As the stock-exchange floor specialists are becoming rare, the growing exchange traded fund (ETF) industry is starting to feel the effects. A specialist is an elite trader who helps maintain order on the trading floor. As electronic trading is becoming more prevalent, they are becoming an endangered species, and the New York Stock Exchange has seen its specialists decline 30% during the past year alone.
Recently I spent some time with Bob Pisani on the floor of the NYSE. Bob is a 17-year veteran of the exchange and a seasoned reporter for CNBC. He’s seen the physical space and the number of people on the floor cut in half and feels (with technology), it will be cut in half again. Bob is a huge fan of ETFs and although he feels for those who are losing their jobs to market efficiencies and technology improvements, he knows the individual investor is the winner in the end.
Diya Gullapalli for The Wall Street Journal reports specialists play an important role for ETFs; they bring them to market and provide the "seed" capital to launch them. One long-time insider says they used to have specialists competing for your products, and now you’re begging them for help. On the flip side, some specialists are actually leaving their old jobs and seeking employment within the ETF industry, thus competing with their former clients.
The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.