FT: Goldman Sachs to Exit NYSE Floor in Historic Move

In the latest sign of the evolving stock trading business, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) is reportedly planning to leave the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

The investment bank’s planned exit highlights how despite popular belief, the action on Wall Street actually takes place away from the traditional trading floors full of humans.

According to the Financial Times, Goldman is in the process of selling its designated market maker business. These specialists manage the opening and closing auctions for NYSE-listed stocks and help provide liquidity.

While NYSE accounted for over 70% of U.S. stock trading a decade ago, that share has tumbled to just 12% due to competition from rival exchanges like Nasdaq OMX Group (NASDAQ:NDAQ) and dark pools run by the likes of Goldman and Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS).

Goldman plans to retain a brokerage role and continue providing liquidity electronically for NYSE stocks, the FT reported.

The New York-based investment bank shelled out $6.5 billion to acquire trading powerhouse Spear, Leeds & Kellogg in 2000, but today the business is valued at no more than $30 million.

Neither Goldman nor NYSE Euronext responded to requests for comment on the news.

Goldman is the No. 3 market maker on the NYSE floor, trailing only Barclays (NYSE:BCS) and KCG (NYSE:KCG) with 640 listed issues from 500 companies, the FT reported.

NYSE Euronext, which owns the Big Board, was sold to IntercontinentalExchange (NYSE:ICE) last year in an $11 billion deal.

Shares of Goldman ticked up 0.80% to $165.17 Tuesday afternoon, while ICE slid 2.16% to $193.55.

The news comes just days after author Michael Lewis dropped a bomb on Wall Street by telling CBS’s (NYSE:CBS) “60 Minutes” he believes the U.S. stock market is “rigged” by exchanges, big banks and high-speed traders.