On a warm day in May 1792, 24 traders met under an American sycamore tree on Wall Street.
That it was a sycamore, colloquially known as the Buttonwood, was symbolic; the Buttonwood tree is used to create long-lasting and hard-wearing clothing buttons that rarely crack under pressure.
It was under this tree, cooled by the shade of its slender branches, that these 24 traders signed the Buttonwood agreement and formed a centralised exchange that would become the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
227 years later and Andy Agg, our Chief Financial Officer, stood on the balcony of the New York Stock Exchange and rang the bell, which marks when trading commences and concludes.
Ringing the bell to open the exchange has big symbolic significance and it’s a tradition that is live-streamed and shown across TV networks including CNN. While Andy Agg rang the bell, surrounded by the finance team on the ornate balcony, the words National Grid were projected on the outside of the building and were blanketed across every screen and surface inside.
$18.5 trillion is listed on the NYSE, so for Andy Agg to ring it was an exciting opportunity. Aarti Singhal, Director of Investor Relations, was there as he rang the bell and said it was “…a very exciting moment for National Grid. As the US will represent nearly half our business in due course, our presence at the NYSE highlights our visibility to investors.”