Mumbai: The Bombay Stock Exchange has acquired international status by taking in a new partner, Deutsche Borse. The transformation appears to be complete. The old generation has given way to new and there seems to be no regrets. “I am very happy with the developments. Everything is in the right direction,” says Ramesh Patel, a BSE member who has been a witness to the change.
BSE rolled out red carpet for their German counterparts. Escalators ferried the guests as well as the press invitees to its erstwhile trading floor. The din and noise of trading floor died long back and the shuffle of papers and attendants carrying share certificates without any attachment to its value ended a decade ago.
Some of the traditional broking houses like DSP and JM took the early lead in expanding their enterprise, partnered with global players Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley. Patel continued to run the business from Phiroze Jeejeebhoy Towers, perhaps the best known landmark for decades. He still caters to his committed clientele now assisted by his son who joined the business.
Trading today is in the hands of top 50 broking firms and most of the 735 members of BSE aren’t active. “The offer for sale gives brokers liquidity. They can cash in on the value of the membership. There is nothing emotional any more about being a member of BSE or a shareholder in BSE,” said a long time associate. BSE was born in 1875 as a Native Share and Stock Brokers Association with just 7 members.
M R Mayya, who was at the helm of the exchange during its worst ever crisis is a happy witness. “This is a good development that BSE has tied up with one of biggest exchanges in the world, though it missed the opportunity to go with NYSE,” said Mayya. Today BSE is a safer exchange, modern and efficient, but no more the share bazaar where Gujarati was the veritable official language.