Sunday, June 23, 2013

Man vs. machine: Wall St. is culling high price talent

Forget the semi-annual flash crashes.  According to the NY Post:    Wall Street firms are cleaning out their desks — institutional-equity desks, that is.  Large and midsize firms are giving the boot to hundreds of high-priced trading staff in widespread layoffs and deep cost-cutting, replacing flesh-and-blood staff with cold steel computers and high-frequency trading algorithms.

The wholesale bloodbath is not painful to Wall Street’s profits, which are reaching historic highs. (New York Stock Exchange member firms’ profits tripled last year, to $24 billion, up from $7.7 billion in 2011. And this year opened with an outsize financial flourish. )

But with equity and other trading in the doldrums, Dodd-Frank regulations casting a dark shadow, and, notably, advanced trading technology eliminating manual intervention, the Street is swinging the ax.  Many traders are now seen as “expenses” as the Street faces an uncertain and volatile future…..

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