IEX: Where People Thrive and Culture Matters

IEX’s unwavering commitment to its culture sets it apart in the fast-paced worlds of finance and technology.

Written by Brigid Hogan
Published on May. 13, 2024
IEX: Where People Thrive and Culture Matters
Photo: IEX
Brand Studio Logo

From the early days of IEX, Gerald Lam saw his leaders and colleagues invested in a strong sense of culture — one that has only continued to deepen over time.

“Our mission is to build tech for fairness and performance,” said Lam, the fintech company’s director of business development and partnerships. “This mission drives everything we do and is the foundation of our culture and employee experience.”

When Lam first joined IEX more than a decade ago, he saw that mission driving the team toward three clear priorities:

“Cool tech that I didn’t fully understand back then, but that I knew would have a huge impact on a big problem; a solution that we knew could scale massively; and the chance to build a better, mission-driven culture along with it,” he listed.

 

Group photo of IEX team members who ran the NYC Half Marathon
IEX

 

For Lam, watching IEX stay the course with culture has kept him deeply engaged in his work as the company has grown.

“IEX could have fallen into a stereotypical finance or tech culture,” he said. “But we don’t change who we are based on the problem we are trying to solve at the moment. As we explore new market trends, it could have been easy to chase bright shiny objects. We have held onto the genuine culture and transparency that is the heart of who we are.”

IEX’s approach to its work in the fast-paced world of finance and technology is different than many of its competitors. IEX pairs a high-performance culture with people-first priorities.

HR Business Partner Jaclyn Longo stressed the significance of executive buy-in to cultivating that people-first culture.

“Our executives care about the employee experience. Period,” she said. “Because of this, we are allowed to spend a lot of time and resources ensuring our people programs and tools create an amazing experience for employees.”

 

“Our executives care about the employee experience. Period.”

 

Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Rob Park underscored exactly that.

“My co-founders and I started IEX with a core set of beliefs and behaviors that we have never strayed from,” he said. “As we have grown and ventured outside of equities, we have partnered very closely with our people and culture team to ensure our culture, traditions and standards aren’t compromised as we evolve. That has been a very intentional choice. We evolve — the core of how we behave and perform does not.”

It’s not just the big-picture guidance that builds a culture, though. The daily way people work together across IEX is what truly cements those standards and makes the common mission clear, according to Park.

“We have a culture of real collaboration and camaraderie,” he said. “There is a sense that if your colleagues succeed, you succeed. You don’t see the competitiveness that’s common at some other finance and tech firms which frees us up to share transparently and grow together.”

 

“We have a culture of real collaboration and camaraderie. If your colleagues succeed, you succeed.”

 

For Park, that isn’t the only factor that sets IEX apart. 

“Our entire culture was built around our ethos and our desire to bring transparency to the industry,” he said. “We are all driven by a similar ambition to be an equalizer and protect investors by doing what is right, even if it’s not the thing that’s most profitable in the short term. This rallies our culture around a common mission and makes it easy to understand what the right decisions are on a day-to-day basis.”

The emphasis on culture at IEX is deeply ingrained in every aspect of the company’s operations, Longo noted. From the onboarding process to ongoing learning and development initiatives, employees are empowered to grow and succeed, and an annual $5,000 learning stipend accessible to every employee reflects the company’s commitment to investing in the continuous growth of its workforce.

With voluntary departures under 10 percent annually, the IEX people and culture team has demonstrated clear effectiveness with its programming.

“Our onboarding ‘JumpStart’ program, which includes Orange Guides to support remote onboarding, continues to highlight the strength of our people focus,” Longo said. “The program focuses on understanding the company, businesses and culture and helps new employees feel connected right away.”

Moreover, the traditions and activities at IEX serve as pillars of its culture. Events like Friends & Family Fest and Bagel Tuesday foster a sense of community and recognize the importance of employees’ families and well-being.

 

Group photo of people in costumes at IEX’s Friends & Family Fest. 
IEX

 

As the company grows and evolves, Longo and the people team are finding ways to help the team do so as well.

“We are committed to intentionally finding and hiring people that are a fit and represent the clients we serve and their clients as well,” she said. “We have a culture that is in-tune with creating an employee experience that is great and our entire C-suite is supportive of it.”

 

“We are committed to intentionally finding and hiring people that are a fit and represent the clients we serve and their clients as well.”

 

She continued, “Our mission is to create a more equitable investment experience for everyone. If our team isn’t representative of what our investors look like or focused on the customer, we won’t be focused on our mission.”

When it comes to hiring, IEX prioritizes looking for candidates who embody the company’s core values and team standards. The commitment to culture is exemplified by leaders like Park, who demonstrates transparency and empathy in navigating organizational changes. 

 

IEX team members from the employee-led Think Big, Do Go committee at a volunteer city cleanup event
IEX

 

As IEX celebrates milestones like its 10-year anniversary, the company remains committed to its core values while adapting to growth and change.

“The vivid memories of the intensity in 2013 leading up to our inaugural trade still resonate with me,” Park said. “But what sets IEX apart is the unwavering intensity that has persisted throughout our growth, evolving from a tenacious startup with just 10 members to a flourishing company of nearly 200.”

While Park feels “immense pride” for the company’s growth, maintaining the passion, nimble collaboration and transparent communication of the early startup days are equally important to him.

“We recognized that what worked seamlessly for a small, nimble startup wouldn’t scale effectively for a larger organization, and that realization coincided with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, pushing us to prioritize finding a better way to collaborate, especially with the shift to remote work,” he said.

The leadership team set concrete goals centered on adaptability, efficient resource management and product development. The implementation of four key agile teams and the introduction of daily morning meetings became integral to the shared strategy, along with key metrics focused on increased revenues, platform stability, client satisfaction and employee well-being.

“This strategic shift in our approach not only enabled us to navigate the complexities of growth but also reinforced our commitment to fostering a dynamic and people-centric work culture,” Park explained.

Whether considering Lam, who has “done it all except coding and HR” at IEX, or Longo who commutes 90 minutes to the office and “never regrets” a day on the job, it’s clear that the company’s commitment to helping team members succeed pays dividends across the board.

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by IEX.

Hiring Now
Integral Ad Science
AdTech • Big Data • Digital Media • Marketing Tech