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On an exchange, the member firm that is designated as the market maker (or dealer for a listed common stock). Member of a stock exchange who maintains a "fair and orderly market" in one or more securities. Only one specialist can be designated for a given stock, but dealers may be specialists for several stocks. In contrast, there can be multiple market makers in the OTC market. Major functions include executing limit orders on behalf of other exchange members for a portion of the floor broker's commission, and buying or selling for the specialist's own account to counteract temporary imbalances in supply and demand and thus prevent wide swings in stock prices.
Copyright © 2012, Campbell R. Harvey. All Rights Reserved.


A member firm on a securities exchange that the exchange's management charges with keeping a fair and orderly market on one or more securities. That is, a specialist serves as a market maker on its assigned securities by buying and selling them to ensure liquidity in the market. Brokers approach specialists to conduct to conduct transactions on their assigned securities. Each security on the exchange has exactly one specialist. A specialist is less commonly called an assigned dealer. See also: Book.
Farlex Financial Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All Rights Reserved


A member of a securities exchange who is a market maker in one or more securities listed on the exchange. The specialist is the person on the exchange floor to whom other members go when they wish to transact or leave an order. Specialists are assigned securities by the exchange and are expected to maintain a fair and orderly market in them. Also called assigned dealer. See also book, Rule 104.
Wall Street Words: An A to Z Guide to Investment Terms for Today's Investor by David L. Scott. Copyright © 2003 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. All rights reserved.


A specialist or specialist unit is a member of a securities exchange responsible for maintaining a fair and orderly market in a specific security or securities on the exchange floor.

Specialists execute market orders given to them by other members of the exchange known as floor brokers or sent to their post through an electronic routing system.

Typically, a specialist acts both as agent and principal. As agent, the specialist handles limit orders for floor brokers in exchange for a portion of their commission.

Those orders are maintained in an electronic record known as the limit order book, or specialist's book, until the stock is trading at the acceptable price. As principal, the specialist buys for his or her own account to help maintain a stable market in a security.

For example, if the spread, or difference, between the bid and ask, or the highest price offered by a buyer and the lowest price asked by a seller, gets too wide, and trading in the security hits a lull, the specialist might buy, sell, or sell short shares to narrow the spread and stimulate trading.

But because of restrictions the exchange puts on trading, a specialist is not permitted to buy a security when there is an unexecuted order for the same security at the same price in the limit order book.

Dictionary of Financial Terms. Copyright © 2008 Lightbulb Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
SPECIALISMS Corporate; consumer; public affairs; enterprise and technology; finance; healthcare; social media, digital marketing, design and branding, research
"Specialism has raised standards and provided new opportunities for young people."
SPECIALISMS Communications strategy; brand & reputation management; digital; crisis; training; content; business transformation; internal communications; public affairs
LSH encourages a range of approaches from different specialisms and professional backgrounds, as well as submissions from students who represent the next generation of the property industry.
SPECIALISMS Brand identity; brand evolution; marketing campaigns; product development; product launch and promotion; website UI; UX design; website builds; content creation.
"We are delighted that the firm has been placed top in so many areas in the new Legal 500 Guide, both on a national and regional level and that more of our solicitors than ever have been individually named and recommended in their particular areas of specialism. The firm began life in 2000 as a small regional legal practice with one office but its strategy of focusing on specialist areas of the law, employing top quality people and expanding geographically has meant that it has now become a well regarded player on a national level.
Those specialisms are wide ranging, with technology (Bydales), performing arts (Redcar Community College), sport (Rye Hills) and science (Sacred Heart) all covered.
As a recognised high performing 11-18 college, Bellerive has the unusual status of having been awarded three specialisms.
"The schools in the Kenilworth cluster have been particularly enthusiastic about this new focus and we look forward to seeing if specialisms can make a difference."
Ministers have met their target for creating 2,000 controversial specialist schools after the announcement of more specialisms this week.
In return they get the chance to work on a range of practical specialisms.