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Decimal Critics Wrong

Traders Magazine, February 2001

Harold Bradley

Decimalization has arrived to a cascade of boos from buyside traders, spurred on by the Street's major block trading desks. Prices move with maddeningly slow speed, investors cannot see where "size" lives without a phone call to the floor, and institutions believe that orders are increasingly "gamed."

Changes to market structure often provoke this reaction. It reminds me of the early days when Instinet began to transform the way stocks traded in Nasdaq. Fat, lazy days of 1/4 and 1/2 spreads, accompanied by frequent stories of "XYZ" trading firm "in ahead" yielded over time to 1/256 spreads with lightening fast execution ability.

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