The New York Stock Exchange (Nyse) is rolling out technology that enables floor brokers to trade algorithmically and easily locate larger sources of liquidity.
The increasing use of program trading, along with Nyse's move to a hybrid market, has resulted in many specialist firms cutting floor staff.
Last year brokerage Sanford Bernstein eliminated all floor staff at Nyse, while other firms including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, UBS, Van der Moolen, Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs and LaBranche & Co have all cut back on specialist staff since the exchange rolled out the hybrid platform.
But Michael Rutigliano, VP, broker liaison, Nyse says: "Floor brokers continue to be an important resource for their customers."
Rutigliano says the exchange is now rolling out algorithmic trading tools that will enable brokers to "seamlessly blend from their hand-held devices, the high-tech functionality of speed, automation and anonymity, with the high-touch benefits of discovery, price improvement and accessing block-sized liquidity".
The exchange has teamed with New York-based Pragma Financial Systems to provide floor brokers with access to algorithmic strategies designed specifically for the Nyse point of sale.
Brokers will have the ability to route all or part of a customer order to an external algo engine directly from their hand-held order management device.
The new algo strategies are customisable and will trade on parity, providing brokers with the ability to match on every trade, says Nyse. The algos enable brokers to use their current execution and quoting strategies simultaneously.
David Mechner, president at Pragma Financial Systems, says the vendor worked closely with Nyse to customise its platform to meet the needs of the floor broker community.
In addition, Nyse has recently introduced BlockTalk to its floor broker community. Designed and developed by Micro Design Services in cooperation with floor brokers, BlockTalk is a real-time messaging system that enables floor brokers to discreetly search for deep liquidity by broadcasting and subscribing to specific stocks in which they have large interest.
"BlockTalk will benefit traders by leveraging the intrinsic benefits of the negotiation model," said John Petschauer, CEO of MDS .
BlockTalk is accessed via a broker's hand-held order-management device. Nyse says the broker interest alert messages contain no specific order information so customers can benefit from a discovery process in a safe environment free of price impact, information leakage or intermediation.