A stock exchange is the market place for the purchase and sale of second hand securities. It provides "trading" facilities for stock brokers and traders, to trade shares of the listed companies and other financial instruments such as Term Finance Certificates and Derivatives. Stock exchanges also provide facilities for the issue (listing), redemption (delisting) of securities and other capital events including the payment of income and dividends. It is a key institution for smooth functioning and steady growth of the corporate sector and can be seen as a key to the economic life of a nation. Stock exchange is the home of the capital and pivot of the money market, providing proper mobility for capital. The securities of joint-stock companies, government securities and securities issued by semi-government organization are dealt with on a stock exchange. History of Stock Exchange
The history of stock exchanges can be traced to 12th century France, when the first brokers (the role of an individual or a firm when it acts as an agent for a customer and charges the customer a commission for its services) are believed to have developed, trading in debt and government securities. Unofficial share markets existed across Europe through the 1600s, where brokers would meet outside or in coffee houses to make trades. The Amsterdam Stock Exchange, created in 1602, became the first official stock exchange when it began trading shares of the Dutch East India Company. These were the first company shares ever issued. By the early 1700s there were fully operational stock exchanges in France and England, and America followed in the later part of the century. Share exchanges became an important way for companies to raise capital for investment, while also offering investors the opportunity to share in company profits. The early days of the stock exchange experienced many scandals and share crashes, as there was little to no regulation and almost anyone was allowed to participate in the exchange. Today, stock exchanges operate around the world, and they have become highly regulated institutions. Investors wanting to buy and sell shares must do so through a share broker, who pays to own a seat on the exchange. Companies with shares traded on an exchange are said to be 'listed' and they must meet specific criteria, which varies across exchanges. Most stock exchanges began as floor exchanges, where traders made deals face-to-face. The largest stock exchange in the world, the New York Stock Exchange, continues to operate this way, but most of the world's exchanges have now become fully electronic.
Functions of Stock Market
❖ Ready Market
Stock exchange is a continuous market for the resale of existing securities. It is a centre where buyers and sellers assemble to deal in securities at any time during the business hours. It enables investors to realize quickly their shares and debentures. This facility encourages people to invest in business enterprise by means of buying industrial securities. It helps new investors to obtain securities at any time at market price. ❖ Protection to investors
Protection of the interest of the investors is another function of stock exchange. This it does by ensuring safety and fair dealing to the average investors through strict enforcement of its rules and regulations. Without the cover of a stock exchange there may be unfair competition between different brokers. The investors may be deceived by clever and dishonest brokers. In a stock exchange any malpractice by a broker carries a severe penalty. ❖ Profitable use of funds
Another major function of the stock exchange is the mobilization of surplus funds of individuals firms and companies for investment in industrial securities. Without the stock exchange, these funds would have remained idle. It directs the surplus funds into the most profitable channel and thereby secures their effective utilization. People invest their...