The photo is definitely quaint but still matches our iconic image of how trading (whatever that is; most of us have little understanding of the mechanics of markets or the activity of trading). Maybe we picture men in jackets with numbers on ’em, holding phones and throwing pieces of paper and yelling and yelling. But that era has disappeared as technology has eliminated the need for a central place. Trading takes place in distributed facilities, owned and operated by “banks” (including Morgan Stanley et al) not in centralized facilities owned and operated by exchanges. The Chron today considers the history of the exchange in San Francisco, now a gym.
A 1999 article in The Chronicle reported that only about 5 percent of the 17.5 million shares traded daily there involved personal interaction on the exchange floor.
The romance was ending. Warren Langley, president and chief operating officer of the exchange from 1996 to 1999, wrote in an e-mail that those who had devoted their lives to the exchange “really were in pain as the world of technology and telecommunications made floor-based exchanges obsolete (and made the value of their jobs go away).”
In 2001, the exchange announced a merger with the electronic marketplace corporation Archipelago, eliminating the need for brokers to interact face to face, and sold the trading floor in 2002.