SWS members tour NYSE trading floor

By Bailey Link (GSB ’16)

Processed with RookieAnyone who watches CNBC sees the New York Stock Exchange on their television screen every day. On March 6, Fordham Smart Woman Securities members got to see it in person.

Wednesday’s visit featured both a tour and an information session on the trading floor. Happily for the SWS members, it was led by Michelle Liguori, senior trainer at NYSE Euronext, one of the relatively few women in what Jay Woods, market maker representative of Goldman Sachs, has called “very much a boys’ club.”

Ms. Liguori brought the Fordham group to a balcony area overlooking the exchange floor and surveyed the history of the NYSE. She explained that the exchange can be traced back to the Buttonwood agreement of 1792, which celebrates its 222nd anniversary this May. She said that the exchange has only occupied its current home on Wall Street for a few decades, and she reviewed some of the mergers and acquisitions that have shaped the exchange since 2005.

SWS members learned that the exchange’s operation is complex. In general, Ms. Liguori explained, traders work on the floor in “figure 8” trading posts. Surrounding them are “pods” of two types of brokers: house brokers, such as those from Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan, who make trades for their own company and for others, and independent brokers, who only make trades for other companies. The entire exchange now operates electronically and algorithmically, except for the opening and closing work, which remains manual.

The NYSE gets no shortage of media attention. In addition to CNBC, which has an on-floor studio, there is an in-house presence for Fox Business News, CBS and others. Every day, as all financial news-watchers know, there are opening and closing bell ceremonies featuring representatives from member firms, celebrities or sports figures. Perhaps one day Fordham SWS will be among them.

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