Interesting article on the shadyness of the Specialists. http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/business/s_159209.html Tidbits from article: "My main concern is that specialists are a for-profit proprietary trading arm of the NYSE that investors large and small trust with their order flow day in and day out," Wheeler said. "With the system so rife with conflicts of interest, it's hard for average investors to have a fair shake." "The beauty of a computerized trading system is it's not biased," he added. "It treats every bid the same; the NYSE doesn't." "A lot of our members have been frustrated with the NYSE system," said Sarah Teslik, executive director of the Council of Institutional Investors, which represents 130 pension funds. Her group is pressing interim NYSE chairman John Reed to revamp the open-auction system. "Computers don't have a temptation to cheat, they don't have a temptation to tattle, they don't have sick days, they don't have PMS and their volume (capability) is heavier," she said. "It's hard to imagine that humans can match what computers can do." Indeed, the heart of Nasdaq trading operations lies in Trumbull, Conn., where a vast array of computers can connect millions of buyers and sellers from Anchorage, Alaska to London to Beijing. Investors can choose to trade instantaneously without a specialist coming in between. Despite the promise of speed and fairness, electronic communications networks offered by Nasdaq, Instinet and Archipelago have nowhere near NYSE's trading volume. Pension and mutual funds say they have no choice than to trade at the NYSE since few buyers and sellers go elsewhere.