August 01, 2008

I recently got back from a great trip to the West Coast. I traveled out west specifically to visit three trading floors, three very different trading floors that are great examples of operations both big and small on the opposite side of the country.

While New York City may be the center of financial trading activity, the West Coast is not a bad spot to set up shop. Although traders typically start their days much earlier, they are done earlier in the afternoon. Many traders I spoke with enjoyed being able to spend time at with their families, on the golf course or even at the beach while it's still sunny and nice outside.

Having grown up in Southern California I had a soft spot for the first trading floor I visited out West - JonesTrading. A family business started more than 30 years ago, JonesTrading epitomizes West Coast cool. The Westlake Village offices look over a man-made lake where kids are learning to sail and the upstairs offices have balconies where meetings often take place.

As for the trading floor, there are surfboards hung on the walls and the busy floor could easily be in a New York City office building, except for the lake outside and the distinctly West Coast vibe.

Next I headed south to San Diego to check out Nicholas Applegate Capital Management. Again, the views were spectacular. The firm is located on a top floor in downtown San Diego with an elevated row of traders that look directly over the bay. Not a bad place to have to start your day at 5 in the morning.

Then I hopped a quick flight up to Tacoma, Washington to visit Russell Investments. I'm sure the weather is not always as picture-perfect as the day of my visit, but the views of Mt. Rainier from just outside the office were spectacular.

Maybe I was in awe of the views because I've been in the concrete jungle of New York City for too long, but these trading floors were definitely great examples of the advantage of being away from the big city.

Russell is a larger operation with a big trading floor and a very open office plan with traders and portfolio managers, analysts and IT all sitting together for better communication and interaction.

All three trading floors were unique to the firm's goals and trading style and I think that's why Advanced Trading readers enjoy hearing about and viewing other trading floors in our Anatomy of a Trading floor section both online and in print.

So not to worry these three trading floors will be featured in upcoming months in the Anatomy of a Trading floor section. Hopefully the photos have captured the views as well as the range of trading technology and applications that each trading floor relies on.

If you're interesting in having your trading floor featured in Anatomy of a Trading floor please email me at