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Mr. J. Peter Brown '71

190306_Peter_Brown_0010_cropFenwick High School Hall of Fame


The bloodline of Mr. Pete Brown ’71 runs the color of Fenwick black and white. The Fenwick tradition began in his family in the 1940s with his uncles Bill '41 and Peter Brown '44, and his father Roger Brown '46 along with two other uncles Al Brady '43 and John Weston '47. The next generation saw cousin Tom Brady ’65 and brother Mike Brown ’70. And all four of Pete’s children attended Fenwick (Brian ’95, Kevin ’98, Kathleen ’00, Meagan ’07) rounding out three generations of Friars.


But it was Pete Brown’s time here in the late 1960s and early ’70s that made the man being inducted into the Fenwick High School Hall of Fame. As a basketball player his senior year, Mr. Brown was co-captain of the team that was named Chicago Tribune All-Area, he was named MVP and he was chosen to play on the North Section All-Star Team. He was also a talent on the baseball diamond. While an upperclassman, he twice played for Chicago Tribune All-Area teams and was an all-star player on the North Section All-Star Teams. In 1970, Mr. Brown hit the game-winning homerun to clinch the North Section championship. He served as captain of the team and was named MVP his senior year.


Mr. Brown followed in the footsteps of his grandfather—a National Baseball Hall of Fame award-winning sportswriter—by writing for The Wick from 1970–1971.


After Fenwick, Mr. Brown attended Quincy University in Quincy, Ill. where he graduated with a bachelor of science in business management. He took a job with Merrill Lynch in February of 1982 as a phone clerk, and was on the floor trading by November. This made him junior behind 23 other brokers, but by the time he left 20 years later, he held the second highest seniority and was responsible for saving many jobs at Merrill Lynch thanks to his cost-cutting and revenue-producing initiatives.


The year he left Merrill Lynch, Mr. Brown founded XFA (X-Change Financial Access) on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) with the help of three generous partners. XFA is an industry-leading agency trade execution services firm for global exchange-traded derivatives. In the beginning, it was just Mr. Brown and one clerk in the S&P 500 pit. Within a year, XFA had grown to 100 employees, and five years later, they were the biggest brokerage operation at the CBOE.


Mr. Brown has served on a long list of committees and boards including the Bo Jackson Give Me a Chance Foundation and the Quincy University Board of Trustees. A Fenwick High School Life Trustee, Mr. Brown served on the Fenwick High School Board of Directors along with its Executive and Finance committees. Mr. Brown is also deeply committed to helping children and families in need, and remains involved with the Mulliganeers. He has served on the Mulliganeers Board of Directors since 1996 and co-chaired the organization’s largest fundraising event, it’s St. Patrick’s Day Party from 1997–2006.


Mr. Brown splits his time between homes in Riverside, Michigan and Florida where he enjoys playing golf, the investment game and spending time with his family. He and his wife Mary Kay have been married since 1976. In addition to their four children, they have five grandchildren. Time will tell if they will continue the family’s Fenwick tradition.