CBOE Memories: Fond Thoughts From Around the Exchange

Mr. Big Orchestrates Pit Activity (1979)

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…

Be Careful Trading Options Young Lady

When the CBOE opened on April 26,1973, I was pregnant with my son — now almost 40!  They were so worried that I’d get jostled in the crowd, that they gave me a stool in the corner to sit on, telling me not to go anywhere near the posts!  Thus, I think I was really the first woman to have a “seat” on the CBOE!

Terry Savage, Sun Times Columnist and author


22% Move – What’s Going On?

It is hard for anyone who worked through the crash of 1987, not to have some recollection of the chaos of the day.  Being a part of Trade Ops at the time, I remember being up in the Control Room during portions of the day and calling New York to try and find out which of their stocks were either trading or halted.  The response on the other end of the phone was basically “I don’t know” and “check the recap lines of individual stocks to see if there is an ST (stop trading) by the stock symbol”.  New York seemed to have no idea what was occurring on their own trading floor.

Rich L


Help With Homework

CBOE’s employees are not only the best in their field, but also good people in general.  Everyone is willing to assist each other, even for small things like an interview for a class paper.  My favorite example of this is when I received an assignment in my Strategic Management class for my MBA in International Business.  The class curriculum included researching the strategy our  employer used to stay competitive in the marketplace.  My final paper had to include an interview from an executive, or someone who was directly involved with the company’s strategy.  When I received the assignment, I knew who I wanted to interview.  The question was, would he have enough time and would he be willing to assist me with this part of my paper?

When I called to schedule a meeting with him, I should have known that Ed Tilly would give me a bright – “Of course, I would love to be interviewed for your paper!”  I was really nervous when meeting with Ed to interview him, but my nerves eased and it turned out to be a very productive meeting.  He was extremely helpful and insightful when answering my questions, and even wished me luck on writing it.  In my experience, at most companies, it would be nearly impossible to schedule time with one of the Executives, let alone agree to meet with an employee over a school assignment.  At CBOE, this is not the case, as Ed was very gracious in spending part of his busy day with me.  A few months later when I ran into him in the employee cafeteria he remembered the interview and asked what grade I had received on my paper.  I was able to proudly state ”I got an A!”



Breaking In To a Crowd

It wasn’t easy to break in as a new CBOE market maker. However, being taught the fundamentals of option pricing theory by Michael Greenbaum and Marty O’Connell made it possible to get started with confidence.

I stepped onto the floor and into the AVP (Avon Products) pit.  It was too hostile for me and I quickly gave up trying to gain a foothold, and left.  Next I tried HWP (the older symbol for Hewlett Packard). That’s where I spent my time over the next 23 years (1977 to 2000), when I was on the trading floor. The crowd was no friendlier to the new member, but the friendship of Sandy Naiditch and a few others made it possible to show up every day.

The work was physically demanding, something I had not expected. Standing all day was a big deal, and I went home evenings with painful shoulders and feet.  But it was FUN. I thrived on the competition and could not wait to get started each morning.

It was also an emotional roller coaster for me. I laughed at my risk managers at First Options as they warned me time and time again about unforeseen dangers. What did they know (thought I)? The answer is they that knew far more than I. Making and losing a large sum is not the objective for market makers, but I managed to do just that. More than once.

I have a great deal of respect for risk management!

Mark D. W.

Be sure to visit the CBOE 40 hub daily as new CBOE Memories stories will be added throughout the month.