iShares Move To The Big Board

December 02, 2005

40 iShares make the jump to the NYSE, as seat prices reach $4 million; they're partying at the Big Board.

Forty iShares exchange-traded funds (ETFs) moved their listing to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Wednesday, November 30, in the first phase of a three phase plan that will see 61 iShares leave the American Stock Exchange (Amex) for the NYSE. The new funds nearly triple the number of ETFs listed on the Big Board, and establish the NYSE as a real player in the booming market for ETFs.

"The Exchange is fully committed to expanding its presence in the growing ETF market and becoming the world's foremost multi-asset class marketplace," said NYSE CEO John Thain.  "This first set of transfers clearly demonstrates our goal is becoming reality."

A full list of the funds making the move is available here.  The largest fund making the leap is the iShares S&P 500 fund, or IVV, with assets of $14 billion.

An additional 21 funds will make the transition to the NYSE over the next two years: sixteen in 2006 and five in 2007.  A further 20 iShares will jump to ArcaEx, the electronic exchange of Archipelago, which the NYSE is in the process of acquiring.  No iShares funds will remain at the Amex. 

In related news, a seat on the NYSE traded hands for a record $4 million, up more than 300 percent since hitting a nine-year low of $975,000 in January.  The exchange announced plans in April to become a publicly-traded for-profit company through its merger with Archipelago, and seat prices have never looked back.  That merger is expected to go through shortly, pending an ongoing fairness review.

In a way, this new listing is the first fruit of that merger.  By purchasing Archipelago (which itself recently bought the Pacific Options Exchange), the NYSE aimed to stay in front of the latest technology, and to position itself as the go-to market for all sorts of p[roducts: stocks, ETFs, options, etc.  Landing the listing of the world's dominant ETF family is only the first step.

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