NYSE Begins Major Technology Upgrade

Project Pillar will see options and equities brought to a single platform and trading processing times cut to 40 microseconds

The New York Stock Exchange began one of its biggest technology overhauls in more than a decade on Monday.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the new project will aim to speed up transaction times on the NYSE’s stock and options exchanges. Several major companies, including Ford, Morgan Stanley, and Walmart, are listed on the exchange.

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The technology update, which the NYSE is calling ‘Pillar,’ will take place over the next three weeks. On Monday, the first set of stocks were transferred to the new system without any cause for concern.

If the same is true for the rest of the securities that the exchange plans on migrating, then traders aren’t likely to be disturbed.

Killing bugs

But it isn’t clear that will be the case. Pillar was supposed to be launched in late 2015. That date has been pushed forward more than a dozen times as the NYSE has been forced to tinker with the software on several occasions.

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In 2017, there was a major hiccup when one of the exchange’s exchange-traded fund (ETF) platforms, which was using Pillar technology, failed to publish closing prices for over 300 ETFs.

Assuming there are no more errors, the NYSE’s new technology will see two major changes to trading on its exchanges.

The exchange operator’s new platform will bring its five equities and two options exchanges on to one platform.

Perhaps more importantly, it will cut processing times down to 40 microseconds.

By cutting processing times, the exchange is hoping to draw more high-frequency traders to its platform. Over the past ten years, many trading firms have jumped ship to Cboe and Nasdaq, who provide average processing times of 56 microseconds and 35 microseconds respectively.

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