Our Origins: FT Options Finds a Way to Customize Analytics

April 1, 2023

Michael Izhaky spent the first half of his career trading options and other derivatives for banks. But as he left that trading environment and entered Chicago’s proprietary trading community, he realized there was a severe lack of high quality, off-the-shelf tools for options risk management and idea generation.  

So, he got to building one.  

The growing activity in options markets and the emergence of software-as-a-service as viable for the trading community offered a window of opportunity for the platform that would become known as FT Options. Michael’s vision was something that could be more accessible than a solely on-premises technology offering.  

“That was a game-changer for people,” Michael says. “Suddenly we had folks trading on a plane on an iPad.”  

Creating a SaaS model meant a trader could take their information and data with them wherever they go – increasing the portability of alpha. It allows someone to package their trading and portfolio management strategies into a more flexible environment that can be deployed and run from anywhere in the world.  

“Customization was a key feature. Everybody could make FT Options their own,” Michael says. “Traders would trick it out to the point that we sometimes didn’t even recognize our own platform. You could have alpha your way.” 

Over the years, FT Options built deep connections with Cboe through attending and sponsoring RMC, and virtually all of FT’s customers traded Cboe products. Similarly, the FT Options team was well-acquainted with other options analytics companies that would eventually also be acquired by Cboe – Silexx, Trade Alert, Hanweck. When Cboe approached Michael about an acquisition, it just made sense and the deal closed in February 2020.  

Since then, the FT Options has been integrated with other businesses within Cboe, delivering a comprehensive offering as the demand for sophisticated analytics continues to grow.  

“Options volumes remain strong, and volatility and price action continue to be active,” Michael says. “That’s a great environment for people to have access to high quality risk management and analytics so that they can maximize their returns.”