Tag Archives: floored

FLOORED Film Peeks Inside Chicago Trading World

Audience Reacts Positively to James Allen Smith’s Documentary on Chicago Floor Trading

On Thursday evening at the Roxie Theatre in San Francisco, the professional women’s organization 100 Women in Hedge Funds sponsored the showing of Floored, a documentary by ex-floor trader James Allen Smith that offers a peek inside the lives, successes, and struggles of former traders of the Chicago trading floor (a.k.a. the “pit”).

Those who showed up to watch the film made for the perfect audience–traders, hedge fund managers, and other financial industry professionals schmoozed over wine and cheese before the showing, during which boos, laughter, applause, and verbal comments erupted each time the audience could relate to traders’ stories or make fun of their often idiosyncratic comments. Upon leaving trading, one notable former trader (and quite the character) Mike Walsh took up the hobby of hunting lions, giraffes, and other wild animals.

Through interviews and live footage of pit trading, the documentary tells the story of the Chicago Board of Trade’s (now the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, CME) humble beginnings–it opened in 1898 as the Chicago Butter and Egg Board because it only traded butter and egg contracts!–to the roller coaster ride experienced by floor traders during the peak of futures and options floor trading in the mid-1990s.

Starting in 1992 and still in use today in the pit is the combination of open outcry, the system of loudly shouting over competitors often associated with floor trading, and GLOBEX, an electronic trading system which works alongside open outcry to make trading more efficient. The idea behind trading revolves around buying a commodity at one price and then trying to sell it for a better price in order to make a profit.  In the film, the traders described this system as a game–one trader stated that when the bell goes off (to initiate the opening of trading hours), he experiences an adrenaline rush as if he were playing a sports game.  Another trader commented, “Trading is not a normal job. When you are in there [the pit] from 8:30 to 3:15, it’s all about money!”

The main issue traders discussed was the shift from floor trading to electronic trading. The majority opinion was that computers changed the dynamic of trading in an unfavorable way and that trading in person helps make the price of commodities more efficient. One trader commented that open outcry was more “honorable”. There is also a generational issue, as older traders who did not grow up using computers had trouble figuring out complicated electronic trading platforms. Essentially, those traders who still had enough money to continue trading and who were able to use the electronic systems continued trading, while those who lost too much money in the pit were forced to leave trading altogether.

According to the CME, the options and futures trading floor remains grounded in floor trading, which accounts for 90% of trades with the remaining 10% occurring electronically. The futures pit, however, has seen the biggest crossover to electronic trading, with approximately 85% of trades taking place on the computer and the remaining ones in the pit.

After the film, Smith, who watched the film alongside his audience, stood at the front of the theatre for a Q&A session. He was asked about his background–he went to art school then found himself doing web design for finance businesses in Chicago, where a friend suggested he make a movie about floor traders. He even dabbled in trading and reached out to his network when casting traders for the film. When asked why former traders were willing to open up about their personal lives on film, he commented that less successful traders are often more likely to talk, while more successful traders remain tighter-lipped. Finally, when asked what impression of traders he wanted to leave with audiences, Smith replied that traders are usually stereotyped as “greedy a**holes”, and he wanted to show that traders are more “dynamic than just that part of their personalities” by offering a “more rounded impression [of traders]” through his film.


For information about future Floored showings, click here.

Other related Floored and CME articles include:

Bart Mallon, Esq. of Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP runs the Hedge Fund Law Blog.  He can be reached directly at 415-868-5345.

FLOORED Screening in San Francisco | 100 Women in Hedge Funds

Movie on Traders to be Screened in San Francisco

On January 28 the San Francisco investment management community will come together to watch the movie “FLOORED” which documents the issues facing floor traders as the industry continues its march away from traditional floor trading.  Please see the release below for more information.

Additionally, on an unrelated note, I would like to invite all futures/commodities professionals in the Bay Area to join the San Francisco Futures Professionals LinkIn Group.  The first meeting of this group will be sometime in February and will include traders/managers, service providers and (potentially) investors.



San Francisco Special Screenings of “FLOORED”
Followed by Director Q&A

January 28, 2010 at 5:00 and 7:30 PM
San Francisco, CA

Join us for sneak peek screenings of “Floored,” a feature-length documentary about the up and down lives of floor traders. Screenings will be followed by Q&A with Director James Allen Smith. (Run time: 80 minutes)

About the film: FLOORED is a gripping, honest look behind the curtain of the trading floor that few have ever seen. Like many aspects of our economy, computerized trading is changing the dynamics on the actual trading floors. FLOORED offers a unique window to this lesser-known world of finance.

To view the trailer and get more information on the film, please go to: www.FLOOREDmovie.com

Screening 1:
Time: 5:00pm wine reception/registration
Screening: 5:30- 6:45pm
Discussion: 6:45 – 7:15pm
Tickets cost $16 per person. Tickets can be purchased online at:

Screening 2:
Time: 7:30 – 8:00pm registration
Screening: 8:00 – 9:15pm
Discussion: 9:15 – 9:45pm
Tickets cost $12 per person. Tickets can be purchased online at:

We will begin promptly at screen times; please arrive early.

Location: The Roxie Theater
3117 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

The Roxie Theater is located in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District, at 3117 16th Street between Valencia and Guerrero. Local Muni are the 22 and 53 (both at 16th & Valencia), 33 (18th & Valencia), 14 (16th & Mission), 49 (16th & Mission). Bart stops one block east at 16th & Mission.

Public Parking is available on Hoff Street, off of 16th between Valencia and Mission. Very reasonable rates.
Click here for more directions

About 100 Women in Hedge Funds (www.100womeninhedgefunds.org)
100 Women in Hedge Funds is a global, practitioner-driven non-profit organization serving over 10,000 alternative investment management investors and professionals through educational, professional leverage and philanthropic initiatives. Formed in 2001, 100 Women in Hedge Funds has hosted more than 160 events globally, connected more than 150 senior women through Peer Advisory Groups and raised in excess of $17 million for philanthropic causes in the areas of women’s health, education and mentoring. For more information about 100 Women in Hedge Funds, please visit www.100womeninhedgefunds.org.

For questions, please email
Diane Schrader
Northern CA Chair, 100WHF
[email protected]


Bart Mallon, Esq. of runs the Hedge Fund Law Blog and provides hedge fund manager registration service through Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP. He can be reached directly at 415-868-5345.