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(Adds quote from Hempstead, details on KCG)
By Trevor Hunnicutt
NEW YORK, May 23 (Reuters) - Chris Hempstead, a well-known specialist in exchange-traded fund sales at KCG Holdings Inc , has been let go as part of a round of layoffs at the trading company, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
A spokeswoman for KCG declined to comment.
Virtu Financial Inc announced last month that it would buy rival KCG in a $1.4 billion deal bringing together two major U.S. electronic trading and market-making firms.
The takeover plan unleashed a wave of speculation in the industry about how the merged company would combine its trading businesses, including within the fast-growing ETF space.
Hempstead was one of the people who bolstered KCG's ETF trading business after Reggie Browne, known as "the Godfather of ETFs," and his team left in 2013 and moved to Cantor Fitzgerald.
"We came in and beat the odds and rebuilt that business," Hempstead told Reuters. "I'll never have a regret."
Hempstead said he is entertaining job offers.
ETFs have become a central part of modern markets. SPDR S&P 500 ETF, which tracks its namesake equity index, is on average the most traded security in the U.S. stock market, by value.
Intermediary trading firms are essential to keeping the funds' prices in line with the value of the stocks, bonds or other assets they hold. (Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Jennifer Ablan and Tom Brown)