Our logo and artwork are special to us. Find out why.
That tree means something. It represents the "Wall Street Buttonwood Tree." The story behind it goes something like this:
In response to the financial panic of 1792, a couple dozen businessmen met under a Buttonwood (or sycamore) tree located on Wall Street. There, they signed the Buttonwood Agreement on May 17,1792, and basically started our current global financial markets. The Agreement was genius in its simplicity. It contained two simple provisions:
- The signing brokers dealt only with each other.
- No matter what, clients were charged 0.25% per transaction.
Of course the wording was a little more formal:
"We the Subscribers, Brokers for the Purchase and Sale of the Public Stock, do hereby solemnly promise and pledge ourselves to each other, that we will not buy or sell from this day for any person whatsoever, any kind of Public Stock, at a less rate than one quarter percent Commission on the Specie value and that we will give preference to each other in our Negotiations. In Testimony whereof we have set our hands this 17th day of May at New York, 1792."1
After the Panic, which created the country's first bank bailout, people were skeptical of making trades. The Agreement solved this problem.
"By limiting access and closing the system to outside agents and auctioneers, the participants created a high trust environment where trades and payments would be honored, and investments were legitimate. To this day, finance is the only business in the world where you can make a multi-billion dollar transaction on a handshake."2
Now that's impressive! So impressive, that 230 years later, a single Buttonwood tree stands in front of the New York Stock Exchange (and in our logo) in honor of the great Buttonwood Agreement.
Read more about the Buttonwood Tree and the Buttonwood Agreement on the following websites:
1 Wikipedia Buttonwood Agreement article