Exchanges – An exchange is a marketplace in which securities, commodities, derivatives and other financial instruments are traded. The core function of an exchange is to ensure fair and orderly trading and the efficient dissemination of price information for any securities trading on that exchange. Exchanges give companies, governments and in the same way, other groups a platform from which to sell securities to the investing public.

Likewise, an exchange may be a physical location where traders meet to conduct business or an electronic platform. They can also refer as a share exchange or bourse, depending on the geographical location. Exchanges are located in most countries worldwide. Similarly, the more prominent exchanges include the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the Nasdaq, the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE).

Electronic Exchanges

Trading is increasingly conducted on electronic exchanges as markets become more sophisticated; besides, exchanges themselves can ensure fair trading without requiring all members to be on a centralized trading floor. As of 2016, the floor of the NYSE processes less than 15% of the overall volume of stocks traded in the United States. Transactions can now spread across multiple exchanges. This has resulted in a substantial increase in high-frequency trading programs and the use of complex algorithms by traders on exchanges.

Exchange Listing Requirements

Each exchange also has certain listing requirements for any company or group that wishes to offer securities for trading. Some exchanges are more rigid than others, but the basic requirements for stock exchanges include regular financial reports, audited earning reports and minimum capital requirements. For example, the NYSE has a key listing requirement that stipulates a company must have a minimum of $4 million in shareholder’s equity.

Benefits of the Stock Exchange

To raise capital, we can use the stock exchange for companies seeking to grow and expand their operations. The first sale of stock by a private company to the public can refero as an initial public offering (IPO). In addition, Global stock exchange operator Bats Global Markets Inc. listed on the NYSE in 2016, helping the company to scale its business. Companies listed on the stock exchange typically have an enhanced profile. For instance, having more visibility may attract new customers, talented employees and suppliers who are eager to conduct business with a prominent industry leader.

Exchanges Give More Control

Private companies often rely on venture capitalists for investment, and this usually results in the loss of operational control. For example, a seed funding firm may require that a representative from the funding firm hold a prominent position on the board. Alternatively, companies listed on a stock exchange have more control and autonomy because investors who purchase shares have limited rights.

When a business raises capital by issuing shares, the owners of those new shares are likely going to want to sell their stake someday. Maybe they have a child going to college and need to cover the tuition bill. Perhaps they pass away, and their estate is subject to some hefty estate taxes. They may even leave it to their grandchildren, who get to enjoy the stepped-up basis loophole, but the heirs want to liquidate to buy a house. Whatever is driving their decision, they aren’t likely to tie up their funds unless they know somehow, someway, at some point in the future, they’ll be able to find a buyer for their holdings without too much trouble in what is known as “the secondary market.”

Without a stock exchange, these owners would have to go around to friends, family members, and for instance, community members, hoping to find someone to whom they could sell their shares. (Technically, you can do this. You don’t have to sell your shares on a stock exchange. You can take physical possession of your stocks in certificate form, endorse them, and sign them over to someone in exchange for payment in your lawyer’s office, or at your dining room table if you are so inclined. When the stock exchange was closed during World War I, many people did just that, creating a secondary shadow market.

The downside is that there is no transparency. Nobody knows what the best price is for a given stock at any given moment in time. You could be selling your shares for $50 while the guy two towns over is getting $70.) With a stock exchange, you will never know the person on the other end of the trade. He, she, or it could be halfway around the world.  It could be a retired teacher. It could be a multi-billion dollar insurance group. Similarly, it could be a publicly trade mutual fund or hedge fund.

Moreover, The need for convenience is what led to the establishment of the biggest stock exchange in the world. In the United States, a group of stockbrokers met under a buttonwood tree in New York City. On May 17th, 1792, twenty-four of these stockbrokers got together outside of 68 Wall Street to sign the now-famous Buttonwood Agreement, which effectively created the New York Stock & Exchange Board. Almost three-quarters of a century later, in 1863, it has officially renamed the New York Stock Exchange. These days, most people refer to it as the NYSE.

What Are the Major Stock Exchanges in the World?

At one time, the United States had thriving regional stock exchanges that were major hubs for their particular part of the country. In San Francisco, for example, the Pacific Stock Exchange had an open outcry system where brokers would handle buy and sell orders for local investors who wanted to purchase or liquidate their ownership stakes. Most of these were shut down, purchased, absorbed, or merged following the rise of the microchip, which made electronic networks much more efficient for finding liquidity so that an investor in California could just as easily sell his or her shares to someone in Zurich.

As of January 31st, 2015, the fifteen biggest stock exchanges in the world by market capitalization of listed securities are: 

  1. The New York Stock Exchange – Located in New York City; $19.223 trillion in listed market capitalization.
  2. NASDAQ – Short for the “National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation,” this electronic stock exchange is located in New York City; $6.831 trillion in listed market capitalization.
  3. London Stock Exchange – Located in London, England; $6.187 trillion in listed market capitalization.
  4. Tokyo Stock Exchange – Formally known as the Japan Exchange Group, located in Tokyo, Japan; $4.485 trillion in listed market capitalization.
  1. Shanghai Stock Exchange – Located in Shanghai, China; $3.986 trillion in listed market capitalization.
  2. Hong Kong Stock Exchange – Located in Hong Kong, Hong Kong; $3.325 trillion in listed market capitalization.
  3. Euronext – Located throughout Europe (France, Portugal, The Netherlands, and Belgium); $3.321 trillion in listed market capitalization.
  4. Shenzhen Stock Exchange – Located in Shenzhen, China; $2.285 trillion in listed market capitalization.
  5. TMX Group The Canadian stock exchange is located in Toronto, Canada; $1.939 trillion in market capitalization.
  1. Deutsche Börse – The German stock exchange, located in Frankfurt, Germany; $1.762 trillion in market capitalization.
  2. Bombay Stock Exchange – Located in Mumbai, India; $1.682 trillion in market capitalization.
  3. National Stock Exchange of India – Located in Mumbai, India; $1.642 trillion in market capitalization.
  4. SIX Swiss Exchange – The Zurich stock exchange, located in Zurich, Switzerland; $1.516 trillion in listed market capitalization.
  5. Australian Securities Exchange – Located in Sydney, Australia; $1.516 trillion in listed market capitalization.
  1. Korea Exchange – The South Korean stock exchange located in Seoul, South Korea; $1.251 trillion in listed market capitalization.

What Is the Difference Between a Stock Exchange and a Commodity Exchange?

A stock exchange is where pieces of ownership in businesses (stocks) are bought and sold among investors.  A commodity exchange is where goods that come from the Earth, such as corn, soybeans, cattle, oil, silver, gold, coffee, and pork bellies are bought and sold among parties, frequently not just for investment purposes but for actual use in business operations.



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Sneha is a full-time writer at Nvestweekly and is passionate about Blockchain Technology. Leveraging over three years of experience in media, she covers the daily developments in the crypto ecosystem.

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