The LBMA Rings the NYSE Closing Bell
On the 20 September 2013, the LBMA rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The LBMA is greatly indebted to Jennifer Ropiak (the LBMA member contact at NYSE Liffe US) who secured the invitation from the Exchange for the LBMA to ring the closing bell. This unique opportunity to be part of the history of the NYSE was extended to friends of the LBMA who wished to attend. It is regarded as a great privilege to ring the closing bell. Many famous people have had the honour of doing so including Joe DiMaggio, Ronald Reagan, Nelson Mandela, Hilary Clinton, Mohammed Ali, Michael Phelps, Patrick Stewart and even Mickey Mouse. So the LBMA party was in esteemed company.
History of the bell ringing event
The loud, distinctive sound of the trading floor bell is one of the most familiar features of the NYSE. There is one large bell in each of the four trading areas of the NYSE, which are operated synchronously from a single control. Each business day the opening bell sounds the beginning of trading at 09:30 and the closing bell signals the end of trading at 16:00. Bells were first introduced onto the floor in the 1870s at the outset of continuous trading.
Originally, a Chinese Gong was used, but brass bells have been used since 1903 when the Exchange moved to its current location at 18 Broad Street, New York, a magnificent building designed in the neoclassic style by architect George B. Post.
The G. S. Edwards Company of Norwalk, Connecticut manufactured the bells, each measuring 18 inches in diameter. By the late 1980s, the bells had begun to show signs of wear and tear, and the NYSE decided to refurbish them as well as having an extra bell made for contingency purposes. However, it was discovered that bells as large and loud as the Exchange’s were no longer made by Edwards or indeed by any other bell company. But all was not lost and as a special favour, Edwards agreed to undertake the work, bringing many of its former employees out of retirement to handle the job.
While the work was being undertaken, an older, larger bell was discovered in the loft above the main trading floor. Measuring 24 inches in diameter, this giant bell, made in 1903, had probably been “retired” because it was too loud, even by the NYSE’s standards. After being cleaned and refurbished, the bell was adjusted to tone down the sound. It now gleams on a platform above the trading floor, ready for use should it ever be called into action.
The LBMA party arrived at the NYSE at 14:30 for a tour of the trading floor. The party consisted of Chief Executive and Deputy Chief Executive of the LBMA, Stewart Murray and Ruth Crowell, together with 14 podium guests and approximately 20 other guests who would view the event from the floor. At 15:15, the group moved to the Board Room on the 6th floor for refreshments. Lynn Martin, CEO of NYSE Liffe US then presented each of the podium guests with a gift presentation.
In return, Stewart presented her and her colleagues with the LBMA’s 25th anniversary silver medallion. At 15:45, the LBMA and their guests moved excitedly to the bell podium whilst the other guests proceeded to the trading floor to observe the event. At 15 seconds before 16:00, Ruth pressed the button to ring the closing bell, and on the hour, Stewart brought the hammer down on the gavel to signal the close of and the end of an historic event for the LBMA and its guests. The photo above captures this moment and the delirious clapping and cheering from the podium guests. It was certainly a day that none of them will ever forget, particularly for Stewart as he approaches stepping down from his role as Chief Executive.
Jennifer Ropiak, Senior Vice President, Precious Metals Derivatives, NYSE Liffe US, commented “We are appreciative of our relationship with the LBMA and of the value they provide to both the OTC and futures markets in precious metals. The LBMA provides structure to the worldwide market via the maintenance of the Good Delivery List, which Intercontinental Exchange / NYSE Liffe US was the first to license. We look forward to maintaining our Associate Membership as we grow our 33.2 oz. mini gold (YG) and 1,000 oz. mini silver (YI) futures volumes.”