The New York Stock Exchange closed the book on more than 200 years of tradition this week by selling the stock of a brand new company. What is new is that the company owns the Exchange itself. VOA's George Dwyer has our report.
The New York Stock Exchange, or NYSE, began operating in 1792 when a handful of traders met to establish trading rules for stocks. Since then the Exchange has been run by its members - or seat-holders. This week they began selling stock in a completely new company - a firm that owns the exchange itself.
John Thain is CEO of the new NYSE Group says, "It gives the American investing public and actually the world's investing public the ability to own shares in the world's largest equity market, so I think that's a great opportunity and then we will, as we become a public company, we will really look to make sure we maintain our position as the leading marketplace in the world."
In recent years, the N.Y.S.E. had lost business to other exchanges that were faster and more efficient in matching buyers and sellers. So, to catch up, the NYSE bought an electronic exchange, called Archipelago, and is now working to enhance its electronic trading. But the Exchange will still offer traditional face-to-face stock trading as well.
Roben Farzad is an editor with Business week magazine. "Think about the irony here - they are the premier place apparently in the world to have a stock listed, but their own stock wasn't listed, so this is really putting their money where their mouth is. On the flipside, there is more scrutiny, there is more transparency, you have the pressure now to deliver on earnings and project earnings and you have more than your old constituency, there's several more constituents now, the shareholders and Wall Street analysts being two loud ones."
Even though it has new owners, one thing has not changed - the New York Stock Exchange remains the world's largest stock market.