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Last Days of the Club?

Traders Magazine, January 2002

John A. Byrne Editor

Strange at this might seem, the future is on the walls of the New York Stock Exchange: a classical future, a prosperous future inspired by fashionable columns, enlightened art and a trading floor that is, what can I say, about as idiosyncratic but as fundamentally decent as the running of the bulls - pun intended - in the south of Spain. The critics have been unkind. In an age of advanced electronic trading, an age in which ECNs and alternative trading systems siphon off more than 40 percent of Nasdaq order flow, it is rumored that the Big Board's days are numbered. It is suggested that the Big Board is about to die. It is about to see its listed order flow siphoned off by the ECNs and their allies in the stock exchange game. One critic can provide some historical perspective. "The New York Stock Exchange may still be today's natural monopoly," the critic decrees (no, it is not Traders Magazine's cranky columnist Gregory Bresiger, a scribe who calls me sir on a Monday morning after some Enron shares postpone his retirement plans), "but the new electronic OTC marketplace which is emerging will almost certainly be tomorrow's" [natural monopoly].

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