The Johannesburg Stock Exchange is established

Tuesday, 8 November 1887

The Johannesburg's Stock Exchange (JSE) is established in Johannesburg to facilitate the explosion of trade sparked by the discovery of gold in the Witwatersrand. The discovery of gold in 1886 resulted in the formation of mining and financial companies with investors who needed a central facility to access primary capital. Initially trading took place in a miner' tent and moved to the stables at the corner of what in now Saur and Commissioner Streets. Benjamin Minors Wollan proposed to a meeting of the Exchange and Chambers Company board and members that 'the Johannesburg Stock Exchange should be established. On 8th November 1887 Woollan founded the JSE by providing a facility to conduct trading. The establishment of the JSE at this time made it the oldest stock exchange facility in the subcontinent.

Growth in the mining industry was reflected in the economic boom of the 1890s that the JSE experienced. Between 1887 and 1934 an estimated 200 million pounds was invested in the gold industry with more than half from foreign investments. In 1933 a rival exchange known as the Union Exchange was formed in Johannesburg. It continued to trade until 1958 when it was closed by the Treasury Companies and the companies listed under it were transferred to the JSE.  In 1947 the Stock Exchanges Control Act was passed to regulate the operation of stock exchange by stating capital requirements for members and the conduct for brokers. In 1963 the JSE joined the World Federation of Exchanges an international association of the world's leading regulated markets. The physical location of the JSE changed several times throughout its existence as it grew. On 7 June 1996 the open outcry trading floor (where traders shout across the floor or gesture to sell or buy shares) was closed and replaced by an order driven, centralised, automated trading system known as the Johannesburg Equities Trading (JET) system.

References:
• Bryant, M. (1987), Taking Stock: Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the first 100 years. Johannesburg.
• Pieter Cornelis Smit, J. W. Mostert & A. G. Oosthuizen, (2007), Economics: a Southern African perspective, Zebra Publishers p.610
• Chris Gilmour, (2006), 'Cast in pure gold', from the Financial Mail, 2 June [online], Available at www.financialmail.co.za [Accessed 28 October 2010]
• Anon, History of the JSE, from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) [online], Available at www.jse.co.za [Accessed 28 October 2010]

Last updated : 07-Nov-2017

This article was produced by South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011

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