Britain’s Provincial Exchanges

           Many credit the financial development of the United Kingdom as a cause of the Industrial Revolution which got underway there in the late 18th century. Of course, stock exchanges may have had their own role to play in funding industry. However, it was not the London Stock Exchange that filled this role, either alone or

New York Produce Exchange

             Agricultural commodities have been traded between places for millennia before modern commodity exchanges were founded. However, these exchanges brought many of the services required by merchants and traders under a single roof. In the 19th century, exchanges became larger, partly the result of improved communications and transportation infrastructure. Two American commodities exchanges formed in the

America’s Regional Exchanges

           Stock exchanges are physical testaments to financial development. Their buildings are often prominent within their home cities. They evidence commercial success, perhaps even heralding more forthcoming success. They help fund growing industries and the firms within them, the purveyors of future riches.            Just the same though, new industries have also helped form new stock exchanges,

The Original Bourse at Bruges

           According to the most common accounts, the first stock exchange was established in Amsterdam following the initial public offering of the Dutch East India Company in 1602. However, Amsterdam was not the first city to earn the distinction of being a financial center. It was, after all, hardly the first time traders gathered in a

Confessions of a Stockjobber

           Published almost a hundred years ago now, Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefèvre is more than an investment book. It is something of a novel, set in fin de siècle New York and revolving around a certain stock trader named Larry Livingston. This Larry Livingston did not exist, at least by that name,

The Baltic, Britain’s Sociable Exchange

           In the world’s oldest market economies, securities and commodities exchanges have been in operation for centuries. Of those founded in Britain and America, quite a few have their origins in coffee-houses. In an era when Puritan sensibilities made alehouses and taverns unseemly places to do business, coffee-houses provided a place for social diversion. However, this

The First IPO

           The form of the modern corporation dates back to the tail end of the Renaissance; the earliest date to the 16th century and look familiar in numerous respects. They raised money from investors and put it to use earning a profit as a new legally distinct entity, separate from any one proprietor. Quite soon after

New York’s Streetside Exchange

           Due to its age and familiarity, the New York Stock Exchange is often regarded as the city’s most important trading institution and its only stock exchange of historic significance. Whatever innovations it brought to the business of securities trading, the NASDAQ is a youngster by comparison, having been established in 1971. However, for a century,

Exchange Alley

           Long before New York became a financial capital of North America, let alone the world, London already had the institutions befitting a city of finance and commerce. The Royal Exchange had been founded by merchant and advisor to the monarch, Sir Thomas Gresham in 1571. Lloyd’s of London would be founded in a coffeehouse a

Pricing in Eighths

           Up until the year 2000, stock exchanges in the US quoted share prices in eighths. That meant the smallest increment that a stock could move was one-eighth of a dollar, nothing less. In the normal course of a trading day, one share of FedEx would trade hands at $14.125 or $14.25 but nothing in between.

The Tontine Coffee-House

           Those who know a bit about New York’s financial past have almost certainly heard of the Buttonwood Agreement. In 1792, two dozen stockbrokers signed a now famous pact agreeing to trade directly with each other, bypassing any middlemen, under a Buttonwood tree on Wall Street. This agreement standardized trading between them and is thus thought

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