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Taking the FloorModels, Morals, and Management in a Wall Street Trading Room$
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Daniel Beunza

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691162812

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691162812.001.0001

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Animating the Market

Animating the Market

(p.55) 4 Animating the Market
Taking the Floor

Daniel Beunza

Princeton University Press

This chapter looks at how to ensure that social cues are present on the trading floor. It introduces the sales desk at International Securities, along with its convivial work atmosphere. Sales traders did not buy or sell stocks for the bank's proprietary account but executed trades for their customers instead. Their skills and resources, including humor, excitement, charisma, or business contacts at the stock exchanges, were different from and complementary to those of other traders on the floor. In the course of the chapter's observations, the sales traders appeared to be engaged in a number of seemingly controversial practices such as earning soft-dollar commissions, crossing the Chinese Wall, or pulling pranks on accidental callers to the bank's phone line. By examining the ways in which these sales traders adopted, modified, and conceived of these practices, the chapter reveals their practiced, as opposed to stated, morality.

Keywords:   social cues, sales desk, sales traders, controversial practices, practiced morality

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