The Trading Floor


One of the most exciting parts of working in the sales and trading business of an investment bank is sitting on the trading floor. Most trading floors are structured with large open floor plans and long desks where traders or salespeople sit side by side, surrounded by computer monitors, televisions, risk reports, research articles, newspapers, telephones, and a mishmash of personal items (family photos, food, candy, toys, aspirin, coffee cups, and just about anything else). There are no cubicles or other delineations of private space and even the management offices that generally surround the periphery of the floor have glass walls. Shouting across the floor is not only permitted, but encouraged, as this is often the quickest way to communicate information either across a distance or to a large group of people. Traders and salespeople tend to thrive on the buzz of the trading floor and the worst thing, both for morale and as an indicator of activity, is a trading floor that sounds like a library. The trading floor banter is challenging and aggressive—it is not a genteel place. The most successful traders and salespeople tend not only to be good at their jobs, but have a quick wit, personality, and presence. It is a unique work environment and for those who enjoy it, the transition off the floor can be a difficult one.
To a new arrival, “the floor” can appear extremely chaotic, with the sort of noise level one might expect to find ...

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