CBOE was honored today to have some very special guests from the Southern Province of China. They were CEOs of diverse corporation’s and they came to see our trading floor as part of their visit to Chicago. I was lucky to have Brenna Hardman of Trading Block, who is conversational in Chinese, and her intern Xiran (Joyce) Chen help with the tour.
As we entered the trading floor our new friends were a bit surprised as to where everybody was. You see there was a time when we had over 4,000 people working on the floor but with the advent of electronic trading that number has dwindled to about 300. It was a busy quiet to say the least and that’s because we trade about 4,000,000 contracts a day here at CBOE.
Our first stop was to the VIX pit and our guests were in awe of the large screens listing all of the call and put options on the VIX. The traders and brokers were in awe of us too because they don’t see too many visitors. Our group loved the technology and was amazed by all of the flat screens in front of each trader listing their option positions. They were able to see the general make-up of how the orders are processed so efficiently here at CBOE.
We then worked our way over to the S&P 500 pit which I refer to as Jurassic Park. You know, the way the whole floor used to be with lots of market makers shoulder to shoulder trading and shouting out markets. I told our visitors that if they were to come back to this pit tomorrow it would look just like today with each trader and broker standing in the exact same spot. And yes, good shoes are an important tool to the trade.
Brenna and Joyce gave them a good background on the basics of options and they were clearly thrilled to learn the trade-offs of purchasing a call option as opposed to buying a stock. They are quick learners and it’s no wonder they’re at the top of their organizations.
After some Q & A along with some pictures they had one more stop to make in Chicago. Lunch in Chinatown of course!