Goldman Sachs is considering selling its New York Stock Exchange market-making business

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Goldman Sachs is considering selling its business unit that matches buyers and sellers on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, according to a person familiar with the investment bank’s thinking who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The business is one of six on the floor of the exchange that are responsible for reducing volatility in stock trading. If Goldman completes the sale, it would follow Bank of America in departing from the floor of the exchange. Bank of America sold its market-making business to Getco, an electronic trading firm, in November 2011.

Goldman acquired its business on the floor of the exchange when it bought Spear, Leeds & Kellogg in 2000 for $6.5 billion.

Even though the brokers on the floor of the exchange are still the face of Wall Street, appearing in photographs that accompany stories about stocks, their importance to the market has gradually eroded as regulations have changed and more trading is done electronically.

The NYSE, which dates back to 1792 and is based in lower Manhattan, was itself acquired last year by IntercontinentalExchange, a much younger operator of global financial and commodities markets headquartered in Atlanta.