Sunday, October 14, 2012

Amsterdam Exchange, Farewell to the Floor movie

photo credit

The Amsterdam Stock Exchange closed it's open outcry trading floor for equity options in December 2002 and in the months leading up to the closure, a documentary tracked three independent marketmakers.  The film (via doesn't have English subtitles as it was made for a Dutch audience although the floor operated w/English as the official language in the pits which you can hear throughout the film.

It's not possible to embed the 40 minute video but you can link it here.

I never walked on the trading floor itself but stumbled upon it early in 2002 during travels in Amsterdam.  While walking on the backside of the exchange, I saw in a window trading jackets hanging on a coat rack and investigated further by walking to the front when I realized there was still a trading floor there.  Taking a tour on immediate notice wasn't possible so the closest I came to the floor was going into a bar for a beer which was literally just off and connected to the trading floor.  Perhaps the bar is shown in the closing minutes of the film, it looks very similar, and one distinct memory was that it had a closed circuit tv feed of the trading floor hanging above the bar and upon seeing some action on the tv and hearing a little roar, a trader put his beer down to walk back into the pit.

So not only did the exchange have a bar on the same floor (in Chicago you had to at least go down a few floors) but it was located only a few blocks from the red light district and within a block were various 'coffee shops' which sold high grade smoke.  Gotta hand it to the Dutch, they're really disciplined and it's little wonder why the various prop firms which originated at the Amsterdam Exchange dominate a lot of trading worldwide now.  I could only imagine how quick a setup would've killed off the population of any other trading floor. 
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