Economics, Press Releases

Press Release: Zaloom, Out of the Pits

In October, after decades of stormy courtship, Chicago’s two major futures exchanges announced a historic $8 billion merger. The leaders of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade had long wanted to join forces and finally make Chicago a global financial capital on a par with New York or London—but it almost didn’t happen. In fact, few realize how two key developments saved the exchanges from going the way of the dinosaur before the deal could even take place. By going public, the exchanges were able to garner the capital necessary to make the merger happen, but by also embracing new information technologies and electronic trading, the exchanges were able to dramatically increase their business volume, and sustain themselves in the face of fierce competitors abroad.
In Out of the Pits: Traders and Technology from Chicago to London, Caitlin Zaloom takes us down to the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade where she worked for several years to give us a first hand account of this digital transition and how it’s changing the way traders do their business. As the Chicago Board of Trade increasingly switches to online trading, that iconic image we all share of the floor of the CBOT—of the hustle and bustle of traders shouting and waving their arms in a frenzy as they buy and sell futures—is going to become a thing of the past. Zaloom’s book tells the story of this sea change and its implications for everyone involved.
Read the press release. We also have an excerpt from the book.