Take Stock in Other Cultures
CEO, TMX Group Inc.
Tom Kloet’s career includes more than 20 years of international business opportunities—his travels have taken him from Chicago to Singapore, from France to Canada.
In July 2008, Kloet, BBA80, became CEO of TMX Group Inc., which operates the Toronto Stock Exchange. The company also owns the Montreal Exchange Inc.; numerous other smaller Canadian exchanges; and the Boston Options Exchange, the sixth largest equity options exchange in the United States. He also currently sits on the board of directors of the World Federation of Exchanges.
Having an understanding of other cultures makes doing business internationally that much easier, he says.
“I’ve had the opportunity to live in different countries and to understand how different cultures work,” says Kloet, who spent five years of his youth in Brussels, Belgium, where his father was an executive for Caterpillar.
Before coming to Toronto, Kloet’s career moved him around the world in various positions: as senior executive vice president and COO of Newedge Group (2003-08), an international derivatives brokerage unit of Societe Generale, one of the largest banks in the world; as the first CEO and executive director of the Singapore Exchange Ltd. (2000-02); as senior managing director for ABN AMRO, Inc., the U.S. investment banking unit of ABN AMRO Bank, NV, where he was responsible for all operating activity of the global derivatives business and managing subsidiary brokerage companies in Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Sydney; and as COO at Credit Agricole Futures Inc. of Chicago and executive officer of its parent, Segespar Capital Members, Inc. (1990-97).
“Embedded in my position at Newedge Group was a pretty robust Canadian brokerage business, so I was regularly in Montreal and Toronto,” he says. “That made my transition to the Canadian business world much easier,” he says.
But conducting business in Canada is fundamentally different because of the confederation of Canadian provinces and the authority granted to each province. Powers that Americans would expect to be within the central government of the United States, exist within the provincial governments of Canada, he says.
“For example, in Canada there is no national securities regulator, no equivalent of the Securities and Exchange Commission. We have 13 provincial securities regulators. Instead of lodging a prospectus with the SEC to be listed on the NYSE or Nasdaq in the United States, a company must lodge a prospectus with provincial regulators if it wants to sell the security throughout Canada,” he explains.
“There’s a proposal now to create something like a national SEC, but it’s being met with a certain distain by some—securities law is a matter of provincial regulation not national. As an American, it’s been interesting to watch that debate,” he says.
As an accounting student at Iowa in the late 1970s, Kloet says his Iowa course work was good preparation for his professional career. Although his course work contained some international business topics, study abroad opportunities were rarer—and fewer students took advantage of them—than they are today.
“Students today are much more aware of the world than I was,” says Kloet, whose son is a current accounting student in the Tippie College. “I can have good intellectual conversations with him about what’s going on in Europe, Asia, or Africa, and that’s because he’s learning from faculty who are engaging students and getting them to think globally.”