Starting Monday, the New York Stock Exchange will shut down its trading floor and switch to operating remotely for the first time in its history, after two exchange workers were diagnosed with coronavirus. But with all employees working remotely, the exchange won’t be able to execute about a third of the trades that normally pass through its system during the crucial last minutes of trading, current and former employees said. That could drive business away from NYSE to its chief rival, Nasdaq, whose trading system is fully electronic.
NYSE, one of the largest stock exchanges in the world with about 25% of U.S. daily trading volume, had kept open its iconic trading floor in part because the 228-year-old institution doesn’t have a way to electronically replicate the portion of end-of-day buying and selling, known as the closing auction, that still relies on floor brokers, according to three current and former employees. While floor brokers carry out those trades electronically, the process is still reliant on in-person interaction on the stock exchange floor, located on Wall Street in lower Manhattan.