What it was like to be On the Floor of the New York Stock Exchange

"By LouAnn Schulfer, AWMA®, AIF® “The Wealth InFormation Lady”, Accredited Wealth Management AdvisorSM, Accredited Investment Fiduciary® , Published Author" |

It was an honor of a lifetime to be invited to participate in the Closing Bell ceremony from the Floor of the New York Stock Exchange, right under the podium of the bell, on July 1, 2024.  The trading floor is restricted to members only and a limited number of their guests, with permission from the exchange.  There is a white registration tent at 18 Broad Street, where you must present your ID and be verified as a guest who is allowed admittance that day.  A red carpet greets you to the entrance of the actual Stock Exchange building, where you must go through security clearance similar to that of an airport (but much smaller).  Once through security, you are given a badge with your identification, company affiliation and date, which must be worn at all times.  To maintain the visual integrity of the trading floor, a dress code must be followed and if you do not meet the criteria, you will not be allowed in. 

 The trading floor was busy, but not chaotic like scenes from older movies.  Trading is no longer done by screaming and waving slips of paper when the president calls out the name of a company for an ask and a bid of it’s stock prices, but rather, trading is now electronic.  Surrounding the floor are many cubicle-like spaces where traders sit and stare at multiple large screens with long lines of data, actively executing buys and sells.  Picture taking is not allowed of trading screens.  Above the floor are large monitors with market data and ticker symbols, which are four or less letters for stocks that trade on the NYSE, constantly streaming.  Many traders were wearing trading jackets (which look super cool!), a symbol of recognition of their profession.  CNBC has a designated broadcasting area right on the trading floor, where the news of the market is shared live.  While on the floor, phone calls and text messages are prohibited.  Fortunately, picture taking of the main areas is allowed.  The closing bell signifies the end of trading for the day, and it rings loudly from the podium overlooking the floor.  In the final minutes before 4:00 Eastern time, cheering and applause is encouraged, as the opening and closing bell ceremonies are televised live each day, and video archived. 

The significance.  The New York Stock Exchange is the largest stock exchange in the entire world.  It’s located in Lower Manhattan on Wall Street, the Financial Capital of the World.  The NYSE was officially founded back in 1792 when 24 brokers and merchants met under the tallest structure in the city at the time:  a buttonwood tree, to sign the Buttonwood Agreement.  The agreement was established to set rules for trading and created set commissions, in an effort to foster confidence of the public.   The original agreement is showcased in a glass case inside of the NYSE building today.  It was a moving experience to view the original manuscript and think back to the establishment of what has become the financial basis affecting essentially all of our lives, in one way or another.  How, you may ask?  You may own stocks individually, in a mutual fund or exchange traded fund, in your 401(k), or your pension may own stocks, which are shares of ownership of a company.  You may even work for a publicly traded company where the market value of the company is determined each day by the number of shares multiplied by the value of each share,  and essentially all of us consume products produced by companies that raise their capital through the stock market.  One does not need to know how the market works to have their daily lives impacted by it. 


So what was it like to be on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange?  In one word, it was an honor.


LouAnn Schulfer of Schulfer & Associates, LLC Wealth Management can be reached at (715) 343-9600 or louann.schulfer@lpl.com TheWealthInformationLady.com  SchulferAndAssociates.com , or louann.biz


Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor.  Member FINRA/SIPC.