Lauren Simmons became the youngest women to be a full-time stockbroker for the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) back in early June. Despite her early plans of working in the medical field, Simmons took a different path, down the road of finance opportunity.
“The one thing that I love about numbers and statistics, and kind of one of the reasons I came to the New York Stock Exchange, is because numbers are a universal language. When you put them on a board it connects everyone, which is probably one of the reasons why the New York Stock Exchange is so iconic,” Simmons said to CNBC in early June.
Simmons joined Rosenblatt Securities after applying for the position through LinkedIn. The agency-only institutional brokerage firm was founded in 1979 with the mission of helping investors with trusted advice. Simmons started in March of 2017 and her employment was based on the contingency that she would pass the Series 19 exam, the NYSE Floor Clerk/Member Examination.
“I had a month to take the exam,” Simmons explains, “and when I tell you a lot of people did not think I was going to pass, they really did not think I was going to pass.”
“When I see statistics that say ’80 percent don’t get through,’ I look at the 20 percent. So when everyone kept saying, ‘It’s a hard test. Don’t worry if you don’t pass,’ for me, I needed to pass to prove to myself that I could do this,” said Simmons.
The NYSE is notorious for its male presence on the trading floors. Peter Tuchman, a longtime trader on Wall Street said that “it’s a bit of a men’s club, and it has always been that way. Why are there no women in this business? It’s because men suck”. Tuchman has also said that the language on the trading floor is not friendly towards women. He explained that “It’s like a locker room in a certain way. Men use language they probably shouldn’t use. It’s a lot of screaming, yelling, and it’s super high stress. It’s not that Women can’t deal with high stress, it’s just not where women went”.
A new generation of women may infiltrate the trading floors of the NYSE. Stacey Cunningham became the first woman president of the NYSE back in late May and she hopes that more women enter the industry.
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