Most days I'm at my desk editing and writing away, or out visiting with readers, sources and market experts. However, on Feb. 27 -- the day the stock market took its largest nosedive since Sept. 11, 2001 -- I happened to be on the trading floor of Knight Capital Group orchestrating photos for the launch of a new feature called "Anatomy of a Trading Floor."
This is a cool new feature that I'm truly excited about. We talk about cutting-edge technology in every story we write, but rarely do we have the opportunity to actually show it to you. Through "Anatomy of a Trading Floor", we'll be offering our readers a glimpse at the most exciting technology in the industry. You can experience a state-of-the-art trading floor, including close-ups of trading desks, such as institutional sales, currency, special situations, block trading and much more. We also have pictures of the entire 321-seat floor, revealing how it is structured -- where the retail traders sit; where the institutional team is situated; and where international, operations, block trading and compliance are located. You'll almost feel like you're visiting the floor yourself.
In the current issue of AT, you'll see a spread featuring some of the incredible photos of Knight Capital's floor taken by the very talented Sacha Lecca. But this new feature really comes to life online, where you can get lost on the floor, clicking through more than 70 photos (advancedtrading.com/tradingfloor). Our goal is to gather photos of as many floors as we can -- sell side, buy side and exchanges (at least those that still have a floor) -- so our audience can compare their technology and get a feel for the trading dynamic.
The excitement on the Knight floor as a result of the market downturn on Feb. 27 was like none that I had ever seen. The volume (as in yelling, not trading) and action was reminiscent of a Wall Street movie -- not the calm I'm used to seeing while traders work quietly and electronically behind their workstations. The decline -- and, more directly, the computer glitch experienced by the Dow Jones -- may lead the SEC to take a closer look at the capacity of electronic trading systems. There is even a question as to whether exchange trading floors have been closed too quickly. Apparently, the SEC will be very busy, as the Commission also is taking a closer look at dark pools' impact on the public markets. As Brian Carr, CEO of NYFIX Millennium, puts it, "If they were called red, white and blue pools, there wouldn't be a problem." It's all about perception, he adds.
Despite the expected scrutiny on many areas of trading, you still can enjoy the view -- in the light -- provided by our new photo essay. Feel free to reach out to me if there is a particular firm's floor you'd like to see featured or if you'd like your firm to be highlighted.