We talk a lot about how machines are being used more and more in finance. This is especially important in High-Frequency Trading (HFT) and Algorithmic Trading or algo-trading (AT). There is simply no way for humans to compete on these levels, as a few milliseconds means the difference between making money and losing it. These timescales are shorter than it takes to speak a whole word, and hence it is no place for screaming brokers.
Well, there isn’t really a place for screaming brokers anymore, because not only do computers dominate the super short trading scene, they appeared in the human-directed trading scene long before. Let’s look at a very brief history of the shift from brokers to computers, then let’s look at the consequences. Some are nice, some not so nice.
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History of the Shift
Once upon a time, brokers crowded the NYSE floor to make trades with hand signals and loud calling. They also used phones to speak to each other and buy and sell. What an antiquated idea, no?