The Rights of Account Holders
Elgar Financial Law series
Chapter 1: Introduction to Part I
Securities markets provide venues for companies to raise capital by issuing shares and bonds and for interested parties to invest. Over the last few decades, securities markets have transformed into electronic impersonal venues that are more accessible to the public at large. Many of these changes are 'visible' to a lay person. Every individual with access to the Internet may easily locate quotes from securities markets, monitor prices of shares, download reports from analysts or watch footage from the NYSE and other exchanges. Anyone can also observe what securities markets 'are doing' at any particular moment. Today passive observation through electronic technology has become effortless and practically cost-free. Securities markets also underwent other critical changes that may be less visible to a lay person. For years, the NYSE, the London Stock Exchange and the Deutsche Börse were traditionally associated in the minds of many with trading floors, populated by brokers wearing uniform-like jackets shouting, running, waving their hands and throwing paper tickets around. Gradually floor trading has been replaced with electronic technologies and now instead of raising their hands, accepting orders and making notes on paper tickets, brokers sit in their offices and execute orders electronically. Investors no longer fax or call their orders to buy or sell securities and brokers no longer call a trader on the floor to execute such orders. Presently investors log-in to their trading accounts such as through the websites of intermediaries and place their orders electronically.