Stock Exchanges around the world

The London Stock Exchange

The London Stock Exchange provides a range of services for companies and investors:

  • Company Services – the London Stock Exchange provides a number of markets which allow companies large and small to raise capital, and a range of services to increase the profile of the companies on our markets.
  • Trading Services – the London Stock Exchange gives market users access to a well-developed trading environment with a proven record of stability and flexibility.
  • Information Services – the London Stock Exchange provides high quality real-time price information to market users worldwide, as well as historical and reference data. Supporting these activities, the Exchange regulates its markets to give protection to investors and companies and to maintain its reputation for high standards and integrity. In addition, in partnership with others, the Exchange helps to track the performance of the markets through various indices.

A brief history

1760: 150 brokers kicked out of the Royal Exchange for rowdiness form a club at Jonathan’s Coffee House to buy and sell shares.

1773: Members vote to change the name to Stock Exchange.

1801: The London Stock Exchange becomes a regulated Exchange.

1914: The Great War meant the Exchange market closed at the end of July until the new year.

1972: Her Majesty the Queen opened the Exchange’s new 26-storey office block with its 23,000 sq ft trading floor.

1986: Big bang: Trading moves from being conducted face-to-face on a market floor to being performed via computer and telephone from separate dealing rooms.

1995: AIM is launched – a market for growing companies.

1997: Shareholders vote for us to become a public limited company and we become London Stock Exchange plc.

There are two basic markets on the London Stock Exchange:

  • TechMARK is an international market for innovative technology companies on the Stock Exchange. Since its launch in 1999, techMARK has established itself as a leading global market for shares in businesses at the cutting edge of technological innovation.
  • AIM is a global market for young and growing companies from all over the world. AIM is specially tailored to suit growing businesses, wherever in the world they are based – and its entry rules have been designed to reflect these companies’ unique requirements. AIM provides a central focus for investors who understand growing companies and are eager to invest in their potential.

Listing on the Exchange offers companies worldwide the opportunity to grow by raising funds from one of the world’s deepest pools of capital. Companies of all kinds are attracted to list in London by its deep liquidity, widespread equity culture and sophisticated investment community. Many UK and international companies come to London to raise new capital, or to have their shares more widely marketed and traded. Companies can raise capital both at the time of going to the market and, subsequently, by issuing securities for cash. Access to equity or debt finance gives companies greater flexibility to fund expansion and development programmes – or to reduce borrowings.

Companies on the main market come from all sectors of business – including information technology, electronics, financial, retail and industrial The size of UK companies varies enormously, from those with a market capitalisation of Ł1m to those with a market cap of more than Ł150 bn.

A company applying for a listing on the Exchange has first to provide listing particulars giving a complete picture of its: business, trading history, financial record, management, business prospects, information on the securities to be listed and, the terms of any fund raising. A company seeking to list its shares needs to appoint an Exchange-approved sponsor to handle its application. This can be a member firm, bank, broker, firm of solicitors, accountants or other financial advisers.

Catering for emerging market issuers London has the world’s most active international equity market, with more international trading taking place than on any other exchange in the world. One of the principal methods for emerging markets issuers to raise capital is through the listing of depositary receipts (or DRs). These are certificates that represent ownership of the underlying             securities and can be listed and traded independently from the underlying shares. They have a number of attractions for international investors and issuers, including: reducing currency risk by pricing and trading the issue in an accessible international currency helping to avoid difficulties with local exchange approval and settlement systems simplifying settlement arrangements with the custodian managing any differences between the issuer’s home country and that of the investor.

Euro-denominated products can be listed on the Exchange and include the: euro-denominated depository receipt (EDR), euro convertible bond (ECB) and euro-denominated eurobond (EEB). In addition, it is possible to list shares denominated in euros.

Alongside its strong equity market, the London Stock Exchange operates an important debt market. In recent years, a growing number of eurobonds from both the UK and abroad have been listed in London.

The New York Stock Exchange

The NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) is an agency auction market. The essential point is that trading at the NYSE takes place by open bids and offers by Exchange members, acting as agents for institutions or individual investors. Buy and sell orders meet directly on the trading floor, and prices are determined by the interplay of supply and demand.

1. Brief History

The New York Stock Exchange traces its origins back more than 200 years, to the signing of the Buttonwood Agreement by 24 New York City stockbrokers and merchants in 1792. Centuries of growth and innovation later, the NYSE remains the world’s foremost securities marketplace. Over the years, its commitment to issuers and investors has been unwavering, and its persistent application of the latest technology has allowed it to maintain a level of market quality and service that is unparalleled.

The NYSE registered as a national securities exchange with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on October 1, 1934. The Governing Committee was the primary governing body until 1938, at which time The Exchange hired its first paid president and created a thirty-three member Board of Governors. The Board included Exchange members, non-member partners from both New York and out-of-town firms, as well as public representatives.

In 1971 The Exchange was incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation. In 1972 the members voted to replace the Board of Governors with a twenty-five member Board of Directors, comprised of a Chairman and CEO, twelve representatives of the public, and twelve representatives from the securities industry.

Subject to the approval of the Board, the Chairman may appoint a President, who would serve as a director. Additionally, at the Board’s discretion, they may elect an Executive Vice Chairman, who would also serve as a director.

2. Mission Statement

To add value to the capital-raising and asset management process by providing the highest quality and most cost-effective self-regulated marketplace for the trading of financial instruments, promote confidence in and understanding of that process, and serve as a forum for discussion of relevant national and international policy issues.

3. Trading

At the NYSE, each listed stock is assigned to a single post where the specialist manages the auction process. NYSE members bring all orders for NYSE-listed stocks to the Exchange floor either electronically or by a floor broker. As a result, the flow of buy and sell orders for each stock is funnelled to a single location.

This heavy stream of diverse orders is one of the great strengths of the Exchange. It provides liquidity – the ease with which securities can be bought and sold without wide price fluctuations.

When an investor’s transaction is completed, the best price will have been exposed to a wide range of potential buyers and sellers.

Each day on the NYSE trading floor an auction takes place. Open bids and offers are managed on The Trading Floor page on by Exchange members acting on behalf of institutions and individual investors. Buy and sell orders for each listed security meet directly on the trading floor in assigned locations. Prices are determined through supply and demand. Stock buy and sell orders funnel through a single location, ensuring that the investor, no matter how big or small, is exposed to a wide range of buyers and sellers.

Investors must give their brokers specific instructions on how to handle their transactions. Here are some common types of order:

A market order tells the broker to buy or sell at the best price currently available on the NYSE Trading Floor.

A limit order, also called a limited order or limited price order, tells the broker to buy or sell at a specific price or better. The broker will try to get the best price possible for the customer, but the broker cannot sell below or buy above the specified figure.

A GTC (good ’til cancelled) order tells the broker that the order is valid until it is executed or until the investor cancels it.

The minimum unit of trading on the NYSE is 100 shares. This is referred to as a round-lot. Orders for less than 100 shares are referred to as odd-lots.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange

Main stock market of Japan, located in Tokyo. It opened in 1878 to provide a market for the trading of government bonds newly issued to former samurai. Government bonds and gold and silver currencies initially formed the bulk of trade on the exchange, but the trading of stocks came to predominate by the 1920s and ’30s. It was closed from 1945 to 1949, when it opened after being reorganized by the occupying U.S. authorities. Today it accounts for more than 90% of all securities transactions in Japan, and it is one of the world’s largest marketplaces for securities. The Nikkei index is the key stock-market index in Tokyo.