Bloomberg Billionaires Index

View profiles for each of the world’s 500 richest people, see the biggest movers, and compare fortunes or track returns.

#75 Thomas Peterffy $14.3B

Random fact: Hungarian immigrant found programming easier than English.

Overview

Peterffy is the chairman of Interactive Brokers, an electronic broker that processes equities, futures and foreign exchange trades. The company is the largest electronic broker by daily average revenue trades. He owns his stake through the IBG Holdings partnership, which controls about 85 percent of the publicly traded company.

As of May 26, 2017:
Last change +$97.4M (+0.7%)
YTD change -$243M (-1.7%)
Industry Finance
Biggest asset IBKR US Equity
Citizenship United States
Age 72
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Thomas Peterffy's net worth of $14.3B can buy ...

0
troy ounces of gold
0
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

0%
of the GDP of the United States
0%
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
0%
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
0%
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
0%
of U.S. existing home sales
0
times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Peterffy's fortune is derived from his 74.9 percent stake in Interactive Brokers Group, the largest electronic broker by daily average revenue trades, according to the company's website.

He owns the shares through his 88.7 percent stake in IBG Holdings, a closely held holding company that controls 2.4 percent of the class A shares and all of the class B shares in Interactive Brokers Group, according to an Aug. 3, 2016 filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

There are 100 class B shares on issue and these entitle their holder, IBG Holdings, to 341.4 million membership interests, according to the filing. The 100 class B shares were equal to 400 million class A shares at the time of the group's 2007 initial public offering, at which time it sold 40 million of the A shares -- 10 percent -- to the public.

The billionaire collected about $1 billion from Interactive Brokers's initial public offering in 2007 and almost $3 billion in dividends, salary and annual payments, according to the prospectus and annual reports and proxy statements since 2007. Dividends are paid to IBG Holdings on the amount of class B shares (100) not their equivalent value in membership interests (341.4 million), according to Deborah Liston of Interactive Brokers' investor relations.

In an e-mail from Caitlin Duffy, a previous spokesperson, in October 2012, Peterffy said he has paid $1.9 billion in taxes in his lifetime.

Kalen Holliday, a spokesperson for Peterffy, said he declined to comment on his net worth.

Biography

Birthdate: 9/30/1944
Family: Divorced, 3 children

Born in Budapest during a World War II bombing raid in 1944, Peterffy left his native country in 1965. At the time, he was living under the yoke of the Soviets, who invaded and occupied Hungary after the 1956 uprising in the then-Eastern Bloc country. Seeing little hope, he immigrated to the U.S.

According to a 2008 interview Peterffy gave to a magazine published by the CME Group, he landed a job with an engineering firm in New York and volunteered to learn computer programming, a task he said was easier than learning English. Peterffy got his first exposure to Wall Street as a computer consultant with Aranyi Associates, a company owned by another Hungarian immigrant who worked on stock and bond valuation programming. Peterffy also worked at Mocatta Metals, a commodities trader, before deciding to strike out on his own in 1977.

That year, he bought a seat on the American Stock Exchange to trade options. Within a year, he began working on automating the process, using valuation sheets to improve the odds of profitable bidding on contracts. He founded a market making firm named Timber Hill in 1982, using hand held computers he built to track and calculate trades. He expanded into new markets, including the early Chicago S&P 500 options pits in the late 1980s.

In subsequent years, he expanded into Europe and Asia and, in 1995, opened what is now Interactive Brokers, facilitating trades electronically for individual investors. He and his minority partners sold 10 percent of the partnership that controls Interactive Brokers in a 2007 public offering.

A long-time resident of Greenwich, Connecticut, Peterffy now lives in Palm Beach, Florida. He paid for and starred in commercials advocating Mitt Romney for president during the 2012 U.S. presidential election.

Milestones
  • 1944 Thomas Peterffy is born in Budapest, Hungary.
  • 1965 Seeing little hope under Soviet rule, emigrates to United States.
  • 1967 Begins 10-year stint as a computer programmer.
  • 1977 Buys a seat on the American Stock Exchange.
  • 1982 Forms Timber Hill to trade equity options on the Amex.
  • 2003 Company executes about 12 percent world global options volume.
  • 2007 Interactive Brokers sells shares in an initial public offering.
  • 2011 Company becomes the world's largest online broker.