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‘Flash Boys’ Subject, Brad Katsuyama, Tells of His Revolt Against Wall Street

President and CEO of IEX and former Head of Electronic Sales and Trading at The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Brad Katsuyama spent Wednesday presenting to students and area executives at events sponsored by Belmont’s Center for Executive Education and Edward C. Kennedy Center for Business Ethics.brad katsyuama-103

The subject of Michael Lewis’s international best-seller “Flash Boys,” Katsuyama is most known for his refusal to adopt Wall Street’s practices of high frequency trading and dark pools, and instead, create his own transparent market to conduct trading in the way he believes the stock market was originally intended.

Although leaving his job at RBC was a challenge, Katsuyama knew he was in a position of power and if he saw things he didn’t agree with, it was time to make a change. “I felt this compelling purpose to say, ‘I’m probably in this position for a reason, and I have to do something about it,’” he said. For Katsuyama that meant quitting his job and structuring a team to create a new exchange built around innovation, transparency and fairness.

Since IEX launched in October 2013, the organization has seen rapid growth, but it wasn’t immediate. It took the team many months to raise the required funds and because of that, employees, including Katsuyama, weren’t paid what they were making in previous positions.

With a family and young children, this posed a challenge for Katsuyama, who says he learned that money isn’t as important as he initially thought. “Money becomes so much less meaningful, but it’s only until you don’t have it that you realize how unimportant it really is,” he said.

Now that Katsuyama is finding himself at the heart of the high frequency trading controversy, he continues to be committed to his belief in what the stock market was created to be – a transparent, open exchange for consumers. IEX utilizes technology to ensure they are able to access information at the same speed as high frequency trading firms. Although some organizations have used technology to create an information sharing asymmetry, giving an advantage to one party over another, IEX and Katsuyama are committed to utilizing technology for the advantages it provides all parties.

“Technology is a great amplifier,” Kaysyama said. “We are using [it] to create fairness, as opposed to skirting around it or even distorting it.”

When asked about values that contribute to his commitment to best practices and information transparency, Katsuyama said, “I view myself as someone lucky enough to have found the right people and make some good choices.” At the end of the day, Katsuyama believes the market should operate on fairness, and he is willing to fight for it – even if it means going up against some of Wall Street’s biggest players.

‘Integrity in Sports’ Panel Discusses Hot Topics in Collegiate Athletics

Integrity & Sports-125-XLThe Edward C. Kennedy Center for Business Ethics and Belmont University Athletics  welcomed NCAA Division I administrators to campus for a candid dialogue on student athlete compensation and the commercialization of college sports on Tuesday in the Maddox Grand Atrium.

Moderated by Belmont Athletics Director Michael Strickland, participants Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart, Ohio Valley Conference Commissioner Beth DeBauche and former Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said they agreed that the NCAA business model needed a “radical change” to resolve its ethical issues and allow college and university athletics departments to be financially viable. However, Beebe argued that paying some student athletes would mean levying more student fees on their peers to provide funding.

Although some Division I colleges have multimillion dollar television deals and rising coaches’ salaries, many smaller universities do not operate profitable athletic departments on their own, DeBauche noted. In the OVC, much of the conferences’ profits return to its member institutions to pay their bills, and many of the 32 conferences are similar to the OVC, she said, adding that all conferences need to continue to meet Title IX requirements. (more…)

Fortune Magazine Editor: Practice Key to Great Performance

JMK_3760 (2)During a Wednesday convocation, Fortune Magazine Senior Editor Geoffrey Colvin shared how through practice, students can be just as successful as people perceived to have inherent talent. During his lecture titled “Talent is Overrated: Truths for Success,” Colvin illustrated how passion, values, ethics and learning are more important to corporations than hours worked or IQ, and demonstrated how world-class performance comes from specific ethical behaviors.

“Where does great performance come from? All of us carry around deep-seeded answers about this question. We want to talk about this because standards are rising everywhere,” Colvin said. “Everything is getting better all the time generally in business technology all of these devices are better, faster, smaller and cheaper every month.”

Colvin, author of Talent is Overrated, said while many people believe greater performance comes from hard work, memory or innate talent, the research shows that most geniuses, world-classes performers and athletes acquired their skills and notoriety through many years of practice. Conversely, child protégés grew up to become underachievers.


Textbook Authors Educate Students on Ethical Leadership

AHP_8828 copy (2)Drs. O.C. and Linda Ferrell spoke to students about the vital role that ethical leadership plays in one’s career success on Wednesday in Massey Boardroom in a convocation event sponsored by the Belmont University Edward C. Kennedy Center for Business Ethics.

“Good business is good ethics. Good ethics is good business,” O.C. Ferrell said. “Your success depends on your character and your confidence in ethical practices.”

Ferrell asked the audience to reflect on the biggest challenges in the ethics arena and how to assure the maintenance of personal ethical standards.

“Strong ethics and social responsibility leads employees to be motivated to serve customers, committed to the firm, committed to high quality standards, satisfied with their jobs and have a higher organizational performance,” Linda Ferrell noted.

The Ferrells are distinguished professors of business ethics at the University of New Mexico. They have co-authored over 20 books and more than 100 articles in major journals and publications including the business ethics textbook used at Belmont.  In the academic environment, they are considered the foremost authorities on ethical decision-making, stakeholder relationships and social responsibility in the world of business.

The Center for Business Ethics seeks to bring people together in the discussion of business ethics, help empower business leaders to face the current crisis in business ethics and educate ethical business leaders for a better society.

Coaches Discuss How ‘Win At All Costs’ Mentality Can Compromise Integrity

Men’s basketball coaches from Division I private universities Belmont, Vanderbilt and Butler, along with ESPN college basketball analyst Jimmy Dykes, shared their perspectives on being truthful in athletics as the Edward C. Kennedy Center for Business Ethics and Belmont University Athletics hosted their first Integrity in Sports panel discussion Wednesday in the Maddox Grand Atrium.

NewsChannel 5 sports anchor Steve Layman moderated the discussion among the men he dubbed “caretakers of the game.” The panel debated the changing landscape of intercollegiate athletics and maintaining integrity and honor amidst growing pressures to win. Participants also discussed how integrity spans recruiting, practice, scheduling, road travel, balance with academics, NCAA compliance, coaches’ personal conduct and student behavioral issues.

“Things aren’t going to change until the coaching heroes talk about doing things honestly and decently,” said Belmont University men’s basketball head coach Rick Byrd. “College athletics is supposed to be a part of the college educational experience, and coaches should be held just as accountable as the mathematics professor.”

Byrd added a university’s athletic integrity starts with its hiring of coaches.

Butler University men’s basketball head coach Brad Stevens said instead of simply sitting in the rows behind athletic teams in arenas, university presidents and athletic directors  should not “waver in accountability in day to day” and be the “tone setters” to trickle down the way they want student athletes to be treated and to behave.

The coaches also discussed a “win at all costs mentality” that pushes some coaches into compromising to keep their positions and how social media and bloggers amplify wins and losses taking them beyond the court. (more…)

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