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Bombay Stock Exchange – Profile, History and Functionality

Bombay Stock Exchange – Origins

Bombay Stock Exchange, originally named as “The Native Share & Stock Brokers’ Association”, was established in 1875. This makes BSE the oldest stock exchange in the Asian economic region. It is also the biggest South Asian stock exchange in terms of market capitalization (NSE is the second largest!), and the 11th largest on a global level (August 2009). When the government passed the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act in 1956, the BSE was the first stock exchange in India to be recognized under the Act. Originally mooted as an AOP (Association of Persons), BSE was demutualised and corporatized in  2005, and now functions as a company.

Bombay Stock Exchange Logo

BSE Logo

The BSE is a potent symbolism of the Indian capitalist economy, and is an important landmark in the financial domain. Till the National Stock Exchange was found in 1992, the BSE continued to be the center of the Indian corporate world. Its traditional “open outcry” system of trading, with a milling crowd of brokers jostling with each other to make deals, inspired many an aspiring entrepreneur.

Over the years, BSE has been pivotal in providing the Indian business in that most vital of resources – Capital. Every Indian corporate worth its salt has tapped the Indian capital market through the exchange, and every major company ha its shares listed on the BSE. A listing on the BSE was considered as the ‘holy grail’ in the Indian corporate and business world. BSE lost a substantial amount of reputation after the securities scam perpetrated by Harshad Mehta, and various scams in the following years have continued to pound its goodwill. Yet, the BSE continues to move from strength to strength, and continues to be the flagship of the Indian capital markets. The location of BSE – Dalal Street – has become the Indian equivalent of Wall Street.

Bombay Stock Exchange

Bombay Stock Exchange Building

BSE – Functionality and Role

BSE has pioneered various innovations into the Indian capital market. The BSE Index – called the SENSEX – is considered the pulse of the Indian capital system and industry. In addition to the main index – the Sensex – BSE also offers several sub-indices and sectoral indices. BSE has also introduced ETF (An Exchange Traded Fund) in collaboration with Hong Kong based Barclays Global Investors. The ETF enables foreign investors to invest in the Indian stock market.

BSE has been at the forefront of introducing transparency and successful-investors/”title=”investor ” >investor friendliness in the trading of various instruments such as stocks, derivatives and debt instruments. It is a global pioneer in achieving the coveted ISO 9001:2000 certification, and the introduction of BOLT – BSE Online Trading System. BOLT is currently available to thousands of traders across the country, and provides access to markets from the computer screens. BSEWEBX, a service introduced in 2001, was first of its kind in the world – and enabled investors to deal in shares and stocks from the comfort of their computers.

In addition to the equity market, BSE is also taking important steps to develop the retail debt market. This step will help the common investors to gain access to an alternative investment option, and provide greater diversification opportunities.

BSE is also involved in a number of initiatives to educate the investors, monitor the markets and provide training and education on various aspects related to the Indian capital markets.


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