Tom Farley, NYSE Group President
Over the past two years, we’ve been hard at work at the NYSE completing a top-to-bottom renovation of the building to benefit the many and varied people that visit our landmark building. One of the most visible renovations is a complete redesign of the NYSE Bell Podium. For more than 100 years, the iconic NYSE Bell used for our daily Market Open and Market Close ceremonies has been hidden from view, so an important part of the project was to move our bell to a more prominent place in keeping with its historical importance. We referred to the unveiling of our new bell as the “Free the Bell” project.
As we celebrate the start of a new year, and our 225-year history, here are my thoughts on the significance of the NYSE Bell:
1) The NYSE Bell symbolizes free enterprise
The capital markets are an integral part of the birth and development of our global economy. The NYSE is proud of its 225-year history of contributing to that development by helping companies raise capital to fuel innovation, fund growth and create jobs. We consider free enterprise the greatest good the world has ever known. People and companies look to the NYSE to build the future, and there are many examples throughout America’s history from Henry Ford mass-producing the automobile, Alexander Bell revolutionizing communication, to current innovators like Jack Dorsey, Jack Ma, Meg Whitman, Indra Nooyi and hundreds of others that listed with the NYSE to fuel ideas that continue to change the world.
2) Celebrating the history of the NYSE Bell is the perfect way to kick off our 225th anniversary
Our history dates back to the Buttonwood agreement in 1792, when 24 stockbrokers signed the New York Stock Exchange (then called the New York Stock & Exchange Board) into existence under a Buttonwood tree. The first bell, a Chinese gong, was brought to the NYSE floor in the 1870s with the advent of continuous trading. A brass bell later replaced the gong when the current NYSE building at 11 Wall Street opened on April 22, 1903. We still use that same style brass bell today, and as of January 3rd 2017 it’s now showcased proudly from the front of the bell podium. The sound is so iconic that it was later trademarked. And in turbulent and uncertain times, the world takes comfort in the reassuring sound of our bell, such as the first trading day after 9/11 when the NYPD and the NYFD, along with Senator Schumer, then-Senator Hillary Clinton, Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Governor Pataki, rang the NYSE Bell to signal the world’s resilience and determination. As we celebrate our 225th year, the historic NYSE Bell is a symbolic part of our past that we’re excited to take with us into the future.
3) Our new bell podium represents our Trading Floor with the convergence of history and advanced technology
As we take the NYSE into the future, we think it’s only right that we “free the bell” from its spot behind the podium and move it front and center. In addition to relocating the bell, we’ve restored the marble wall and bell podium to its original luster while adding digital displays both on and below the podium. This renovation is symbolic of our 225-year history by combining the historic nature of the NYSE with modern, advanced technology - the same components of our unique, high-tech / high-touch market model. With a robust pipeline of IPOs already slated for 2017, we look forward to welcoming many innovative new companies to the NYSE to experience the unique feeling of ringing the NYSE Bell from our brand new podium at the center of the global financial markets.