CBOE Memories: From the Corners of the Exchange

Bustling CBOE Floor 1981

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…


I don’t recall the date, but President George HW Bush was set to visit the CME and walk the trading floor with all the pomp that was going to require a full media entourage, etc. But guess what? George Wendt (from Cheers!) came to CBOE’s floor that same day – he was in town performing in a play. Jim Brophy, a really nice member, had been a roomie with George Wendt in a private school and they’d remained friends. Jim invited George for the drop-in. It was my privilege to be part of the escort group that walked him around and into the desk area of the OEX for a close-up view. As they so often do, the whole bunch of pit traders in unison had planned something special, and they saluted him with a resounding chorus of “NORM!” I felt we had not been outdone by the Bush floor walk at CME. George Wendt is a Chicago icon and we were honored to have him, plus there were no secret service headaches or worrisome protocols.



Are Some Men on the 7th Floor Rude?

Sometime not knowing the lay of the land can be embarrassing.  For the first month of my employment, I’d board the elevator and head for home.  I’m one for holding the elevator if people are on their way rather than letting the doors shut on someone, but somehow none of the men wanted to climb aboard “my” elevator.  It wasn’t until I commented to someone about the situation that they pointed to the right and let me know that these men were headed for the mens room.



A Long wait From 1917

I remember standing in line on the Exchange floor waiting to view the White Sox World Series trophy in 2005.   There were so many employees waiting to see the trophy.  When I finally made it to the front of the line, I had another employee take my picture with the trophy.  It was a wonderful memory.

Linda M.


Who Is That Skinny Guy?

One of my first memories at CBOE occurred when I started in March 2000. I was given the job of  changing out a time clock that was no longer keeping good time. “No problem” I told myself.

However, the clock used to time-stamp put and call tickets turned out to weigh between 10-20 pounds and was housed in a very active OEX options pit, packed with extremely animated traders. Was there even air in the pit?  I took a deep breath (what was I getting myself into?) and squeezed through bodies in the pit.

In the end, I was able to make my way into the pit and change out the clock.  This was one of many times I would perform the same task.  It probably helped that I was one of the smallest guys in the crew, and could slither through bodies fairly easily.

DWM, 13 years


CBOE Traders and Employees Do More Than You Thought…

I have worked at the CBOE in OPRA since 1986.  A memory that  I will never forget took place during a holiday season back in the ‘90s at a meeting with both CBOE employees and brokers in attendance.  At the end of the meeting, which was very crowded, the host mentioned that CBOE does volunteer work at area soup kitchens etc., and wanted to recognize and thank those volunteers for their time helping the community.  Volunteers were asked to stand up.   I was impressed to see three-fourths of the room on their feet!   At that moment I felt very proud to be part of an organization  that does so much behind the scenes to give back and helps those in need.

Catherine A.,   started in OPRA 1986


Greens and Yellow’s

Before electronic trading all orders, whether wire or phone orders were on paper.  Carbon copy paper.  Buy orders had four sheets, the top copy was white for retention in the booth, a green for the executing broker to keep for billing, a pink copy and the hard copy that would go to keypunch for entry into order match and trade checking. The pink would be stapled to the white copy when filled or canceled.  Sells had all of that plus a yellow, the yellow copy was used to report the trades to “the tape”.  Wire personnel had to be extra careful to always take the yellow off of the buy orders, and leave the yellow on the sell orders, as although brokers were responsible to read the order, sometimes when busy they would just note the color. When a broker would fill an order he would secure the green into his trading jacket pocket, as those were what were used to bill the firms for the executions, then he would drop the yellow and the hard copy with pink still attached into the long conveyor belts that ran along the bottom of the entire trading pit. CBOE Book personnel had long sticks they would use to clear the inevitable paper jams in the conveyor belt.  You knew a broker was having a good day if he had to use multiple pockets to hold his day’s “greens”.

D.S. Firm Employee 1981 – 1994 CBOE Employee 2003 – Present

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