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HomeLifeStyleBiographyThomas Peterffy

Thomas Peterffy

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Thomas Peterffy is the chairman of Interactive Brokers, an electronic broker with more than $10 billion in equity capital. The Greenwich, Connecticut-based processes equities, futures and foreign exchange trades. Peterffy owns his stake through IBG Holdings, which controls about three-quarters of the company.

The majority of Peterffy’s fortune is derived from Interactive Brokers Group. It’s has more than $10 billion in equity capital, according to its website.

His stake in the business is calculated using his 91% stake in closely held IBG Holdings, which controls about three-quarters of publicly traded IBG, according to its 2022 proxy statement. As of Jan. 1, 2023, Peterffy also controls about 1.8% of the Class A shares, according to regulatory filings.

The billionaire collected about $1 billion from share sales in connection with Interactive Brokers’s initial public offering in 2007, according to a prospectus. Dividends are paid to IBG Holdings on the amount of Class B shares (100) not their equivalent value in membership interests (339 million), according to Deborah Liston of Interactive Brokers’ investor relations.

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In December 2017, cumulative tax gross-up payments to Peterffy from Interactive Brokers were removed from his net worth analysis because an undisclosed portion of the funds probably went to pay a tax liability. The change resulted in a $2.7 billion drop in his net worth.

Katherine Ewert, a spokesperson for Interactive Brokers, declined to comment on the calculation.

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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 emigrated to the US.

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.

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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 US presidential election.


  • 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 of world global options volume.
  • 2007 Interactive Brokers sells shares in an initial public offering.
  • 2011 Company becomes the world’s largest online broker.

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