The Chicago Board of Trade

Chicago Board of Trade and LaSalle Street

Above: The LaSalle Street entrance of the Chicago Board of Trade

The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) is a leading futures and options on futures exchange. Established in 1848, it is the world’s oldest derivatives exchange. The CBOT initially traded only agricultural commodities such as corn, wheat, oats and soybeans. Futures contracts at the exchange evolved over the years to include non-storable agricultural commodities and non-agricultural products such as gold and silver. The CBOT’s first financial futures contract, launched in October 1975, was based on Government National Mortgage Association mortgage-backed certificates. Since then, futures trading has been initiated in many financial instruments, including U.S. Treasury bonds and notes, stock indexes, and swaps. Options on futures were introduced in 1982.

For over 150 years, the primary method of trading at the CBOT was open outcry, which involved traders meeting face to face in trading pits. The CBOT successfully launched its first electronic trading system in 1994 and in 2003 licensed LIFFE CONNECT technology to power its electronic trading platform, replacing the a/c/e system.