4.6 The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE)

Hanumant Dhokle


The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) was established in 1875 as The Native Share and Stockbrokers Association and has evolved over the decades into its present status as the premier stock exchange in India. It is one of the oldest in Asia having preceded even the Tokyo Stock Exchange which was founded in 1878. In the early days, the business was conducted under the shade of a banyan tree in front of the town hall. The tree can still be seen at the Horniman Circle Park. In 1850, the Companies Act was passed and that heralded the commencement of the joint stock companies in India. The American Civil War of 1860 helped the Indians establish brokerage houses in Bombay.

In 1995 the operations and dealings of the BSE were fully computerised and thus the famous out-cry system of share trading was replaced by screen-based trading as in other modern stock exchanges around the world. Today Bombay is the financial and business capital of India. The BSE is housed in the 28-storied Phiroze Jeejeebhoy Towers in the same place where the old building once stood. Sir Phiroze Jamshedji Jeejeebhoy was the chairman of the BSE from 1966 till his death in 1980. The building has been named after him since its construction commenced during his chairmanship and was completed just as he passed away.

BSE is the biggest stock exchange in the world in terms of the number of companies listed and the oldest stock exchange not only in India but also in Asia, which has made it a benchmark stock exchange for India. Now BSE offers BSE Online Trading (BOLT)-based trading through its brokers across the country. Till recently it was owned by the members of the exchange in the form of mutual ownership and now it is a corporate body through the process of demutualisation.

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