Commentary

Robert Schuessler
Traders Magazine Online News

A Smarter Monkey

In this contributed piece, TIM noted that some traders do better than others when using data that has been run through certain analysis - that is, have used some form of machine learning to assist them.

Traders Poll

In his first public speech, SEC Chair Jay Clayton deviated from his prepared remarks and offered his own "off the cuff" comments on market issues. Do you like this change of pace?




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June 20, 2005

Are Options Specialists an Endangered Species?

By Gregory Bresiger

It's a bad time for options specialists and specialists in general.

LaBranche & Co., a bellwether specialist firm, reported poor first quarter earnings-$2.2 million versus $6.9 million for the same period of 2004. But, more importantly, several options exchange officials are pushing for rules that would allow brokerages to route orders to a designated market maker. That move is having a dramatic effect, said one exchange official.

"What has changed so much in the options business is how few firms are left in the specialist business and how few independent market makers are left," Meyer "Sandy" Frucher, chairman and chief executive of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, told Traders Magazine.

Despite continuing tough times for specialists, Frucher said some will survive and prosper. But, he added, that they "must evolve to become both specialists and market makers."

That, Frucher noted, will mean firms must be both liquidity providers and have superb technology.