Existing theoretical literature suggests that floor trading has discernable benefits over electronic trading. In particular floor relationships lead to a reduction in asymmetric information and hence lower spreads. The ability of floor brokers to participate in incoming order flow without revealing their supply and demand curves increases total liquidity and dampens liquidity shocks leading to lower volatility. We develop hypotheses and test them on a sample of stocks that switch from floor trading to an electronic system with fairly identical rules and pre-trade transparency. We find strong support for existing theory and our hypotheses. In particular asymmetric information and volatility are significantly higher on the electronic system. This leads to an increase in investor transaction costs which dwarfs the operational cost advantages of the electronic systems. Our results are robust to tests involving samples that control for company specific factors and market wide trends.
Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 27, 2009
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