Rajiv Kumar Fernando
July 8, 1971
|Alma mater||Beloit College|
Rajiv K. "Raj" Fernando (born July 8, 1971) is an American businessman, political fundraiser and donor, and philanthropist. He is the current Chairman and CEO of Workstorm.com and the former CEO of Chopper Trading.
Early life and education
Fernando was born to CK and Laura Fernando while the two were living in Denmark, after CK completed a Fulbright Scholarship at New York University and Laura completed her studies in classical piano under a Juilliard School professor. He was born the youngest of three children after his two sisters, Netasha and Tanya, and moved to the United States before the age of one.
While in college, Fernando volunteered at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. From 1991 to 2001, Fernando worked in various roles including trading positions at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade.
In 2002, Fernando founded Chopper Trading, a Chicago-based proprietary trading firm that concentrated in the areas of fixed income, equities, and other products. Fernando became CEO of the company. During Chopper's development, Fernando designed, implemented, and managed sophisticated risk management, communications, trading, monitoring, and source code security systems. Since the company's founding, Fernando's work helped make the company a major participant on the world's largest global exchanges including the CME, Nasdaq, LSE, ICE, and Eurex with approximately 250 employees globally.
In January 2015, Fernando sold Chopper Trading to DRW Trading Group for $1 in "a deal that [would] fuse two of the best known companies in Chicago's proprietary trading community." In 2016, Fernando launched Workstorm.com, an Internet start-up, and serves as the Chairman and CEO.
Fernando was granted a spot on the State Department's International Security Advisory Board (ISAB). He resigned shortly after to focus on the needs of his company, citing unexpected and excessive volatility in the international markets due to the European financial crisis.
Around the same time, an ABC News report brought his appointment into question. In relation to the 2016 presidential election, ABC News revisited the terms of Fernando's ISAB appointment, questioning his experience and contributions to the Clinton Foundation. Those criticisms were later scrutinized as mischaracterizing Fernando's background in cyber security following reports and comment released by the State Department and ISAB. According to the ISAB Charter, membership should reflect a balance of backgrounds, points of view, and demographic diversity and include a wide variety of scientific, military, diplomatic, and political backgrounds.
ISAB executive director Richard Hartman referred Fernando as an expert in "cyber security," and said that Fernando has experience in the private sector implementing sophisticated risk management systems, information technology and international financial markets. Retired Brigadier General Stephen A. Cheney, ISAB member and CEO of American Security Project, recognized Fernando's "expertise in cyber-security [as] a great asset to [U.S.] national security."
Fernando’s expertise in financial systems aligns with ISAB work related to financial security, including a 2014 ISAB report that was released regarding cyber security in the financial industry.
Fernando has made political contributions to Democratic candidates since 2003. He fundraised for Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, raising up to US$100,000. Fernando donated US$9,400 to Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. He also fundraised for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. He donated $30,000 to WomenCount, a political action committee whose aim is to elect Democratic women who run for office.
Fernando serves on the board of directors for PAWS Chicago, a no-kill animal shelter, and the board of trustees for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He has supported Wounded Warriors, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago. Fernando has also been a contributor to The Steppenwolf Theatre, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and the Illinois Holocaust Museum, among other organizations. He has donated between $100,000 and $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation.
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- "Who is Raj Fernando, and why is the GOP attacking him?". Chicago Sun Times. June 25, 2016. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
- Lisa Bertagnoli (August 4, 2012). "At Chopper Trading, philanthropy is guided by the heart as well as the head". Crain’s Chicago Business. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
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- "STAFF ROUNDTABLE ON DISRUPTIVE TRADING PRACTICES" (PDF). CFTC.gov. December 2, 2010.
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- Shia Kapos (June 19, 2016). "Meet the bundlers for Hillary Clinton". Chicago SunTimes. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
- "About Raj Fernando". Raj Fernando. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- Nick Fernandez (August 15, 2016). "Media Scandalize Clinton Connections By Mischaracterizing International Security Advisory Board Appointee As Unfit". Media Matters For America. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
- "How Clinton Donor Got on Sensitive Intelligence Board". ABC News. 10 June 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
- "International Security Advisory Board (ISAB) Charter". www.state.gov. Retrieved 2016-06-11.
- Jorgensen, Sarah; LoBianco, Tom; Fitzpatrick, David; Gaouette, Nicole; Koran, Laura (June 11, 2016). "Clinton donor received top spot on State Department intel board". CNN. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
- Kapos, Shia. "Shelters get along like cats and dogs". Chicago Business. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "Contributor and Grantor Information". Clintonfoundation.org. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
- Bertagnoli, Lisa. "At Chopper Trading, philanthropy is guided by the heart as well as the head". Chicago Business. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
- Kapos, Shia. "Guess who's hosting the next Chicago fundraiser for Hillary Clinton". chicagobusiness.com. Retrieved 8 March 2016.