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History of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange

When it comes to stock markets, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) stands out as the most popular and developed exchange in the world. Piggy is also fascinated about how the market has evolved over the years. It is interesting to note that before there was a place called the stock market, buyers and sellers had to meet in the street. Sometime around 1790, they met every weekday under a buttonwood tree in New York. It just happened that the name of the street where all this took place was Wall Street. (The buttonwood tree was at 68 Wall Street);

Security Traders meeting under a buttonwood tree on Wall Street

Source: Bettmann Archive

News about trading activity spread quickly and a lot of people heard what was happening on Wall Street and wanted to be part of the action. On some days, as many as 100 shares of stock were exchanged. The Buttonwood Agreement, as it was called, was signed in 1792. This was the humble beginning of the New York Stock Exchange. It was not long before brokers and merchants moved their offices to a Wall Street coffee shop. Eventually, they moved indoors permanently to the New York Stock Exchange Building on Wall Street. Even after over 200 years, the name Wall Street is a symbol for the U.S. stock exchanges and the financial institutions that do business with them, no matter what their physical location. Wall Street is more of a convenient way of talking about anyone or anything connected to financial markets in the United States of America.

What of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange?

Just like the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) also has a fascinating history that dates to 1896. It is worth noting that the first stock exchange in Zimbabwe opened shortly after the arrival of the Pioneer Column in Bulawayo in 1896. However, it only operated for about six years. Other stock exchanges were established in Gweru and Mutare. The Mutare Exchange, also opened in 1896, thrived on the success of local mining, but with the realization that deposits in the area were not extensive, activity declined and it closed in 1924. After World War II, a new exchange was founded in Bulawayo by Alfred Mulock Bentley and dealing started in January 1946.

A second floor was opened in Salisbury (Harare) in December 1951 and trading between the two centres took place by telephone. Traders continued working by telephone until it was decided that legislation should be enacted to govern the rights and obligations of the members of the exchange and the general investing public.

The Rhodesia Stock Exchange Act reached the statute book in January 1974. The members of the exchange continued to trade as before and for legal reasons it became necessary to create a new exchange coincidental with the passing of the legislation. The exchange dates from the passing of the act in 1974 and is operated and regulated in accordance with the act and its amendments, including 1996’s Zimbabwe Stock Exchange Act: Chapter 24:18. On achieving independence from Britain in 1980, the exchange changed its name from the Rhodesia to the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.

Edwards & Co – one of the first Stockbrokers in Zimbabwe

For a detailed account of the history of the ZSE, go through page 11 -23 of the Investment 101 handbook. Download a Copy of the Investor 101 Handbook below;

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