NYSE may go from the floor to the chip

Amy Scott Jun 2, 2006

KAI RYSSDAL: John Thain missed the action on Wall Street today. The CEO of the New York Stock Exchange was in Paris. He’s celebrating the Big Board’s ten billion dollar deal to buy Euronext. The company that runs exchanges in Amsterdam, Brussels, Lisbon and Paris. Together…Euronext and the NYSE would trade two trillion dollars worth of shares every month. Thain’s trying to create the world’s leading stock market. And Marketplace’s Amy Scott reports he might be doing it by driving one kind of business away.

AMY SCOTT: While the markets buzzed with word of the transatlantic deal, brokers at the New York Stock Exchange reacted to news of a different sort. Bloomberg reported today that the Exchange plans to charge brokers more to conduct their traditional open outcry business on the trading floor. Meanwhile, it would lower the fees for electronic trading. The rationale, Bloomberg says, is to regain some of the market share New York has lost to electronic competitors like Nasdaq. The New York Stock Exchange wouldn’t confirm the report. But broker Peter Kann with Calyon Securities is worried. He says business isn’t so hot as it is.

PETER KANN: If your income is going down, your expenses are going up, it can’t be good for anybody, really.

The New York Stock Exchange seems less and less interested in the old fashioned way of trading. Its recent merger with Archipelago gave it a foothold in electronic trading. Euronext also operates electronic exchanges.

The NYSE is in the process of launching a new hybrid system that allows customers a choice. They can trade instantly via computer or through a floor broker, like Randolph Post. But Post says the cards are stacked against him.

RANDOLPH POST: You know, technology is too formidable. It’s anonymous, it’s cost-effective, it’s quick. And as a floor broker I find it increasingly difficult to sell what I do to my customers.

Particularly, Post says, if he he has to pass higher fees onto them.

In New York, I’m Amy Scott for Marketplace.

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