HISTORY and SUPPORT
The Financial Markets Research Center (FMRC) was founded in 1987 by Hans R. Stoll, the Anne Marie and Thomas B. Walker Professor of Finance, at Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management. His goal was to foster and promote excellence in financial markets research by creating a forum for ongoing dialogue between academics, industry professionals, and regulators. The original seed money came from a CBOE/CBOT/CME Research Grant received by Stoll and Robert E. Whaley, the T. Austin Finch Foundation Professor at Duke University, for a study on the market effects of infamous “Triple Witching Hour.” The Center hosted its first conference in the spring of 1988, in the aftermath of the October 1987 stock market crash. The conference proved to be a resounding success and later became an annual event.
During the early years of the Center, special friendship and mutual respect developed between Thomas Peterffy, chairman of Interactive Brokers LLC (IBG) and Stoll. Both men understood how fundamental financial markets research was in understanding and structuring market operation and
regulation. To support FMRC activities, IBG gifted a percentage of its equity ownership. Valued at $3 million at the time, income from this gift provides permanent support for the Center, funding the maintenance of its databases and providing support for faculty research projects regarding financial markets. On making the gift, Thomas Peterffy, chairman of IBG, said,
"We are fortunate and excited to be able to support Vanderbilt's FMRC. They have made important contributions in the impartial academic study and evaluation of various market mechanisms in the past, and we hope that, with our contribution of additional resources, they will be able to continue this work on an expanded scale. We believe that increasing the efficiency of global financial markets may have just as great, if not a greater, impact on the quality of life of people around the world than many more conventional charitable activities. Based on the idea that we'd better stick to a field that we know and understand, we are pleased to make this contribution."
Hans Stoll retired in 2012, passing the directorship of the FMRC to Robert E. Whaley, who had re-joined Vanderbilt as the Valere Blair Potter Professor of Management (Finance). When Stoll passed away in 2020, Whaley contacted Peterffy, seeking his approval for changing the name of the center to the Hans Stoll Financial Markets Research Center. Peterffy’s response, “Of course, Bob.”