One of my beats at Computer Weekly over the years has been the financial services sector.
As somebody without a technology background I always enjoyed talking to the technologists behind the stock trading venues. Hearing about they systems they build and being amazed by the speeds and volumes of trades going throw them was really educational.
However my big disappointment must have been when I first visited the London Stock Exchange. Not that it wasn’t a nice place with lots of interesting people to meet, but simple because my image of a stock exchange was gone forever.
Clearly working for Computer Weekly I knew things had changed and should have been happy with that. But I thought that perhaps hidden away in some corner there would be a group of traders with their sleeves rolled up yelling into their telephones. Perhaps a few screams and high fives thrown in for good measure. But no, the London Stock exchange is a very plush and very quiet office with lots of glass.
But last week I was pleased to have my first experience of a trading room with actual people. I went to see Yann L’Huillier. He is the global CIO of interdealer broker Tradition.
After the interview Yann showed me the trading room. There was a couple of hundred people, most with telephones in hand, and there was noise.
Yann told me about the difference between share trading and what Tradition does, which is involved in the Over the Counter (OTC) sector. This sees Tradition help bank traders do deals with each other.
Most the work is done via voice but work is increasingly being made electronic. Althou L’Huillier said it will never be fully be voice or electronic, but the most appropriate balance.