The following column from Jennifer Pagliara, CapWealth Senior Vice President and Financial Advisor, was posted by The Tennessean on May 28, 2018.
You might have already heard the historic news that Stacey Cunningham was named the first female president of the New York Stock Exchange. But in case you haven’t, you might be interested to know that it only took 226 years for a female to be appointed to this position within the organization.
Women in the NYSE
Many credit Muriel Siebert with paving the way for women on Wall Street today. In 1967, she bought her own seat on the NYSE and worked alongside 1,365 men for the next decade.
Cunningham has had her own impressive career within the financial industry. She began as an intern on the exchange in 1994 while still attending college at Lehigh University. After graduating, she become a trader on the floor of the exchange. She took some time off to work in the culinary industry in 2005 but ultimately came back to the NYSE after working for NASDAQ from 2007 to 2012. She was serving as chief operating officer of NYSE Group before being tapped for the new lead position.
Cunningham assumed the role of the 67th president of the NYSE on Friday, May 25, but she doesn’t sit alone at the top of list of the highest-ranking women executives in the finance world. Adena Friedman became NASDAQ CEO in January 2017.
Baltimore-raised, Friedman has spent most of her life and career in the northeast region of the U.S., but she spent some time in Nashville, where she received her MBA from Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management. She started at NASDAQ in 1993 and steadily rose through the company. Like Cunningham, her career veered onto a different path for a couple of years, when she joined the investment firm Carlyle Group as its chief financial officer ahead of its initial public offering, but she returned to NASDAQ in 2014 as president and apparent successor to Robert Greifeld, who had been serving as CEO since 2003. Her accession, therefore, wasn’t a surprise but still a win for women in finance nonetheless.
After accepting their positions, both Cunningham and Friedman spoke about hope for more diversity in the finance world – noting the importance of spreading positive messages to young girls about their careers and showcasing Wall Street as being more inclusive for other women.
The NYSE was founded on May 17, 1792, on Wall Street in NYC when 24 stockbrokers signed the Buttonwood Agreement. At this point, the exchange was focused on government bonds until the early 1800s and overtook Philadelphia to be the financial hub of the U.S. It was officially named the New York Stock & Exchange Board on March 8, 1817, but it was later simplified to the New York Stock Exchange. It has been located at 11 Wall Street since 1865.
Membership of the NYSE was originally set to 533 “seats” in 1868. The term “seats” was coined because members sat in chairs to trade. Holding this seat allowed the owner to directly trade on the exchange. The most expensive seat ever sold was in 1928 for $625,000, which today would be roughly $6 million. Eventually the seats were raised to 1,366 in 1953.
In 2005, NYSE became a for-profit, publicly traded company, and at that time, seat owners were given compensation and shares of the newly formed corporation. Now, one-year licenses are sold to trade directly on the exchange.
Where is NYSE today?
Today, the NYSE is the largest stock exchange in the world by market cap and estimated to be $21.3 trillion as of June 2017. It is open between 9:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. EST Monday through Friday marked by the distinguished bell ringing. It is closed for all federal holidays, and it is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Jennifer Pagliara is a senior vice president and financial adviser with CapWealth, LLC, and a proud member of the Millennial generation. Her column speaks to her peers and anyone else that wants to get ahead financially.