I recently visited the trading floor of CBOE where especially the pits of SPX and VIX are relatively crowded and open outcry is still performed. I was surprised to hear that the traded volume is non negligible compared to the electronic trading which takes place in parallel. Apparently some customers still prefer to communicate their orders using trading pitches - often heard and read reasons are the ability to get better prices (especially for big orders) and the ability to split trades among many traders see here, for instance.
However, I am wondering about three things:
Where does the ability to get better prices come from? If it is about established relationships or professional environment I do not see why appropriate trading platforms would provide equivalent means to replace open-outcry.
How fast is the information gathered at the trading pitch communicated to electronic traders? Given, a broker signalizes her aim to sell/buy a large quantity of a certain option and her orders gets filled, how many seconds does it take until the information is processed? In a world where time-stamps of trading data are sometimes in measures of nano/micro seconds, I suppose that manually recording the trades takes an awful long period of time.
Especially with respect to question 2: i am wondering about the reliability of high-frequency data for academic (but also industrial) purposes if a substantial amount of trading (CBOE representative claimed that roughly 30 % of daily VIX and SPX volume is settled in the trading pitches) is not performed in an electronic fashion but instead rather anonymous if we consider the substantial lags. And may this even be the real reason why some customers still prefer to send employees to the trading pitches?