Meaning of Stock Exchange
Stock exchange is a specific place, where trading of the securities, is arranged in an organized method. In simple words, it is a place where shares, debentures and bonds (securities) are purchased and sold. The term securities include equity shares, preference shares, debentures, government bonds, etc. including mutual funds.
According to the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act 1956, the term 'stock exchange' is defined as ''An association, organization or body of individuals, whether incorporated or not, established for the purpose of assisting, regulating and controlling of business in buying, selling and dealing in securities."
Husband and Dockerary have defined stock exchange as: "Stock exchanges are privately organized market which are used to facilitate trading in securities."
In simple Words, a stock exchange provides a platform or mechanism to, the investors - individuals or institutions to purchase or sell the securities of the companies, Government or semi Government institutions. It is like a commodity market where securities are bought and sold. It is an important constituent of capital market.
From the above discussion, we get the following important features of a stock exchange:
Ø Stock exchange is a place where buyers and sellers meet and decide on a price.
Ø Stock exchange is a place where stocks or all types of securities are traded.
Ø Stock exchange is at physical location, where transactions are carried out on a trading floor.
Ø The purpose of a stock exchange or market is to facilitate the exchange of securities between buyers and sellers, thus reducing the risk.
Role/Functions of stock exchange in capital market
Presence and vibrant functioning of a stock exchange is necessary for a developing economy. It reflects healthy financial and investment conducive atmosphere in the economy. The Indian securities market is considered as one of the most promising emerging markets. It is one of the top eight markets of the world. The stock exchange plays a vital role in the process of raising resources for the development of corporate sector. In the absence of the stock exchange it would be impossible for private enterprises, industries and entrepreneurs to survive and grow. A stock exchange plays a significant role in a capital market which are mentioned below:
a) Encourages capital formation: A common investor is attracted to capital market. Today investor prefers to divert his surplus and savings in the securities like shares, debentures, mutual funds etc. As a result new capital formation is speeded up.
b) Resource Mobilsation: Due to continuous buying and selling of the securities the resources of the economy flow from one company to other company giving comparatively higher returns. This helps mobilisation of resources.
c) Help in repaid economic development: The stock exchanges help in the process of rapid economic development by speeding up the process of capital formation and resource mobilization. It helps in raising the medium and long term capital for the development and expansion of the companies. New industries and commercial enterprises easily get capital funds through a stock exchange.
d) Flexibility in investments: The stock exchanges provide liquidity to the investment made in the securities. As there are multiple options, investors can flexibly go on switching their investment where it is more beneficial?
e) Value addition to the securities: Listing of shares on a stock exchange adds to the prestige and reputation to companies. With the advantage of listed shares it can raise loans from corporate sector.
f) Protects investor’s interest: All the transactions in the stock exchanges are effected and controlled by the Securities Control (Regulation) Act 1956. The stock exchanges protect the interests of the investors through the strict enforcement of their rules and regulations. The malpractices of the brokers are punishable with heavy fine, suspension of their membership and even imprisonment.
g) Motivation to Management: A stock exchange allows the trading of listed securities only. Listing procedure requires to comply with certain guidelines for protecting the interests of investors and obviously are under strict supervision of stock exchange. If companies do not comply with the rules and regulations of the exchange, the shares of a company can be delisted. To avoid such unfavorable and undesirable consequences every company manages its affairs more cautiously and effectively.
h) Best utilization of capital: The stock exchange regulates and controls the flow of investment from unproductive to productive, uneconomic to economic, unprofitable to profitable enterprises. Thus, savings of the people are channelized into industry yielding good returns and underutilization of, capital is avoided. As the stock exchange provides an account of price variations of the securities listed on it (upward or downward fluctuations) it would be an opportunity for the investors to switch their investments. This would, keep companies performing in the best possible way.