Mostly… fixed income and cross product eTrading

August 1, 2007

the lunatics are taking over the asylum

Filed under: 2015, etrading — holky @ 8:51 pm

It’s official – bloody big trading floors are back in fashion and despite rumblings a few years ago that the large-scale trading floor would become obsolete, the growth of etrading in practice means most trading floors actually are retaining their footprints or increasing in size; as its now critical to have support teams on the floor immediately accessible to traders. An example being the equity group on UBS’ floor, the largest trading floor in the world, is comprised of 600 people, but only 110 of those are traders.   

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4 Comments »

  1. Having worked on one of UBS’ trading floors I’ve also seen this. For each trader you have a sales team, tech support, a quant and desk developers. This might sound like madness, as trading floor space is hugely expensive, but it gives real benefits.

    It allows the support staff to really know what’s going wrong and the development teams to physically walk up to the traders and quants and ask what a system should do. I can honestly say that the further away a trading system is developed from the users, the worse it is.

    This also allows the trader to vent their anger when something bad happens rather than wait for half a day due to timezones… A shouting trader is a happy trader.

    With the growth of eTrading the ‘Trader’ is increasingly becoming the system rather than a single person.

    Comment by robann — August 2, 2007 @ 8:05 am

  2. I second the opinions expressed by Robann – he’s bang on the money.

    Comment by John Greenan — August 3, 2007 @ 11:32 am

  3. I agree with the whole lot of you! I think this recent market downturn will show us all just what happens to those who fail to truly understand the changes the markets are facing. It was the last generation of Wall Street that are building these massive floors. If any of a new generation wants the floors its deriv traders who just want to be like the cash trader of old. Gecko wanna be’s ok maybe just some other big figures like Milken. Alas, even Milken moved out to Cali and set up a small floor.

    All the above said, a trader’s desk is actually cheaper now than a cubicle…so maybe its still cool to have a big floor with cheap places to sit for those rainmakers.

    Comment by lacidar — August 6, 2007 @ 3:13 am

  4. At the risk of talking my own book (cough) once each firm becomes organisationally able to cope i think well see this “everyone in one place and all part of the trading function” help break down existing 2 dimensional trading desk silos – so as well as having traders each responsible for a sector, curency, chunk of the curve, you have a desk presence with the same reporting lines as the rest of the desk, who is responsible for electronic trading – not constrained to ccy/mty/sector, but specifically looking after how the electronic distribution is run in order to execute the desk’s overall trading strategy.

    Comment by holky — August 24, 2007 @ 7:14 pm


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