CBOE Memories: 3 Long-time Employees Share Their Recollections

April marks the 40th anniversary of CBOE and the options industry.  As part of our month-long anniversary celebration, we’ve invited the CBOE community to share their memories of CBOE and four decades of options trading.  These are their stories…

Great Day to be Out of the Office

One of my unforgettable memories of 33 years at CBOE goes back a trip to Japan. The Tokyo Stock Exchange was preparing to trade options and we had been providing them some education and guidance. I had flown to Tokyo over the weekend and spent all day Monday into the evening with folks from the exchange. It was the next morning and I was fragging my jet lagged body down to breakfast at the Okura Hotel – a hotel where a young lady in full kimono stood outside the elevator to push the floor button for you.

As I exited the elevator, there was a television monitor on the wall opposite the elevator doors. I looked up and there on the screen was my boss, the then CBOE Chairman, Duke Chapman. Duke was somewhat publicity shy and I was completely puzzled as to why he would be on Japanese television at 6:30 am on a Tuesday morning. The answer was even more surprising.

Tuesday, 6:30 am, October 20, 1987 in Japan equated to 4:30 pm, October 19 in Chicago. Black Monday had just occurred, and Duke was being interviewed by CNN.. Stock markets around the world had crashed and the Dow Jones Industrial Average had dropped 508 points to 1738.74, an astounding 22.6% drop.

Once I comprehended what was going on I had two thoughts. First, was to imagine the scrambling that must be going on back at CBOE. Next was to think what a great day to not be in the office! I’m still not sure which surprised me more, the Crash or Duke’s face on the TV at that place and time.

Dick D. 33 year employee at CBOE

One Is The Loneliest Number

I started with the CBOE in 1981 in the Office of Trading Procedures. At that time, 75% of a Market-Maker’s total contract volume had to be in option classes to which the Market-Makers had appointments, and the other 25% had to be done in-person. I remember at the end of each month, Market-Makers would flock into our tiny space on the 7th floor of the Board of Trade building to make sure they were doing at least 25% of the trading in-person…enter hand-held machines and my question was WHERE DID EVERYONE GO!?!

A. D.

First Impressions of the Trading Floor – 1983

My first day on the trading floor in the Board of Trade building was quite a shock. The roar from every post was deafening. Two Market Makers were rolling in the aisle having a fist fight as runners leaped over them to bring orders to floor brokers. Most runners had the moves of an NFL running back. Everything had to do with paper. Orders were paper, Market Makers use paper, and white cards were used for everything. The language was its own – from acronyms to trading “in teenies.” Our keyboards were different from any I had ever seen. It was a madhouse, but I still think it was the greatest show on earth.

MK, 30-year employee

Be sure to visit the CBOE 40 hub daily as new memories will be added each day.