These 14 Trader Hand Signals Are An HR Rep's Worst Nightmare

Racist. Sexist. Filthy. Obscene.

These are the words we’ll use to describe the hand signals traders will flash to each other in their efforts to communicate quickly across noisy trading floors.

“The ability to recognise all market participants was what made open outcry trading transparent and from this, signals were developed for the larger brokerages and for some large local traders,” writes Ryan Carlson on “In cases where a more universal signal was never developed, their hand signal in the pit would simply be their three digit firm number.”

We recently got our hands on a copy of “Trading Pit Hand Signals,” and we were taken aback by some of the signs used to identify the various brokerage houses.

You’ll have a hard time forgetting these. But apparently, that’s the point.

Thanks to Ryan Carlson for giving us permission to feature these images.

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