They were widely used by the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) but have become less common in recent years.
The functions of board brokers have increasingly been adopted by automated trading platforms such as those used by the Nasdaq exchange.
Board brokers are employees of a commodities or options exchange, which fulfill a role that mixes aspects of market making and stock brokerage services. In essence, board brokers are charged with maintaining an orderly trading environment at the exchanges where they serve.
Perhaps the most common example of board brokers were those operating for the CBOE. However, the so-called Board Broker System of the CBOE was eventually replaced by a fully automated electronic trading system.
Typically, board brokers will be assigned a set of commodities or options for which they are responsible. Other members and market participants will rely on the board member to match their orders and to ensure that adequate liquidity is maintained in order to execute their trades.
In situations where the demand for a given security far outstrips its supply, board brokers are expected to sell from their own inventory in order to help balance supply and demand. Conversely, if supply outstrips demand, the board brokers may purchase the security in question in order to add liquidity to that segment of the market.
Other services provided by board brokers include offering price quotations for the securities in their portfolio, particularly at the beginning and end of trading sessions or in circumstances where the security faces unusually low trading volume.
Michaela is a board broker working for a large commodities exchange who is responsible for overseeing trade execution and market liquidity in the oil and gas futures market. As part of her role, Michaela keeps in close communication with market participants who may wish to trade large blocks of securities in these commodity groups. By communicating directly with brokers on either side of these transactions, she is able to help market participants find the best possible executions on their orders.
In addition to her order fulfillment role, Michaela also plays the role of a market maker. If liquidity in a given commodity becomes unusually low, she will occasionally intervene in order to bring supply and demand into closer balance. Similarly, she also assists orderly trading by providing ongoing price quotations, particularly for thinly traded securities for which the current market price may be difficult to discern.