PFGBEST's Leadership

Russell R. Wasendorf, Jr.
President and Chief Operating Officer of PFGBEST

Russell (Russ) R. Wasendorf, Jr. has been active in the derivatives industry since 1987. PFGBEST is one of the nation’s largest non-bank, non-clearing Futures Commission Merchants (FCMs).

Russell R. Wasendorf, Jr. He formed the PFGBEST Forex Division to bring skill and capabilities in foreign currency trading, dealing and brokerage to the company and its international client base of individual investors and institutions. Prior to that, he utilized his contacts gleaned in the study of Spanish language and culture to serve as a liaison between the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the largest banks and financial regulators in Mexico as the Mexican peso futures contract was being developed. Russ co-authored the book Foreign Currency Trading, published by McGraw Hill, in 1997.

Then, in 1998, Russ had a major role in building and launching the BESTDirect Online Trading system, which was among the very first to deliver customer orders directly to Globex. He continues to lead the IT group for all of the Wasendorf-affiliated companies.

Russ also helped create SFO – Stocks, Futures and Options Magazine – in 2001. Now in its 10th year, and fully digital, SFO is the most widely-distributed monthly publication specializing in these investments. One major achievement in publishing was his interview with Dr. Harry Markowitz, “the father of Modern Portfolio Theory,” with a dialogue about definitive research on sustainability factors in portfolio investing.

In 2009, Russ authored The Secret Keys to Smart Investing: Simple Strategic Rules to Diversify and Maximize Your Investment, with Dan McMullin. In it, he delves into choices and possible sustainable investing goals that can be achieved through education and diversification across unrelated asset classes. He explains to beginners and advanced traders alike, the terms and characteristics of modern investment tools, outlining some choices and possible goals to form an action plan. Whether the reader is a short-term, or a long-term investor, Russ writes that the "secret" is to keep learning. He explains the value of using exchange-traded derivatives, plus foreign exchange and accumulation of precious metals, among other assets, to create managed trading programs and systems that build a powerful investment plan to go along with traditional stock and bond portfolios.

The PFGBEST Managed Futures Division, also created more than a decade ago, features an industry-leading Commodity Trading Advisor database that can help investors select professional advisors to construct a vast array of tailor-made managed products, and private placement fund solutions to maximize diversification, reduce volatility and increase returns.

Russ has also developed the successful PFGBEST Options Division and the Wealth Management Division to emphasize the company’s strategic thrust under his leadership, which is “sustainable investing.”

Russ is a widely recognized expert on derivatives issues including international markets, full-service and online brokerage, electronic trade execution and clearing, futures commission merchant operations, foreign currency markets and investor education. He holds a Finance degree from the University of Iowa. He is fluent in Spanish, and is frequently a speaker at conferences and seminars around the world for the derivatives and related industries.

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