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Its history began with the founding of the San Francisco Stock and Bond Exchange in 1882 and the Los Angeles Oil Exchange in 1889. In 1956, the two exchanges merged to create the Pacific Coast Stock Exchange, though trading floors were maintained in both cities. In 1973, it was renamed the Pacific Stock Exchange and it began trading options three years later in 1976.
In 1999, the exchange became the first U.S. stock exchange to demutualize. The trading floor in Los Angeles was closed in 2001, followed by the floor in San Francisco a year later. 2003 saw the exchange launch PCX Plus, an electronic options trading platform.
By 2005, the Pacific Exchange was bought by the owner of the ArcaEx platform, Archipelago Holdings, which then merged with the New York Stock Exchange in 2006. The New York Stock Exchange conducts no business operations under the name Pacific Exchange, essentially ending its separate identity. Pacific Exchange equities and options trading now takes place exclusively through the NYSE Arca (formerly known as ArcaEx) platform, an Electronic communication network (ECN), as NYSE Arca Equities and NYSE Arca Options, respectively.
The San Francisco Pacific Exchange building, housing the equities trading floor, is located on Pine Street at the corner of Sansome Street in the Financial District. It was built in 1930 in the Moderne style, with its street facades clad in Yule marble.
The building was sold to private developers and converted by Equinox Fitness into a fitness center.
An options trading floor still operates in the adjacent Mills Building. It was originally connected to the main building.
The Mills Building trading floor had a massive expansion in September 1984. It was again expanded in the mid-nineties beginning with a larger entrance on Montgomery Street which utilized existing spiral marble staircases. The west wall was then knocked out and the corridor behind turned into additional trading areas. The overhead monitors were stacked four rows high, twice as high as the existing trading pits, in order to maximize the use of the narrow area, although these were removed later as a result of seismic concerns and replaced with countertop flat screens. Next, an unused area behind the trade-match room was converted into six additional trading areas to accommodate the exponential growth being experienced in late 1990s.
The dual listing of issues in August 1999, decimalization of options quotes, and technological replacement of open out-cry trading took away market share from the equity options trading floor. In spite of all of this, the options floor still is functioning today with local firms such as Casey Securities and Student Options, and nationally known firms, such as Goldman Sachs, maintaining a presence. Other participants maintain offices and trading facilities off the exchange floor, but still remotely partake in electronic exchange trading.
The Pacific Stock Exchange building in Los Angeles ( was in operation from 1931 to 1986. The )Moderne style building is located on Spring Street in Downtown Los Angeles, and is a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument. The Los Angeles Conservancy holds an easement protecting its historic granite façade, that rises the equivalent of five stories. It features massive, fluted pilasters that frame three bas reliefs by sculptor Salvatore Cartaino Scarpitta titled Finance, Research and Discovery, and Production. A slender twelve-story office tower clad in terra cotta is set back at the rear.
In the 1980s, the building was converted into a nightclub called the Stock Exchange. After an extensive interior renovation, the building reopened in 2010 as ExchangeLA, a nightclub and event venue.
The options trading floor can be seen as it was in the mid-1980s in the 1986 film Quicksilver. Actor Kevin Bacon was the protagonist, a market maker who 'blew out' his trading account and became a bicycle messenger while he redeemed himself.
- Anderson, Jenny (2005-01-04). "Market Owner Agrees to Buy Pacific Exchange". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
- Los Angeles Conservancy.org: Los Angeles Stock Exchange Building
- History of the Los Angeles Stock Exchange Building
- Exchange LA
- San Francisco Chronicle: "Exchange Ending an Era. Pacific is phasing out its historic stock trading floor."
- Youtube.com: SF options floor live trading in 1997 — filmed by a floor broker.
- First Cut episode: "What options trading really is"