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GreekReporter.comBusinessThe NYSE Was Founded Under a Tree on May 17, 1792

The NYSE Was Founded Under a Tree on May 17, 1792

nyse tree founded
Credit: Wikipedia/ Public Domain

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the largest such stock exchange in the world, has quite humble origins.

According to legend, it was founded on May 17, 1792 under a buttonwood tree outside of 68 Wall Street when 24 stockbrokers signed the Buttonwood Agreement.

The Buttonwood Agreement is considered one of America’s most important financial documents, as it served as the basis for the foundation of the NYSE.

In March of 1792, 24 of the most prominent merchants in New York met at the Corre’s Hotel in secret to discuss the potential for regulating the securities business in the city.

The group then met again in May to sign the Buttonwood Agreement, named for the tree under which some believe it was signed, although others argue that the signing couldn’t have occurred under the tree, as there were too many members.

The historic financial document had two important elements, the first being that the brokers could only deal amongst themselves, and the second that commissions were set at 0.25 percent.

The founding of the NYSE and the Buttonwood Agreement

The full text of the document, which is now part of the archives of the NYSE, reads:

“We the Subscribers, Brokers for the Purchase and Sale of the Public Stock, do hereby solemnly promise and pledge ourselves to each other, that we will not buy or sell from this day for any person whatsoever, any kind of Public Stock, at a less rate than one quarter percent Commission on the Specie value and that we will give preference to each other in our Negotiations. In Testimony whereof we have set our hands this 17th day of May at New York, 1792.”

Wall Street has since been transformed into more than just a city street, as its name is synonymous with US finance as a whole.

The street was originally known as “de Waalstraat” in Dutch, as it was part of New Amsterdam. Both a slave marketplace and an office for trading securities during the seventeenth century were located on the street.

It was only during the 19th century that Wall Street became the financial hub of the city, when businesses and banks began to flock to the street after the creation of the NYSE there in the late eighteenth century.

In April, dozens of top-level speakers from Greek and international governments, as well as business and financial communities offered an insightful blueprint of the state of the Greek economy during the “23rd Capital Link Invest in Greece” Forum which was held on Monday at the Metropolitan Club in New York.

Within the context of the Forum, the New York Stock Exchange in cooperation with Capital Link organized a special ceremony in honor of Greece called “Greek American Issuer Day at NYSE.”

To honor the occasion, Dr. Nikolas P. Tsakos, President and CEO of Tsakos Energy Navigation, and Christos Staikouras, Minister of Finance of the Hellenic Republic, rang the opening bell.

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