The NYSE trading floor is located at 11 Wall Street and is composed of four rooms used for the facilitation of trading. A fifth trading room, located at 30 Broad Street, was closed in February 2007. The main building, located at 18 Broad Street, between the corners of Wall Street and Exchange Place, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1978.
On May 17, 1792, twenty-four stockbrokers gathered outside 68
Wall Street under a buttonwood tree to sign an agreement that would establish
the rules for buying and selling bonds and shares of companies. The Buttonwood
Agreement, as it is known, is so named because the tree served as the regular
meeting place for these pioneers of Wall Street. The signers of the Buttonwood
Agreement drafted their first constitution on March 8, 1817, and named their
nascent organization the New York Stock & Exchange Board.
In 1863, this name was
shortened to its modern form, the New York Stock Exchange, which became known
as the NYSE, one of the best-known financial industry brands in the world.
Membership on the NYSE has been held as a valuable property since 1868. Until
the NYSE went both electronic and public in April 2006, the exchange was a
membership-only organization. Members could join the NYSE by purchasing
existing seats, which were limited to 1,366.
Merging with the already publicly
traded Archipelago electronic stock exchange, the new company was called the
NYSE Group, Inc., and the seats of the NYSE translated into shares of publicly
traded stock. In 2008, NYSE Euronext welcomed the historic American Stock
Exchange into the world’s leading equities exchange group. Originally called
the curb market because its brokers traded outdoors in the street,
the Amex has been at the forefront of the U.S. financial markets over the
course of two centuries.