Margaret Mead Of Floor Traders Pleads For Survival Of Endangered Species

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Daniel Beunza has spent 13 years living among the increasingly rare New York Stock Exchange floor traders. He has studied their habits, ingratiating himself with them and gaining their trust, venturing out to such exotic and potentially dangerous areas as Long Island, to dine with them in their natural habitat, suburban surfing-themed restaurants. He has learned—to the best of an outsiders’ ability—their strange physical and verbal languages—set down for posterity in a glossary—and the structure of their fragile, tribal communities. And he warns that their extinction will not only extinguish a culture and seriously cut into the margins of goombah dive bars in Lower Manhattan, but will also put us all at risk.

Using the tools of ethnography—going among the group being studied, trying to understand the way they view the world and their customs and beliefs—the 42-year-old Spaniard says he approached his task "as if they are the last members of a tribe or a small village in isolation…."

Mr. Beunza… learned that many of his subjects were sons of traders, who were themselves the sons of traders. Typically from modest backgrounds, they often clustered by religious and cultural backgrounds—Irish Catholic and Italians dominate—and retreated to close-knit enclaves in Staten Island, New Jersey and Long Island….

Mr. Beunza concluded that the informal code of conduct and almost familial bonds make floor trading more effective….

The episode that crystallized his thinking was the 2010 "Flash Crash," when the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged nearly 1,000 points in a few minutes before quickly recovering….

While other exchanges canceled more than 20,000 trades that day, NYSE's main market didn't cancel any. Mr. Beunza attributes that to floor traders slowing down trading and restoring rationality to prices.

Researcher Argues for Preserving Floor Trading [WSJ]

Related

Might as well move a start-up in here. By Swiss Bank Corporation / Bankers Magazine [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Swiss Bankers Join Endangered Species List

Luckily people are still buying wristwatches.

Big Board Promises Not To Get Rid Of Trading Floor As It Crafts Plan To Let It Get Rid Of Trading Floor

[caption id="attachment_99440" align="alignleft" width="260"] The future Museum of American Capitalism.[/caption] Hurricane Sandy claimed many victims. Will the New York Stock Exchange's floor traders be among them?

HedgeFund Tombstone

Hedge Funds Back On Endangered Species List

Just kidding! The president who was supposed to save them isn’t adding anything to that list.

Feds Endanger Space Time Continuum By Arresting Futures Trader in 2015 For Crime Perpetrated in 2010

If a man who trades futures in 2015 is arrested for a crime he might have committed five years ago, does Marty McFly's hand start to disappear?