Vizuo XL Sports Vision Enhancement is a dietary supplement that claims to improve the agility, coordination and reaction speed of athletes which is now being used by Wall Street traders to help execute trading decisions more quickly, according to the makers
of the product, Natural Athletic Nutrition.
In a company statement, Will Horan, president of Long Island-based company says he initially thought the traders were buying the product for their sports-playing children, but it turned out they were buying it for themselves.
"They felt that if it could help athletes make faster decisions on the playing field then it could help them execute trading decisions more quickly," says Horan.
Billed as a "revolutionary dietary supplement that is scientifically formulated to improve sports vision", the product apparently works by maintaining the health and structural integrity of the eyes and helping the brain
take in and process visual data.
By increasing levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and acetylcholine, the product helps the brain process visual information more quickly, thereby allowing the body to react faster, says the company statement.
"I just hope the SEC doesn't ban it for giving traders an unfair advantage over their competition," says Horan. "I wouldn't want to see anyone have to appear before a congressional committee investigating the use of performance enhancing nutrients on Wall
It appears that traders will try anything to gain an advantage in fast-moving financial markets. But whatever supplements they take and however fast their eye co-ordination, there is no chance of any trader beating the threat of computers, which are increasingly
be used to do traders' jobs.
According to a 2006 study by IBM the number of traders employed in the City of London will have fallen by a massive 90% by 2015 because more banks are moving towards all-electronic algorithmic trading operations.
Furthermore, a number of firms, including Credit Suisse,
UBS and Van der Moolen, have moved to cut traders - prior to the credit crunch - and switch to electronic and algorithmic operations.
But it may not just be traders' jobs that are at risk of being taken over by machines. According to this
Reuters report, which cites the Machine Industry Memorial Foundation think-tank, robots could fill the jobs of 3.5 million people in Japan by 2025.