Kenneth D. Pasternak (born February 21, 1954, New York City; raised in Fleischmanns, New York) is an American financial executive and entrepreneur. He is a co-founder along with Walter Raquet of Knight Trading Group, at one time the largest market maker in NASDAQ traded securities and also served as its chairman and CEO.
Pasternak began his career in 1979 at Spear, Leeds & Kellogg where he became senior vice president, limited partner, and trading room manager. He worked at Speer Leeds until 1994.
In 1995, Pasternak co-founded Knight Trading Group along with Walter Raquet, a publicly traded $1 billion financial services company. Pasternak served as the company's chief executive officer from its founding in 1995 until he retired on January 21, 2002. Pasternak also served on the company's board of directors from 1998 until January 31, 2002. Under his leadership, Knight became the leading wholesale market maker in the United States securities markets. Pastenak and Raquet also took the company public in 1998 under the ticker symbol NITE, and its market capitalization exceeded $5 billion.
In 2001, Pasternak was ranked 9th on Forbes' financial services executive pay list, and number 51 overall, with a total compensation package of $26,488,000; this included a base salary of $250,000 and a cash bonus of $26,213,000. Because he owned founders' stock he was compensated primarily in cash, and in terms of cash, he was the highest paid CEO in 2001. Other notable financial services executives on this list included Henry Paulson Jr., the CEO of Goldman Sachs who ranked 70th on the list.
In April 2000, Pasternak presented testimony to the US Senate Banking Committee on Competition and Transparency in the Financial Marketplace of the Future. In May 2001, Pasternak presented testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs regarding the implementation and future of decentralized markets.
Pasternak served on the board of directors of NASDAQ in 2001–2002 and the NASD board of governors in 2001–2002, and was an early-stage investor in the International Securities Exchange (ISE) in 1999.
In 2001, Kenneth Pasternak retired as CEO of Knight Trading Group. As described in Edgar Perez’s book, Knightmare on Wall Street: The Rise and Fall of Knight Capital and the Biggest Risk for Financial Markets, Pasternak claimed he didn’t expect to be CEO of a big company. “I was already looking for an opportunity to retire. I always saw myself as a business builder. I had some health issues. I had diabetes and weighed 325 pounds.”
Entrepreneur of the Year
On March 5, 2010, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) council reversed a ruling that found two former Knight Securities LP senior executives were responsible for supervisory failures in connection with allegedly fraudulent sales to institutional customers.
Chestnut Ridge Capital
After retiring from Knight Trading Group, Pasternak founded Chestnut Ridge Capital, LLC, a northern New Jersey-based hedge fund, which also serves as the Pasternak family office. The fund's strategy is classified as Macro Long/Short and has approximately $90 million in assets under management.
The KABR Group
Pasternak also serves as chairman of KABR Real Estate Investment Partners LLC, a real estate investment firm. The KABR Group is dedicated to the purchase of select market cycle bottom real-estate assets in the New York/New Jersey area and southern Florida. KABR was formed in 2008 when Pasternak conducted a capital raise among family and friends. KABR is the first marketed product to come out of Chestnut Ridge Capital LLC. Outside of KABR, Pasternak owns approximately $100 million worth of real estate.
On June 1, 2009, KABR closed a deal to purchase 85 Challenger Road - a 235,000 sq ft (21,800 m2) office building in Ridgefield Park, NJ. The Class-A office building sits adjacent to the NJ Turnpike and was formerly occupied by the Daewoo Corporation. KABR purchased the building from AIG for "...the right price" according to Pasternak - though the sales price was undisclosed.
Real estate development
Pasternak is a general partner in the development of the Belleayre Resort.
- Business2.0 "Trade By Knight" written by Loren Fox Published on October 24, 2000 reprinted with permission from Business 2.0 by Reprint Management Services
- The Record, Bergen County, NJ, Knight Trading beats expectations, October 7, 2003, Author: CHRISTOPHER JOHNSON , Bloomberg News | . Provided by ProQuest LLC Available at .
- Shade, Jason (December 14, 2006). "Hudson Holding: Pasternak's Involvement Makes This a Trader Firm to Watch". Seeking Alpha. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
- Saitz, Greg S. "Former exec at Knight Capital Group cleared of fraud charges", The Star-Ledger, June 12, 2008. Accessed September 20, 2011. "The Securities and Exchange Commission had sued Kenneth Pasternak, a Saddle River resident who now runs a hedge fund, and another former Knight executive in 2005, accusing Pasternak of allowing improper trading at the Jersey City firm during the tech boom in 1999 and 2000."
- SUNY New Paltz (February 2007). "Ken Pasternak '77 has earned a name for himself in the financial industry". SUNY New Paltz. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-03-04.
- School of Business (February 21, 2002). "Wall Street Exec brings his mentorship to alma mater". SUNY New Paltz. Retrieved 2009-03-04.
- "Forbes 2001 Executive Pay List", Forbes.com, December, 2001, available at 
- Testimony of Pasternak to the US Banking, Committee, available at
- Pasternak, Kenneth (May 24, 2001). "Hearing on "The Implimentation (sic) and Future of Decimalized Markets."". http://www.senate.gov/. Retrieved 2009-03-09.
- "Knight/Trimark Group CEO Named New Jersey Ernst & Young Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year", Business Wire, June 21, 1999, available at 
- Pasternak cleared of all SEC charges
- Chapman, Peter (September 2008). "Former Knight Get Vindication". Trader Magazine. Retrieved 2009-03-09.
- Bray, Chad; Dow Jones Newswire (June 12, 2008). "Judge: SEC Didn't Prove Fraud Case Against Ex-Knight CEO". Dow Jones Newswire.
- Miller, Jay (March 5, 2010). "Finra Panel Reverses Ruling Against ex-Knight Executives". The Wall Street Journal.
- "All Cash Deal Nets Troubled Asset", globest.com, June 3, 2009, available at 
- "New $400M Resort Approved at Belleayre Mountain Ski Area". First Tracks!! Online Ski Magazine. Retrieved 2009-03-13.