Stock Exchanges Timeline
The economic history helps you understand the present much better. For instance, you cannot realize why bank loans are a capitalization method more problematic than the risk capital, for startups, if you don’t know that the Dot Com Bubble and the 2007 Crisis have dramatically harshened the loaning conditions of the banks. Starting from this idea, I have made up a timeline of the setting up and development of stock exchanges. Assets started to be traded as far back as the Roman Empire, but after the Middle Age, economic innovations have precise dates.
- 1460: The First Stock Exchange in the World, in Anvers. It traded mostly bonds, but it was also a meeting place for those who lent money and officials.
- 1602: The First IPO (Initial Public Offering), for the Dutch company of East Indies. It was a megacorporation avant la lettre, specialized in maritime trading and transports with the East and Africa, an organization which also had military power.
- 1801: London Stock Exchange – LSE. The first share offering occurred there in 1825. Also at that time, there is recorded the occurrence of some abstract deeds, which made successive transfers possible, after for a long time practice had only allowed specific agreements between traders who had known each other.
- 1817: New York Stock Exchange, based on the model of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, the first one founded in the USA. NYSE has been operated in the current building since 1865. The London and New York stock exchanges became in the first part of XIX century the main pillars of the international financial system. Currently, the New York Stock Exchange is the most powerful in the world, with a total capitalization of over $ 19 trillion and the NYSE composite index is considered the most relevant in the world, thanks to the quality of the companies considered and the huge volume of deals.
- 1878: Tokyo Stock Exchange, the core of what would become in 2013 Japan Exchange Group, further to successive mergers, of which the last one being with the Osaka Stock Exchange. The unofficial name is still the Tokyo Stock Exchange. It is worth mentioning the late date of founding, started in 1850, which is related with the accelerated modernization of the Nippon Empire. The Tokyo Stock Exchange, is the fourth most powerful in the world after New York, NASDAQ and London.
- 1891: Hong Kong Stock Exchange, operational under this name since 1914, after it had been founded in 1891 under the name of Association of Stockbrokers in Hong Kong, against the background of the prosperity related to the statute of enclave of the British Empire. The reputation of global financial center has remained unchanged after the transfer of sovereignty from the UK to China in 1997. Besides the volume of deals, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange distinguishes itself by a high number of IPO.
- 1929: The Crash on Wall Street. The most severe crisis in recent history started because of an excess of speculation of the assets. Due to the prosperity of the twenties, most stocks and other values were constantly appreciating, up to prices that proved unsustainable.
- 1971: NASDAQ, the first electronic stock exchange (National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations). After launching, it has made its brokers unhappy as a result of the decrease in the margin between demand and supply, triggered by the electronic trading. The same decrease, however, has made the market more dynamic, because it has been in favor of the investors.
- 1990: Shanghai Stock Exchange. With a tradition going back to mid XIX century, the fifth most powerful stock exchange in the world ceased operations after the instatement of communism in China.
- 2000: Euronext, a pan-European stock exchange, created by the mergers of the stock exchanges in Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris, with operations in the three cities and in London, Lisbon and Dublin. After a complicated history of mergers and acquisitions, it has become the second most important stock exchange in Europe, after the one in London. It has a creative strategy, which encourages the financing of small and medium size companies, by operations called Alternext and Enternext.
It used to be the case that one would have some money, and they would go to an advisor who would then, in turn, research different markets and make a recommendation. That person would charge their client a fee for managing the money and a success fee should the placement of funds generate a profit. While the former would vary from, generally, 0.5% to 2% (with the rule being that you pay less when you place more money), the latter could go to up to 20% of your profits. And while, in the old days, one would pay for the work the advisor does behind the scenes to research and get top-notch information in a market, the alternatives nowadays no longer justify paying such high prices to place one’s money. The advisor is slowly being replaced by a user’s own research, online investment management companies, or even Artificial Intelligence.
The price for investing your money has also gone dramatically down, with the rise of more and more digital companies using advanced software to analyse data and generate attractive portfolios.
Stock market investments are also an attractive alternative. However, without experience in the field or a fee-hungry advisor, this can prove to be a problematic choice. The issue is two-fold: on the one side, picking the stocks to “bet” on can be extremely difficult, as it takes serious market research to identify the potential long-term champions; and then, of course, there is the approach that some companies might skyrocket when they are launching new products or tapping into a new market. However, this comes with significant risk, as overnight success is rare, and massive failures have been generating headlines since before we can remember.
One could think that actively investing one's own money is a bold move, but the old-fashioned “keep your money in the bank” option is now a money-losing option.
It’s been 12 years since the modern financial sector started to show its weaknesses, and 11 since the sequence of events that started with Lehman Brothers collapsing nearly destroyed the world economy. The new reality is one of lack of trust in the banks from the younger generation, and of negative interest rates. Yes, in many countries it actually costs you money to have banks take your placements.
As such, it is no wonder that it actually makes sense to find alternative ways to protect and expand one’s wealth. However, there is one significant risk that one should always consider: while not being tied to big institutions such as banks is what has made these alternatives attractive to younger generations in the first place, the downside to that is that, if anything were to happen to them, they will not have an entity behind them to bail them out, which poses an increased risk to customers. As such, research and caution are highly desirable.
Over the last 2-3 years, the shared economy model, championed by the likes of Uber, has been adopted in more and more industries, including the financial one.
More and more platforms are offering the option for people to create portfolios using small amounts of money, relying on the power of the crowd to create strength when put together.
So, here are a few of the options that are out there, and a bit on how they work:
- FinTech is always an exciting field. Have a look at players such as Robinhood and Sofi.com, which offer lending, mortgages and investment to categories of people who would not always qualify for support from a traditional bank.
- Peer-to-peer lending (P2P) uses marketplaces or platforms to match borrowers (people) lenders (also people) - see Mintos, Grupeer, Peerberry, Lendermarket. Those interested can “buy” a share of a loan on the platforms.
- Startups: new and exciting startups are in the news almost daily. Two of the ones that have piqued my interest are forgeglobal.com, seedrs.com. If you have a more serious amount of money to invest, getting “in on the action” at ground level can be incredibly rewarding, both in terms of supporting an entrepreneur who’s just starting out, as well as potentially getting a significant return for your investment. But, as with everything, make sure you do your due diligence and ample research in the space you are about to invest in.
- If you want to go industry-specific, there are now marketplaces for investments in real estate. Don’t have enough money to buy and flip a piece of real estate? That’s okay. You can pair up with other investors, crowdfund and get involved that way. Crowd Estate, for example, promises 17% annual returns.
Please note that I am an investor in some of the companies I have mentioned in this article. This article is not meant to provide investment advice, it is merely an investor’s perspective on alternative investments available. Capital at risk.
If you’re a startup or scale up founder, or if you are working up to launching your idea, events can be useful to see how others do or dit it. It’s useful to see what worked and what didn’t for successful entrepreneurs, how they think, their approach to business.
It can take a lot of time and energy to attend business events, and the gains aren’t always immediate, but success doesn’t happen in isolation – entrepreneurs need a certain vibe and energy to keep going, they need networks, need to be connected to their markets, their competitors and their peers.
I go to a few events every year, and I choose those where I am likely to see new ideas put into action, meet smart people and explore different sectors. I do focus on my key areas (property, fintech and medtech), but I keep my eyes open for what’s going on outside of there areas too. So here is what’s on my list currently.
- Central European Startup Awards – happening this week in Bucharest!
Conflicting agendas mean that unfortunately I’m not going, but I’ll follow it with interest.
This is a regional program run by the Global Startup Awards. In Romania they’ve partnered with Impact Hub, one of the biggest co-working spaces and entrepreneur networking platforms. Annually, they select and award startups in tech / web industries. After the national phase of Central European Startup Awards competition, the winners of each of the 10 countries (Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary) participate in a regional competition, whose winners are announced on November 21st in Bucharest.
2. Disrupt Berlin – 11-12 December, Berlin, Germany
Organised by TechCrunch, Disrupt Berlin showcases emerging trends in the business of technology and is a great place to meet or find information about game-changing founders, startups and technologies.
There are a multitude of conferences, workshops, networking opportunities and companies from all aspects of tech, but focused in on several category tracks. I'm looking this year at Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, BioTech/HealthTech, Blockchain and FinTech, but there are a few others.
3. Bucharest Tech Week – May 2020, Bucharest, Romania
5 days of conferences hosting international & local speakers, and a B2C gadgets and tech expo. Conferences are focused on innovation (seems to be an umbrella theme, which can fit anything these days though), HR, some coding conferences but also Fintech.
4. Wearable Europe - 13 - 14 May 2020, Berlin, Germany
Conference and exhibition focusing on wearable technologies, applications, and their commercialisation progress. The conference is part of the IDTechEx Show, a series of synergistic events on Printed Electronics, wearable, sensors, IoT, graphene & 2D materials, energy storage, electric vehicles.
5. EU-Startups Summit – 28-29 May, Barcelona, Spain
Some of Europe’s hottest startups and successful European entrepreneurs - over 1,500 founders, startup enthusiasts, corporates, angel investors, VCs, and media from across Europe. The two-day event is a great opportunity for networking, and a meeting point for aspiring entrepreneurs and investors who are aiming to build international tech companies.
6. London Tech Week - 8-12 June 2020, London, UK
A 5 day technology and innovation marathon, with events on connecting global markets, cybersecurity, digital transformation and innovation, for startups and scaleups.
7. Webit Festival Europe - 17-20 June 2020, Valencia, Spain
A huge event, Webit is a B2B and B2C festival and tech fiesta: 15.000 delegates, 450 speakers, 1,500 selected startups, 500 investors, international media.
With specialised summits for many verticals, I particularly am interested in the summits for health, fintech and blockchain. Other summits focus on cybersecurity, mobility, growth, future of food, or digital entertainment & media.
8. Techsylvania – 20-23 June 2020, Cluj, Romania
One of the biggest tech events in CEE, Techsylvania has tens of events, workshops, keynote speakers and panels. It can be very informative and great for networking and for benchmarking ideas, because it has almost 4.000 attendees - engineers, founders, investors, executives and CEOs of IT & digital companies, banks and startups.
There is a startup competition at Techsylvania too, Startup Avalanche, for early-stage startups, which get to meet international VCs and investors as they compete for the Grand Prize – €100,000 investment.