High-frequency trading is an unusual part of Wall Street where firms use supercharged computers to trade insanely fast, able to buy and sell millions of shares in a fraction of a second. The technology and tactics they use are impressive and also controversial, which is why some of the companies are reluctant to talk about what they do. A look inside reveals a culture that is quite different from that of the big banks and more like the casual environment favored by Silicon Valley.
The New York firm Tower Research Capital has a very Wall Street-sounding name, but its Tribeca office has no trace of the fancy marble and wood theme big banks tend to go for. It looks more like the world’s most well-decorated yoga studio, with all kinds of Asian statues and huge plants throughout the space. Like nearly everyone there, the boss is in jeans.