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What is Stock Exchange?

Meaning

Stock Exchange (also called Stock Market or Share Market) is one important constituent of capital market. Stock Exchange is an organized market for the purchase and sale of industrial and financial security. It is convenient place where trading in securities is conducted in systematic manner i.e. as per certain rules and regulations. It performs various functions and offers useful services to investors and borrowing companies. It is an investment intermediary and facilitates economic and industrial development of a country. Stock exchange is an organized market for buying and selling corporate and other securities. Here, securities are purchased and sold out as per certain well-defined rules and regulations. It provides a convenient and secured mechanism or platform for transactions in different securities. Such securities include shares and debentures issued by public companies which are duly listed at the stock exchange, and bonds and debentures issued by government, public corporations and municipal and port trust bodies. Stock exchanges are indispensable for the smooth and orderly functioning of corporate sector in a free market economy. A stock exchange need not be treated as a place for speculation or a gambling den. It should act as a place for safe and profitable investment, for this, effective control on the working of stock exchange is necessary. This will avoid misuse of this platform for excessive speculation, scams and other undesirable and anti-social activities. London stock exchange (LSE) is the oldest stock exchange in the world. While Bombay stock exchange (BSE) is the oldest in India. Similar Stock exchanges exist and operate in large majority of countries of the world.

Definitions of Stock Exchange

According to Husband and Dockerary, "Stock exchanges are privately organized markets which are used to facilitate trading in securities." The Indian Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act of 1956, defines Stock Exchange as, "An association, organization or body of individuals, whether incorporated or not, established for the purpose of assisting, regulating and controlling business in buying, selling and dealing in securities." Features of Stock Exchange

Characteristics or features of stock exchange are:1. Market for securities : Stock exchange is a market, where securities of corporate bodies, government and semi-government bodies are bought and sold. 2. Deals in second hand securities : It deals with shares, debentures bonds and such securities already issued by the companies. In short it deals with existing or second hand securities and hence it is called secondary market. 3. Regulates trade in securities : Stock exchange does not buy or sell any securities on its own account. It merely provides the necessary infrastructure and facilities for trade in securities to its members and brokers who trade in securities. It regulates the trade activities so as to ensure free and fair trade 4. Allows dealings only in listed securities : In fact, stock exchanges maintain an official list of securities that could be purchased and sold on its floor. Securities which do not figure in the official list of stock exchangeare called unlisted securities. Such unlisted securities cannot be traded in the stock exchange. 5. Transactions effected only through members : All the transactions in securities at the stock exchange are effected only through its authorised brokers and members. Outsiders or direct investors are not allowed to enter in the trading circles of the stock exchange. Investors have to buy or sell the securities at the stock exchange through the authorised brokers only.

6. Association of persons : A stock exchange is an association of persons or body of individuals which may be registered or unregistered. 7. Recognition from Central Government : Stock exchange is an organised market. It requires recognition from the Central Government. 8. Working as per rules : Buying and selling transactions in securities at the stock exchange are governed by the rules and regulations of stock exchange as well as SEBI Guidelines. No deviation from the rules and guidelines is allowed in any case. 9. Specific location : Stock exchange is a particular market place where authorised brokers come together daily (i.e. on working days) on the floor of market called trading circles and conduct trading activities. The prices of different securities traded are shown on electronic boards. After the working hours market is closed. All the working of stock exchanges is conducted and controlled through computers and electronic system. 10.Financial Barometers : Stock exchanges are the financial barometers and development indicators of national economy of the country. Industrial growth and stability is reflected in the index of stock exchange. Functions of Stock Exchange - Main Functions In The Market 1. Continuous and ready market for securities

Stock exchange provides a ready and continuous market for purchase and sale of securities. It provides ready outlet for buying and selling of securities. Stock exchange also acts as an outlet/counter for the sale of listed securities.

2. Facilitates evaluation of securities

Stock exchange is useful for the evaluation of industrial securities. This enables investors to know the true worth of their holdings at any time. Comparison of companies in the same industry is possible through stock exchange quotations (i.e price list).

3. Encourages capital formation

Stock exchange accelerates the process of capital formation. It creates the habit of saving, investing and risk taking among the investing class and converts their savings into profitable investment. It acts as an instrument of capital formation. In addition, it also acts as a channel for right (safe and profitable) investment.

4. Provides safety and security in dealings

Stock exchange provides safety, security and equity (justice) in dealings as transactions are conducted as per well defined rules and regulations. The managing body of the exchange keeps control on the members. Fraudulent practices are also checked effectively. Due to various rules and regulations, stock exchange functions as the custodian of funds of genuine investors.

5. Regulates company management

Listed companies have to comply with rules and regulations of concerned stock exchange and work under the vigilance (i.e supervision) of stock exchange authorities.

6. Facilitates public borrowing

Stock exchange serves as a platform for marketing Government securities. It enables government to raise public debt easily and quickly.

7. Provides clearing house facility

Stock exchange provides a clearing house facility to members. It settles the transactions among the members quickly and with ease. The members have to pay or receive only the net dues (balance amounts) because of the clearing house facility.

8. Facilitates healthy speculation

Healthy speculation, keeps the exchange active. Normal speculation is not dangerous but provides more business to the exchange. However, excessive speculation is undesirable as it is dangerous to investors & the growth of corporate sector.

9. Serves as Economic Barometer

Stock exchange indicates the state of health of companies and the national economy. It acts as a barometer of the economic situation / conditions.

10. Facilitates Bank Lending

Banks easily know the prices of quoted securities. They offer loans to customers against corporate securities. This gives convenience to the owners of securities.

Services given by Stock Exchange to Investors 1. Provides liquidity to investement : Stock exchange provides liquidity (i.e easy convertibility to cash) to investment in securities. An investor can sell his securities at any time because of the ready market provided by the stock exchange. Stock exchange provides easy marketability to corporate securities. 2. Provides collateral value to securities : Stock exchange provides better value to securities as collateral for a loan. This facilitates borrowing from a bank against securities on easy terms. 3. Offers opportunity to participate in the industrial growth : Stock exchange provides capital for industrial growth. It enables an investor to participate in the industrial development of the country. 4. Estimates the worth of securities : Stock exchange provides the facility of knowing the worth (i.e true market value) of investment due to quotations (i.e price list) and reports published regularly by the exchange. This type of information guides investors as regards their future investments. They can purchase or sell securities as per the price trends (i.e latest price value) in the market. 5. Offers safety in corporate investment : An investor can invest his surplus money (i.e extra money) in the listed securities with reasonable safety. The risk in such investment is reduced considerably due to the supervision of stock exchange authorities on listed companies. Moreover, securities are listed only when the exchange authorities are satisfied as regards legality and solvency of company concerned. Such scrutiny (detailed checking) avoids listing, of securities of unsound companies (i.e companies with bad financial status).

Services given by Stock Exchange to Companies ↓

1. Widens market for securities : Stock exchange widens the market for the listed securities and enables the companies to collect capital for promotion, expansion and modernization purpose. It indirectly provides financial support to companies / corporations. 2. Creates goodwill and reputation : Stock exchange enhances the goodwill and the reputation of the companies whose securities are listed. Listing acts as a charater certificate given to a company. It gives prestigious position to company. 3. Facilitates fair pricing of listed securities : The market price of listed securities tends to be slightly higher in relation to earnings and property values. 4. Provides better response from investors : Listed securities get better response from the investor due to safety and security. Listing of securities is a unique service which stock exchanges offer to companies. It is a moral support given to stable companies. 5. Facilitates quick selling of securities : Stock exchange enables companies to sell their securities easily and quickly. This is natural as investors always prefer to invest money in listed securities. Service given by Stock Exchange to Economy ↓

1. Brings economic development : Stock exchanges brings rapid economic development through mobilization of funds for productive purposes. This facilitates the process of economic growth.

Various Stock Exchanges In India - BSE, NSE and OTCEI 1. Bombay Stock Exchange BSE

BSE is the leading and the oldest stock exchange in India as well as in Asia. It was established in 1887 with the formation of "The Native Share and StockBrokers' Association". BSE is a very active stock exchange with highest number of listed securities in India. Nearly 70% to 80% of all transactions in the India are done alone in BSE. Companies traded on BSE were 3,049 by March, 2006. BSE is now a national stock exchange as the BSE has started allowing its members to set-up computer terminals outside the city of Mumbai (former Bombay). It is the only stock exchange in India which is given permanent recognition by the government. At present, (Since 1980) BSE is located in the "Phiroze Jeejeebhoy Towers" (28 storey building) located at Dalal Street, Fort, Mumbai. Pin code 400021. In 2005, BSE was given the status of a full fledged public limited company along with a new name as "Bombay Stock Exchange Limited". The BSE has computerized its trading system by introducing BOLT (Bombay On Line Trading) since March 1995. BSE is operating BOLT at 275 cities with 5 lakh (0.5 million) traders a day. Average daily turnover of BSE is near Rs. 200 crores. 2. National Stock Exchange NSE

Formation of National Stock Exchange of India Limited (NSE) in 1992 is one important development in the Indian capital market. The need was felt by the industry and investing community since 1991. The NSE is slowly becoming the leading stock exchange in terms of technology, systems and practices in due course of time. NSE is the largest and most modern stock exchange in India. In addition, it is the third largest exchange in the world next to two exchanges operating in the USA.

The NSE boasts of screen based trading system. In the NSE, the available system provides complete market transparency of trading operations to both trading members and the participates and finds a suitable match. The NSE does not have trading floors as in conventional stock exchanges. The tradingis entirely screen based with automated order machine. The screen provides entire market information at the press of a button. At the same time, the system provides for concealment of the identify of market operations. The screen gives all information which is dynamically updated. As the market participants sit in their own offices, they have all the advantages of back office support, and facility to get in touch with their constituents. 1. Wholesale debt market segment, 2. Capital market segment, and 3. Futures & options trading. 3. Over The Counter Exchange of India OTCEI

The OTCEI was incorporated in October, 1990 as a Company under the Companies Act 1956. It became fully operational in 1992 with opening of a counter at Mumbai. It is recognised by the Government of India as a recognised stock exchange under the Securities Control and Regulation Act 1956. It was promoted jointly by the financial institutions like UTI, ICICI, IDBI, LIC, GIC, SBI, IFCI, etc The Features of OTCEI are :1. OTCEI is a floorless exchange where all the activities are fullycomputerised. 2. Its promoters have been designated as sponsor members and they alone are entitled to sponsor a company for listing there.

3. Trading on the OTCEI takes place through a network of computers or OTC dealers located at different places within the same city and even across the cities. These computers allow dealers to quote, query & transact through a central OTC computer using the telecommunication links. 4. A Company which is listed on any other recognised stock exchange in India is not permitted simultaneously for listing on OTCEI. 5. OTCEI deals in equity shares, preference shares, bonds, debentures and warrants. 6. The Participants of OTCEI are :1. Members and dealers appointed by OTCEI, 2. Companies whose securities are listed, 3. Investors who trade in the OTCEI, 4. Registrar who keeps custody of scrip certificates, 5. Settlement Bank which clears the payment between counters, and 6. SEBI and Government who supervise and regulate the working. Role of Stock Exchanges In Capital Market of India

Stock Exchanges play a crucial role in the consolidation of a national economy in general and in the development of industrial sector in particular. It is the most dynamic and organised component of capital market. Especially, in developing countries like India, the stock exchanges play a cardinal role in promoting the level of capital formation through effective mobilisation of savings and ensuring investment safety. Lets study the role of stock exchanges in capital market of India :-

1. Effective Mobilisation of savings

Stock exchanges provide organised market for an individual as well as institutional investors. They regulate the trading transactions with proper rules and regulations in order to ensure investor's protection. This helps to consolidate the confidence of investors and small savers. Thus, stock exchanges attract small savings especially of large number of investors in the capital market.

2. Promoting Capital formation

The funds mobilised through capital market are provided to the industries engaged in the production of various goods and services useful for the society. This leads to capital formation and development of national assets. The savings mobilised are channelised into appropriate avenues of investment.

3. Wider Avenues of investment

Stock exchanges provide a wider avenue for the investment to the people and organisations with investible surplus. Companies from diverse industries like Information Technology, Steel, Chemicals, Fuels and Petroleum, Cement, Fertilizers, etc. offer various kinds of equity and debt securities to the investors. Online trading facility has brought the stock exchange at the doorsteps of investors through computer network. Diverse type of securities is made available in the stock exchanges to suit the varying objectives and notions of different classes of investor. Necessary information from stock exchanges available from different sources guides the investors in theeffective management of their investment portfolios.

4. Liquidity of investment

Stock exchanges provide liquidity of investment to the investors. Investors can sell out any of their investments in securities at any time during trading days and trading hours on stock exchanges. Thus, stock exchanges provide liquidity of investment. The on-line trading and online settlement of demat securities facilitates the investors to sellout their investments and realise the proceeds within a day or two. Even investors can switch over their investment from one security to another according to the changing scenario of capital market.

5. Investment priorities

Stock exchanges facilitate the investors to decide his investment priorities by providing him the basket of different kinds of securities of different industries and companies. He can sell stock of one company and buy a stock of another company through stock exchange whenever he wants. He can manage hisinvestment portfolio to maximise his wealth.

6. Investment safety

Stock exchanges through their by-laws, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) guidelines, transparent procedures try to provide safety to the investment in industrial securities. Government has established the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Over The Counter Exchange of India (OTCEI) for investors' safety. Exchange authorities try to curb speculative practices and minimise the risk for common investor to preserve his confidence.

7. Wide Marketability to Securities

Online price quoting system and online buying and selling facility have changed the nature and working of stock exchanges. Formerly, the dealingson stock exchanges were restricted to its head quarters. The investors across the country were absolutely in dark about the price fluctuations on stockexchanges due to the lack of information. But today due to Internet, on line quoting facility is available at the computers of investors. As a result, they can keep track of price fluctuations taking place on stock exchange every second during the working hours. Certain T.V. Channels like CNBC are fully devoted to stock market information and corporate news. Even other channels display the on line quoting of stocks. Thus, modern stock exchanges backed up by internet and information technology provide wide marketability to securities of the industries. Demat facility has revolutionised the procedure of transfer of securities and facilitated marketing.

8. Financial resources for public and private sectors

Stock Exchanges make available the financial resources available to the industries in public and private sector through various kinds of securities. Due to the assurance of liquidity, marketing support, investment safety assured through stock exchanges, the public issues of securities by these industries receive strong public response (resulting in oversubscription of issue).

9. Funds for Development Purpose

Stock exchanges enable the government to mobilise the funds for public utilities and public undertakings which take up the developmental activities like power projects, shipping, railways, telecommunication, dams & roads constructions, etc. Stock exchanges provide liquidity, marketability, price continuity and constant evaluation of government securities.

10. Indicator of Industrial Development

Stock exchanges are the symbolic indicators of industrial development of a nation. Productivity, efficiency, economic-status, prospects of each industry and every unit in an industry is reflected through the price fluctuation of industrial securities on stock exchanges. Stock exchange sensex and price fluctuations of securities of various companies tell the entire story of changes in industrial sector.

11. Barometer of National Economy

Stock exchange is taken as a Barometer of the economy of a country. Each economy is economically symbolized (indicators) by its most significant stock exchange. New York Stock Exchange, London Stock Exchange, Tokyo Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange are considered as barometers of U.S.A, United Kingdom, Japan and India respectively. At both national and international level these stock exchanges represent the progress and conditions of their economies.

Thus, stock exchange serves the nation in several ways through its diversified economic services which include imparting liquidity to investments, providing marketability, enabling evaluation and ensuring price continuity of securities.

Role Functions of SEBI in Monitoring the Stock Exchange What is SEBI?

Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is an apex body for overall development and regulation of the securities market. It was set up on April 12,1988. To start with, SEBI was set up as a non-statutory body. Later on it became a statutory body under the Securities Exchange Board of India Act, 1992. The Act entrusted SEBI with comprehensive powers over practically all the aspects of capital market operations. Role Functions of SEBI

The role or functions of SEBI are discussed below. 1. To protect the interests of investors through proper education and guidance as regards their investment in securities. For this, SEBI has made rules and regulation to be followed by the financial intermediariessuch as brokers, etc. SEBI looks after the complaints received from investors for fair settlement. It also issues booklets for the guidance and protection of small investors. 2. To regulate and control the business on stock exchanges and other security markets. For this, SEBI keeps supervision on brokers.Registration of brokers and sub-brokers is made compulsory and they are expected to follow certain rules and regulations. Effective control is also maintained by SEBI on the working of stock exchanges. 3. To make registration and to regulate the functioning of intermediaries such as stock brokers, sub-brokers, share transfer agents, merchant bankers and other intermediaries operating on the securities market. In addition, to provide suitable training to intermediaries. This function is useful for healthy atmosphere on the stock exchange and for the protection of small investors.

4. To register and regulate the working of mutual funds including UTI (Unit Trust of India). SEBI has made rules and regulations to be followed bymutual funds. The purpose is to maintain effective supervision on their operations & avoid their unfair and anti-investor activities. 5. To promote self-regulatory organization of intermediaries. SEBI is given wide statutory powers. However, self-regulation is better than external regulation. Here, the function of SEBI is to encourage intermediaries to form their professional associations and control undesirable activities of their members. SEBI can also use its powers when required for protection of small investors. 6. To regulate mergers, takeovers and acquisitions of companies in order to protect the interest of investors. For this, SEBI has issued suitable guidelines so that such mergers and takeovers will not be at the cost of small investors. 7. To prohibit fraudulent and unfair practices of intermediaries operating on securities markets. SEBI is not for interfering in the normal working of these intermediaries. Its function is to regulate and control their objectional practices which may harm the investors and healthy growth of capital market. 8. To issue guidelines to companies regarding capital issues. Separate guidelines are prepared for first public issue of new companies, for public issue by existing listed companies and for first public issue by existingprivate companies. SEBI is expected to conduct research and publish information useful to all market players (i.e. all buyers and sellers). 9. To conduct inspection, inquiries & audits of stock exchanges, intermediaries and self-regulating organizations and to take suitable remedial measures wherever necessary. This function is undertaken for orderly working of stock exchanges & intermediaries. 10.To restrict insider trading activity through suitable measures. This function is useful for avoiding undesirable activities of brokers and securities scams.