LIFFE raw footage

A few short videos of the LIFFE trading floor were posted earlier this year and are worth a look.  The first video is of the Bund pit during the European morning session in September 1995.

The second video is of the Short Sterling pit in a November 1996 afternoon.

The final video involves some clowning around, after the bell it looks, in early 1996 that involves a couple costumed characters in the center of the pit, bidding a price the entire pit wants to sell.



The Trading Game – 1987 documentary

Someone recently uploaded this excellent 1987 documentary made by a local Chicago tv station about the Chicago trading floors.  It’s certainly a must watch!


Chicago Mercantile Exchange demutualization packet from 1999


Scanned below is an original packet given to members on November 2, 1999 from the CME which outlines the proposed demutualization of the exchange into a publicly traded company. Because I started as a clerk the day prior, there isn’t a whole lot I can add, but it’s interesting to read of how the CME embarked into the process and transformed into a NYSE listing.

I tried to embed it from Scribd but it’s not working and I’m not gonna keep trying to figure it out so here is the link to the Scribd upload:

Chicago Mercantile Exchange demutualization packet from 1999


Summer trading

LIFFE trading floor

LIFFE trading floor at the Royal Exchange, photo credit:

It’s been a long while since my last post and apologies for the lack of posts for almost a year at this point. Trading the volatility of the Trump victory, combined with my daughter being such an energetic toddler, a few other serious hobbies, lots of travel and the never ending tinkering with trading software just didn’t leave me enough mental bandwidth to do a whole lot of the trading pit history stuff. But I’m starting to warm back up to getting some posts going again over time cause there’s still a lot of trading pit related history which needs to be shared! Getting into trading doesn’t have to be hard, you can start by contacting TradeZero to get you on the trading ladder.

I’ve been meaning to post the above photo of the LIFFE trading floor at the Royal Exchange in 1991 because it really captures the mood of summer trading with nothing going on in the markets. This is a poignant reminder of a time many years ago, with online trading platforms such as Duplitrade ( all but completely replacing trading floors – although this is completely understandable when you consider how easy these online platforms make it to trade. Enlarge the photo and you can see that not one trade is happening in the middle of the day (Tuesday, August 20th, 1991 at 1:44PM) and even though the trading pits are often over sensationalized with chaos, a lot of the sessions consisted of mostly standing around joking or silently contemplating one’s trading position. What I assume to be an unintended juxtaposition, the photographer captured the normally raucous trading floor at one of the slowest times of the year as it was after the Asian session closed, also after the London lunch break, before the US bond market open and most importantly at the height of summer holidays which leads to a seasonal nadir of volumes. The way that trading takes place these days is a whole world away from this photo. You only need a vps and a laptop, and you’re on your way.

While I can attest to never really understanding most art, this photo is one of my personal favorites because it gives a very candid perspective on what the trading floor was often really like and it’s possible to isolate the individuals throughout the broad trading floor population. In particular, because there wasn’t anything really trading at the moment, I appreciate that the photo allowed the perspective of how the individuals interact or stay within their own thoughts while awaiting the next bit of activity. As a comparison, Gursky really minimized the individual in all his (vastly overrated, imho) exchange photos to emphasize the scale of the trading floor instead.

BBC news clip on LIFFE move from Royal Exchange to Cannon Bridge

Above is a couple minute clip from the BBC which was recently uploaded about LIFFE’s shift from the Royal Exchange to it’s larger trading floor at Cannon Bridge in late 1991.  Every time I visit London, I always walk through the Royal Exchange and it’s hard to believe that it was once home to trading pits but like the rest of the industry, adapted by transformation into optimal use, in it’s case a retail development.  Towards the end of the clip, there is mention of “Essex Man” which, as an American I had to have explained to me in the past, and the closest American equivalent I’d compare it to would be someone from New Jersey.

Must Watch: For Cryin’ Out Loud

Occasionally I come across a treasure trove of media from the golden era of open outcry trading and this collection of raw footage from Media Burn’s independent video archive is not to be missed!!! It appears that all the raw footage was shot for a local Chicago show hosted by Studs Terkel, Chicago Slices, although a polished edit for some of the footage of the old CBOT bond room in 1993 focusing on hand signals is entitled For Cryin’ Out Loud:

The old bond room at the CBOT was before my era so the raw video atleast gave me a sense of how incredibly crowded it was and the raw footage was like walking onto the trading floor again.  Anyone who did work in the old CBOT bond room will certainly love these videos because it’ll place them right back in there 23 years ago.

CBOT Treasury bond trading

CBOT old bond room 1993

I can’t embed the primary clip which the above screengrab came from but the link to the hour long raw footage is linked here.  This particular clip starts off on the streets of Chicago and then transitions from the trading floor turnstiles to walking on the floor and observing w/a little narration by an exchange member.

Treasury bond futures

CBOT bond room 1993

A second batch of raw footage starts in the morning of a desk broker for his commute to the CBOT where he describes the floor and then shows footage of the trading floor.  This clip also can’t be embedded so the link for it is here and the footage for the CBOT section starts around the 25:00 minute mark.

CBOT Treasury bond floor 1993

CBOT bonds 1993

In this batch of raw footage was also an hour long clip of the CME upper trading floor with tour and commentary from a member who I’d suspect to be Steve Urkel‘s dad.  Once again, it’s not possible to embed the clip but you can click the link for it here.

CME currency futures 1993

CME currency clerks 1993




Futures Past movie trailer

The movie trailer for Futures Past has just been released and it looks to be full of great trading floor footage of the CME at both the legacy Merc trading floor and the subsequent CBOT bond room which housed the combined exchange starting in 2008.  It appears to have a dual focus on the automation of futures trading along with the relationship of industry titan Leo Melamed and his son, who is also the film’s director.  Over the next couple weeks, the film is being screened a few times at the Chicago Film Festival and you can see the schedule listed for that here.  Details on further distribution don’t appear to be available at the moment but hopefully I can be back in Chicago to take in one screening while it’s on the big screen.