What Is Take a Report?

Take a report is a slang phrase that was more commonly used on trading floors before 2010. The phrase was spoken by a floor trader, clerk, or market maker and used to indicate the execution of a trade order. Over time the expression also took on the connotation of "you're done" or "get lost."

Key Takeaways

  • Take a report is used as trader slang for "you're done" or "get lost."
  • The phrase used to be more common among open-outcry trading floors where traders worked in the same physical space.
  • The phrase has a history associated with a once-famous blog that was shut down in 2007.

Understanding Take a Report

Though commonly used around open outcry floors, this rather innocuous phrase reached an unusual level of notoriety around 2006 to 2007 when a blogger began anonymously posting on the website takeareport.com (no longer in use). The website was very popular for its humor among industry readers who could relate to its anecdotes. However much of the humor was crude and considered offensive by some.

Though the author was anonymous, the notoriety that the blog brought earned him an invitation to deliver the keynote address, using his nom de plume "Large," at the Dallas Security Traders annual convention. Unmasked, Michael J. McCarthy, who was an executive with Citibank at the time, found himself promptly fired from his position at Citibank. The events and the story elevated the blog to legendary status for a time.

Traders and other Wall Street professionals have developed their own particular set of slang terms that outsiders often don’t understand. This pattern often repeats in groups of people that share particular experiences and stressors that outsiders don't or can't appreciate. Take a report still carries the meaning that a trade order is executed, but its use in the common conversations to indicate the more colloquial "get out of my face" or "you're done" is receding. Even its use in a more official capacity is likely jeopardized by the growing automation of trade execution.

This ebb and flow of slang terms is natural. And every few years, a new set of slang terms enters the trading vernacular, often prompting round-up articles that serve to translate the terms for their uninitiated readers. Entire books have been written with the purpose of cataloguing the latest financial buzzwords. Often, these expressions have a limited shelf life, or come into and then back out of vogue.

The Unsophisticated Origins of Take a Report

The expression take a report isn't exactly a sophisticated play on words, although the meaning of the phrase may not be readily apparent when taken out of a trading context. This holds true for many examples of trader lingo. In fact, the lack of sophistication is a bit of a hallmark of trader slang, given that many traders consider themselves to be street-smart and no-nonsense types who pride themselves more on native intelligence than on a series of accumulated degrees from elite business schools.

By comparison, the slang or jargon associated with futures trading, as distinguished from options trading, is relatively more cerebral in nature. Futures trading was for many years a way for those with a blue-collar background to enter the white-collar world of finance. This dynamic has all but disappeared with the rise of increasingly sophisticated trading technology and the elimination of many blue-collar jobs on the trading floor.