Nathan Most has always been willing to take on problems that on the surface appeared to be mundane. But as the former physicist has delved into each challenge, he often found himself at the forefront of an astounding development, anything from inventing sonar to detect enemy German submarines during WWII to masterminding the Spider, the first exchange-traded fund.

Most is impressive when he speaks to an audience of young, exchange-traded fund developers, marketing executives and lawyers at conferences on the subject. All listen attentively to the 86-year-old rattle off details on the trading intricacies of the hottest new product to hit the mutual fund scene in years. Any conversation with Most is also surprising, as he is more than likely to be interrupted by a call on his cell phone from someone at Barclays or at an exchange from the far reaches of the globe.

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