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What is the Pacific Exchange?

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  • Written By: M. McGee
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 27 August 2016
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The Pacific Stock Exchange was a financial trading house located in San Francisco, California, in the US. The exchange began in 1882 when it was founded under the name San Francisco Stock and Bond Exchange, and it existed as a regional exchange. Even though the Pacific Exchange is kept as a separate entity from the New York Stock Exchange, of which it is now a part, the exchange deals in electronic trades only.

A financial trading house is a place that sells stock, bonds and other securities. Many of the original houses in the US started as private companies. Their private status often continued well into the 20th century. The Pacific Exchange began as a mutual company, a single company owed by select members, but went public in 1999.

Through most of its existence, the Pacific Exchange operated as a regional exchange house. The main trading platform for the US is in New York City. The New York Stock Exchange has certain benefits that other trading areas do not have, in addition to being significantly larger. To keep the areas separate in the minds of investors, the other trading houses are referred to as regional. While there used to be many regional houses in the US, there are now just a handful.

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After its demutualization in 1999, the Pacific Exchange began to go through significant changes. The first major alteration was the closing of its open trading floor in Los Angeles in 2001. In 2002, the Pacific Exchange closed the floor in San Francisco. Many historians and stock brokers heralded the closing of both trading floors as the end of an era. The Pacific Stock Exchange sold off the majority of its property holdings in favor of office-based and electronic trading.

The last massive change came in 2006 when the New York Stock Exchange bought the remaining holdings and majority control of the Pacific Exchange. While they kept the Pacific Exchange name around as a separate financial entity, the actual company no longer exists. It was completely subsumed into the New York Stock Exchange.

This shift actually changed people’s operations very little. The physical buildings were already gone, so the actual appearance of the company was the same. Since most exchanges were done over a computer, all that changed for many brokers was the program used to issue trades.

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