Earlier, Arshad Zakaria’s* 16-year stint with Merrill culminated in his appointment as the Head of GMI from Oct 2001 (until he retired in 2003).
Earlier, Rohit was credited with building Morgan Stanley’s Equity Trading Lab (a quantititative trading platform for low-touch, automated-trading there) and transforming MS‘s electronic trading infrastructure while he was there.
*Newsweek Fareed Zakaria’s bro
Under D’Souza, stock trading was Merrill’s best performing major business in 2007, helping to mitigate about $25 billion of writedowns taken on mortgage-related bonds, corporate loans and assets held in other Merrill divisions.
The person who hired D’Souza, Dow Kim, left in May 2007 to start his own hedge fund.
In 2004, Kim, who oversaw all of Merrill’s trading businesses, recruited D’Souza from rival securities firm Morgan Stanley to head stock trading worldwide. At the time, Kim said he wanted to modernize Merrill’s stock business, with automated trading systems that could route orders more cheaply than phone- based salepeople.
D’Souza, who has a computer science degree from the 550- student Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, did just that. He’s described by those who know him as cordial and straightforward — and more likely to chit-chat about computers and technology than sports or expensive cars.
He started his career at Barra Inc., a Berkeley, California- based provider of investment risk-management systems, according to a Merrill biography. He then went to New York-based Investment Technology Group Inc., an electronic brokerage, according to securities-industry records.
In 1996 he joined Morgan Stanley, where he worked for eight years and was a mentee of Vikram Pandit, now CEO of Citigroup Inc.
At Merrill, D’Souza overhauled computerized systems used to place trading orders, while setting up alliances with rival brokerage firms to develop electronic markets that could compete with Thain’s New York Stock Exchange.
One venture, BlockAlert, was started in 2006 with ITG to help hedge funds and other institutional traders buy and sell large blocks of stocks — usually 10,000 shares or more. Also that year, the firm bought the electronic brokerage Wave Securities LLC and joined with other brokerage firms to start a trading platform called BIDS Trading LP.