THREEWALL STREETCapital Markets on Autopilot

It was a trip I’d been meaning to take for a long time. For over two decades, my brother had worked on Wall Street, first at Salomon Brothers and later as a specialist on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. There he’d been one of the auctioneers in the open outcry system through which, in the prehistoric days of the 1980s and 1990s, some 80 percent of stock trades had flowed. I’d intended many times to go watch Michael doing his job, and many times I’d put it off. Today Michael’s retired. The position of specialist has virtually dissolved. The Exchange visitors’ gallery is closed. When I asked him not long ago if he could arrange a tour of the Exchange for me, he called around and the message ...

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