What Floor Brokers Actually Do At the New York Stock Exchange

This week the New York Stock Exchange — a symbol of American capitalism — celebrates its 230th anniversary. The floor brokers are the face of Wall Street, but what exactly do they do? Simply put, a floor broker executes orders for their clients, which can include banks, hedge funds, mutual funds, pension funds, day traders, and even some high net-worth individuals. Floor brokers earn a living from commission on each share traded, which can be anywhere from half a penny per share to five cents a share. The stock market opens at 9:30 a.m., but most floor brokers arrive around 7:30 a.m. That’s when they read newspapers, go over news wires, and check their terminals for trends. The market opens at 9:30 a.m., and from 9:15 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. it’s complete mayhem. Then, around 10 a.m., everything begins to settle down and computer programs do most of the trading. Then it’s time for lunch, though most brokers eat at their booths. Around 3:30 p.m. things start to pick up again, with customers wanting to know what price the stock is going to close at and how much the volume is. At 4 p.m., the closing bell rings, and 15 minutes later the trading floor basically empties out. At 4:15 p.m., the floor brokers head for the door…….they’re done for the day. Just in case you’re thinking of a job as a stock broker, you typically have to know someone.