A German takeover of the New York Stock Exchange, the citadel of American capitalism, would have shocked its floor traders in years gone by. But not now.
The floor traders have been through wrenching times in recent times because of the dominance of electronic trading and merciless competition from upstart rivals. Given that backdrop, the prospects of working for a more powerful transatlantic powerhouse are in some ways appealing.
Indeed, any concerns expressed about the news on Wednesday that Deutsche Boerse
I think culturally, if they're talking about changing the dress code, I don't look good in lederhosen, said Benedict Willis, 51, a 25-year veteran of the trading floor and the director of floor operations for Sunrise Securities Corp.
And some said they were optimistic about the proposed deal, hoping it would help to grow the exchange's business.
We still have a presence on the floor and I don't think that will be impacted one way or the other, said Ted Weisberg, a floor trader with Seaport Securities who has been a member of the NYSE for over 40 years. You hope that the synergies are such that sum of the parts will be greater than the whole.
The proposed deal also recalls a long history of German investment in New York City and on Wall Street, experts said.
Wall Street for well over 100 years has had prominent German-Jewish bankers operating here, said Richard Sylla, a financial historian at New York University's Stern School of Business.
I wouldn't really regard it as a German takeover of America's biggest stock exchange, Sylla said. I would guess if there's any cultural effect it'll be the Americans will influence Germany more than the other way around.
Some of Wall Street's most famous titans were also of German heritage, Sylla said. They have included German-born Paul Warburg, who was nominated to the New York Federal Reserve's first board in 1918, and the founders of Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers, Marcus Goldman and Henry Lehman.
This German influence has been strong on Wall Street for a long time, Sylla said.
But some previous German deals have rattled the Americans.
In a takeover finalized in 1999, Deutsche Bank
At the time, New York officials called on regulators to investigate if Deutsche Bank had profited under the Nazi regime. Similar calls were made when Daimler-Benz
But the New York Stock Exchange's acquisition of Euronext in 2007 to create NYSE Euronext had already turned the company into a global entity and prepared the ground for a deal like this.
You're creating the world's largest market in equities and derivatives, that's what language you're trading on, it's all the same language, Willis said, adding It's the evolution of an industry, we are still here trading, we're doing what we've done for two hundred years.
(Additional reporting by Edward Krudy and Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Daniel Trotta, Martin Howell)