rhetoric, the vast majority of these folks realize that diverse opinions are part of what makes this industry great, and bonhomie rules the day when the community comes together for a worthy cause.

Nowhere is this more apparent than with the annual Wall Street Rides FAR charity bike ride, which will be held this weekend in White Plains, New York. Organized by Melissa and Bryan Harkins, both industry veterans, the ride is now in its fourth year and is closing in on $1 million in total proceeds raised for the Autism Science Foundation.

Despite being involved in his share of industry throwdowns, Bryan Harkins, now co-head of Cboe’s markets division after rising through the ranks of Direct Edge and later Bats, has successfully reached across the aisle to get peers at NYSE, Nasdaq and IEX to help raise money for this worthwhile cause.

See last year's images here

“The ride is a unique opportunity to interact with members of the trading community,” said Michael Blaugrund, Head of Transactions at NYSE and a member of the NYSE team that will ride on Saturday. “A tough client or fierce competitor seems a little less daunting when they’re wearing bike shorts.”

In fact, the 2018 ride is shaping up to be the biggest yet, with over 200 riders expected to test their mettle on courses ranging from 20 miles all the way up to 62 miles, as well as a four-mile family ride. In addition to the exchanges’ teams, groups from firms including ABN AMRO, Chicago Trading, Citadel, Eaton Vance, Flow Traders, Hudson River Trading, Jane Street, SPDR, Susquehanna and Two Sigma are also planning to participate.

“The outstanding turnout and representation from firms across our industry are a testament to the resonance of this event, which has gained a devoted following in just four years,” said Ed Tilly, CEO of Cboe, who will ride for the first time on Saturday. “Everyone at Cboe is very proud to support this important initiative.”

For Harkins, bringing together the Wall Street community for a charitable cause was a longtime goal, and a bike ride to support autism research seemed like a natural way to do it.

“Whether it’s within their own family or the larger community, everybody knows somebody who has been impacted by autism,” said Harkins. “The cause means so much to so many people, so it’s no surprise that our industry has responded with incredible generosity these past few years.”

The beneficiary of the ride is the Autism Science Foundation, which supports autism research by contributing to leading scientists and organizations dedicated to the cause. In 2017, the ASF more than doubled its annual grant funding from the previous year, awarding nearly $1 million.

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