Breaking Stocks and Breaking Barriers

Simmons becomes youngest female trader on the floor


Being a full-time equity trader on the New York Stock Exchange can be an extremely stressful job. More so when you are the youngest female equity trader on the floor. Lauren Simmons is not only the youngest female equity trader on the NYSE at the age of 23, she is also the only one to hold the position at Rosenblatt Securities.

“I didn’t know I would be the only woman there,” Simmons laughed at a Mercy School of Business talk to the community.

“Besides the news anchors, it’s just me, I think.”

Simmons is one of the few to break barriers on the NYSE. Muriel Siebert was the first woman to own a seat on the NYSE on Dec. 28, 1967. A “seat” is referring to being able to be on the floor and trade. Earlier this year ,Stacy Cunningham become the first president of the NYSE in its 226 year history, when she became the 67th president of NYSE.

While she is the only female trader there surrounded by men, she says she doesn’t feel ostracized. Instead she feels support from her male coworkers. Richard Rosenblatt, the chief executive officer of Rosenblatt Securities, attends speaking functions for Simmons as a show of support. She is grateful at the support shown to her an the mentor ship that she has found from multiple people on the NYSE.

“Mentors are… about building genuine relationships with people that want to help you.”

The now 24 year-old credits networking, informational interview and LinkedIn as big help in finding her career. She found her current career at Rosenblatt Securities due to a LinkedIn job listing. She credits informational interviews with giving her insight into the kind of career she would be getting into.

Simmons has been at Rosenblatt for a year and a half and has enjoyed her time there fondly.

“I enjoy the people you get to meet, the stories you get to tell, but while staying on the floor I don’t know,” she said when asked about her future at the company.

The Georgia native had almost an entirely different career for herself before going for the NYSE. While she does have a minor in statistics, her major was a genetics degree from Kennesaw State University. Majoring in genetics came from a place close to her heart. Simmons has a twin brother with cerebral palsy, which inspired her to get into genetics and gene therapy. She even got accepted by Sarah Lawrence Medical School, before changing paths.

She quickly realized while writing her research paper that genetics wasn’t for her. Falling back on her statistics minor, she credits networking and informational interviews in allowing her to find her place in the stock market. While she stepped away from genetics, she does credit the major with helping her learn how to research.

“My first year I read all newspapers, all books in finance. I didn’t go out the entire first year (working on the floor).”

Simmons recalls making a mistake and trying to fix it on a Friday at the last minute.

“You’re going to be consumed just looking at the markets… At the end of the day just go home.” Her boss told her as she frantically tried to find a fix for her mistake. She learned to leave the work at work and to have a healthy balance. She credits hobbies like yoga and hiking with helping take her mind off the market.

In order for Simmons to even be allowed on the floor, she first had to pass her Series 19 exam. An exam where if ten people take it, she says only two pass.

“What do you mean if I don’t pass?” Simmons remembers asking those who took the test, after they reassured her she could take it again the next time it was offered.

Simmons wasn’t prepared for the overnight sensation her story created. She remembers coming back from vacation to over a thousand messages after a story on her aired on CNBC. She is proud of her success, but doesn’t want to be the only one.

“I want millennials to hear the message… I don’t want to be an anomaly… If my story can connect with just one of you guys… For you to go on and do amazing things, I want to hear it.”

Simmons now uses her story to give talks to college campuses around the United States. She also mentions she will be speaking soon at a college in Ireland. While she does want to remain on the stock market for now, she doesn’t think she will be there forever. A year and a half and she said she wouldn’t be shocked if she was in a new position. She acknowledges that people her age tend to move around from career to career. Simmons doesn’t know what her future may be, but she will continue to inspire and break barriers.