NYSE Options Builds on Strong Momentum

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The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is planning to bring the NYSE Pillar platform to NYSE Amex Options in 2023, according to recently appointed Head of Options, NYSE, Meaghan Dugan.

Meaghan Dugan

“We are highly focused on building on the strong momentum following this year’s successful NYSE Arca Options migration to NYSE Pillar,” she told Traders Magazine.

NYSE Arca Options continues to lead as the top U.S. options exchange by volume for the eleventh month in a row. 

As a group, NYSE Arca Options and NYSE Amex Options have continued to gain market share across 2021 and 2022, “even against competitors with a greater number of exchange medallions,” Dugan said.

Dugan took her first trading floor job at the old Pacific Exchange in San Francisco in 2000, clerking at Spear Leeds & Kellogg (SLK) back when stocks were still traded in fractions and largely via paper tickets.

Through acquisitions, the Pacific Exchange became what is today known as NYSE Arca.

Goldman Sachs bought SLK not long after she joined. 

Dugan then moved to Morgan Stanley to become a specialist and relocated to New York City, as specialists at that time were allowed to operate remotely, she said.

In 2008, she was hired by Merrill Lynch, which became Bank of America Merrill Lynch, to run options products for their electronic trading team. 

Her responsibilities were to develop options algorithms for their clients and manage direct market access to the U.S. Options exchanges.

When she joined the New York Stock Exchange in 2019, she was in “a way returning home”, Dugan said.

At that time she ran product and competitive strategy for the NYSE’s options business, which allowed to combine her specialist market-making skills with her client-facing options trading background. 

“I was excited to leverage my skills and NYSE’s capabilities to work with all of the Exchange’s members,” she said.

She added that the NYSE’s storied history is “unlike any other organization”. 

“Combined with the entrepreneurial spirit of parent Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the NYSE has assembled an extraordinary team,” she stressed.

In early August 2022, she was promoted to the NYSE’s Head of Options.

Dugan said that she will work to grow their options business across two exchanges, NYSE Amex Options in New York and NYSE Arca Options in San Francisco. 

That will require engaging deeply with clients and other stakeholders to listen and cultivate relationships, and drive new business with current and new members across electronic and open outcry trading, which we support at both of our options exchanges, she explained.

“We also want to explore introducing unique trading features and products that will add distinct value for investors,” she added.

According to Dugan, this is one of the most exciting moments for NYSE options in many years. 

“We just completed a massive project to upgrade our exchange trading systems on NYSE Arca Options, a project that began just as I arrived at the NYSE in late 2019,” she said. 

“Our upgrade to the NYSE Pillar platform completely overhauled not only our core trading system but our market data feeds, post-trade systems, and billing and reporting functionality,” she added. 

This work was completed on July 28 and the team was honored to ring the NYSE’s closing bell on August 18 to celebrate the achievement, Dugan said.

NYSE Pillar Rings The Closing Bell®. To honor the occasion, Meaghan Dugan, Head of Options, joined by Michael Blaugrund, NYSE Chief Operating Officer, rings The Closing Bell®. Photo Credit: NYSE

“Since the completion of the upgrade, we have been busy fine tuning the performance of NYSE Pillar on the NYSE Arca Options exchange as customers become increasingly familiar with the new system,” Dugan said.

She added that at the NYSE, they focus heavily on research and analytics. 

Some of the key trends they are seeing in the U.S. options markets include strong interest in ETF options and overall industry volume growth following the stock splits of a couple of well-known technology names, Dugan said.

When asked about ongoing initiatives, Dugan said that a core value at ICE is digitizing manual processes to achieve efficiency and scale for their customers. 

“We take this to heart within the NYSE options business as we look to bring new technology to our open outcry trading floors, develop new features across NYSE Pillar, and build on our leadership in market structure,” she concluded.