By Christian J. de Rojas
On Friday, February 25, 2011, alumni, students and guests enjoyed a memorable visit to two of the most prominent institutions in Wall Street – NYSE/EURONEXT and The Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
At the Federal Reserve Bank, we were treated to a guided tour of the special coins collection sponsored by The American Numismatic Society. Greek Drachmas, Spanish Doubloons and American Eagles, just to name a few, were some of the items representing a wide gamut of mints and nearly three thousand years in economic history. A very realistic, three dimensional hologram of a standard gold bar, captivated the audience too. Moreover, the highlight of the visit was our guided tour of the largest gold depository in the world. Resting upon the foundations of Manhattan schist rock, and under sea level, the vault protects approximately 216 million troy ounces of gold. At today’s value of $ 1,427.81 per oz., this represents approximately 339.25 billion USD or about “22 percent of the world’s official monetary gold reserves” (Federal Reserve Bank of New York).
The next stop in our visit to Wall Street was the largest stock exchange in the world – The New York Stock Exchange. Alumni, students and guests were treated to a lecture that covered intra-day operations as well as trading platforms for hybrid trading in the exchange. In addition, we were allowed to pose questions that ranged from volatility control mechanisms to optimal trade executions in hybrid platforms.
The “Big Board” – as NYSE is also known popularly, traces its origins back to the Buttonwood agreement signed by 24 stock brokers on May 17, 1792. According to the World Federation of Exchanges, at 11.84 trillion USD as of Dec 2009, it is the largest exchange in the world by market capitalization. From the visitors’ gallery, our group observed the energy and excitement of a bull market day near closing bell time.
Following a tradition among Baruch MFE students, and to close the journey into the heart of the financial district, we visited a famous European restaurant. This jovial gathering served as an exchange of information about the general state of financial markets and possible career paths within the financial engineering profession. Because of its privileged location in the financial capital of the world, Baruch MFE students compliment the academic experience with first-hand exposure to Wall Street.