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August 31, 2001

End of an Era for NYSE Reporters

By Gregory Bresiger

The march of progress means the end of about 150 jobs on the New York Stock Exchange.

The remaining 150 stock market reporters - who once wrote all orders in pencil but today the only orders they generally take down are for lunch - are going to be phased out over the next few months.

Orders are now entered through automation, so over the last few years, stock market reporters "had nothing to do," said Richard Grasso, the chairman of the exchange.

Stock market reporters are veterans, a living part of the exchange's history. Service ranges from 17 to 45 years, according to a spokesman.

There were 300 stock market reporters at the beginning of the 1990s, but slowly they have been phased out as they retired or moved on to other jobs. The last 150 reporters will be offered a severance package, the spokesman said. The severance formula calls for a year of regular salary plus two weeks pay for each year of service. Those who want to continue to work will be offered the position of senior floor trainee, which is a messenger job.

The end for the reporters comes as the NYSE introduces its open-order book. That's an electronic system that allows outsiders to see the most recent price for a share as well as all pending bids and offers, which would be updated every ten seconds or sooner.