Back when the business of buying and selling stocks depended on human traders gathering in the same physical location — the New York Stock Exchange in lower Manhattan, for instance — a major snow storm could snarl commutes so badly that exchanges had to shut. That’s what happened during the blizzard of January 1996, which took place before computers dominated. Although pilloried by critics for making markets more difficult for humans, the technological revolution — which shifted most trading to computers housed in data centers in New Jersey and elsewhere — may have made markets more resilient to the weather. “We’re in Chatham, New Jersey, and we can trade tomorrow,” said Joe Saluzzi, co-head of equity trading at Themis Trading LLC. “If they’re open, we’re ready to go. Everybody has backup systems and after things like Hurricane Sandy and some storms of the past couple years, people have really locked down their backup systems and are ready to go.” [Bloomberg]
A trader at RBS has admitted to making a fat finger trade in the EUR/CHF pair Monday, a spokesperson for the bank told Reuters. The error caused a series of algorithmic trades from other traders to flood the market, sending the pair spiking for a short period of time. The trades which took place on the EBS foreign exchange platform sent the currency pair to spike to levels just shy of 1.21, the highest levels seen in a long time…EBS daily charts showed that the euro surged to 1.20928 francs from around 1.2015 within three minutes on Monday as the algorithmic traders went berserk…Initial reports had claimed that it was RBS’s algorithms that caused the spike. However, those reports were later proven wrong. It turns out that it was a simple fat finger trade that caused the spike and algos reacted to send the pair even higher. [MarketWatch, Reuters]
Morgan Stanley’s roadmap for the future involves fewer humans, more machines. Read more »
A couple months ago, we discussed an SEC worker who got in a bit of trouble with his employer for checking out a little porn while on the job. The unnamed supervisor made at least 1,800 logged attempts to check out some sites that included www.ladyboyx.com, www.ladyboyjuice.com, www.trannytit.com, and www.anal-sins.com, which, he admitted, “were kind of distraction per se.” Since then, when mentioning the Commission, we’ve casually suggested (by stating outright) that the majority of the staff spends its time looking at porn instead of, for instance, nailing Allen Stanford or Bernie Madoff. But we were just kidding! We had no reason to believe anyone but the tranny fetishist did this. A little hyperbole, etc. You know how it goes. As it turns out, though, the guy is actually in some good company. Like he told the lawyer sent in to investigate the matter, the hundreds attempts to get on www.ladyboyjuice.com alone in one day was an outlet to deal with the stress of the job. And according to a new probe by the SEC inspector general, over 30 of his colleagues, who ramped up their porn viewing time since the crisis started, have the same excuse. The world was ending! How could they be expected to deal with the global financial meltdown without Anal Sins 9-5? Also let’s give props where props are due. Some of these people (like the attorney who “admitted to downloading so much pornography to his government computer that he exhausted the available space on the computer hard drive and downloaded pornography to CDs or DVDs that he accumulated in boxes in his office”) are great problem solvers. They’d probably do a good job of catching frauds if they weren’t looking at tranny tits all day.