Guest Contributor: Karen Mack, Financial Technologies Forum
This past Tuesday, when reading the “This Day in History” section of our local newspaper, I couldn’t help but note that this was the anniversary of the date that the Buttonwood Agreement was signed on May 17, 1792 by 24 Wall Street stockbrokers, marking the official beginning of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Only a few short years ago, I wouldn’t have paid much attention to this article, but today is a different story. You see, I am FTF’s ‘registrar’ (and the mother of its Founder Maureen Lowe) and the official company editor of TheBullRun. Before joining FTF in 2006, my previous employment was mainly in the real estate business, so the financial industry, its terms, jargon and inner workings are still relatively new to me. So I thought not only would this make a great “Fun Friday” blog contribution, but researching it will help further my financial industry education. (As this marks my blog debut, please go easy on me!)
OK, back to the NYSE. Here are some interesting historical facts that even the most seasoned Wall Street professional might not know:
1. It actually all began two months earlier, in March of 1792, when these 24 men, all leading merchants of New York City, met secretly at Corre’s Hotel to discuss ways to bring order to the securities business and to wrest it from their competitors, the auctioneers.
2. The NYSE was not the first stock exchange in America. The “Board of Brokers” was founded in Philadelphia in 1790.
3. On March 8, 1817, the signers of the Buttonwood Agreement, after hearing how well the Philadelphia exchange was doing, decided to formally organize and drafted a constitution. It was at that time renamed the “New York Stock & Exchange Board”, changing its name again in 1863 to the “New York Stock Exchange”.
4. In 1817 a seat on the exchange cost $25, in 1827 it increased to $100, and in 1848 the price was $400. (The highest price paid for membership on the NYSE was $2,650,000 on August 23, 1999.)
5. The first central location of the exchange was a room, rented in 1792 for $200 a month, located at 40 Wall Street. The NYSE moved and expanded several times since then, but one of their locations, the building at 18 Broad Street, which was designed and built specifically to house the Exchange (the architect having to beat out 7 other NYC architects in a competition for the privilege), was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1978 along with the building housing their current location at 11 Wall Street.
I could go on and on, but then again this is supposed to be a “Fun Friday” post, so I’ll end with Happy 219th Birthday NYSE! Old age is treating you well. Let’s see with all the recent merger and acquisition discussions, however, if we are celebrating with you again next year. On a final note, if anyone cares to add to my financial industry education by contributing any other interesting historical facts about the New York Stock Exchange, please do!