"The masters of the universe, like the Giants and Jets, now scrimmage across the Hudson River in New Jersey—their trading these days done almost entirely by computers piping algorithmic playbooks into a fortress of servers in Mahwah and other competing exchanges nearby.
The small squads of human traders who remain on the floor at 11 Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange’s Teddy Roosevelt-era headquarters, are (for the most part) just playing fantasy football.
Yet just as the Big Apple’s football teams kept their New York names after wedding themselves to the Garden State, the financial industry, investors and the media continue to pretend that the Big Board is where the action is. We need to end this fiction.
How much actual trading is done at 11 Wall Street?
“It’s pretty darn close to zero,” said Eric Scott Hunsader, founder of market-data provider Nanex. “Even that is pushing it, because they don’t make markets, the guys in the jackets. They might say they do, but they don’t.”
...The Big Board is now little more than a Big Tent for a phony media circus of photo-ops and cable-news talking heads. P.T. Barnum couldn’t draw the crowds Jack Ma did last month when he clanged the bell to kick off Alibaba’s IPO. The only things exchanged on the floor, however, were camera flashes, sound bites, and high-fives.
...by relying on trading-floor photos, we have been distorting the truth rather than reporting it."