The number of new listings on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange gives a good idea of the growth in the securities market between 1860 and 1914. From 95 new stock exchange listings (78 of which were foreign stocks) in 1860, total new listings numbered 1,800 in 1914, 840 of them by foreign companies. During the early years the main securities activity was in debentures7, before the stockmarket took over as the larger market after 1895. The growth in activity was however slowed by the 1873 crash, originating with US Railways, the sugar crisis of 1884 and the subsequent financial crises of 1903 and 1907. The more robust institutions came through these crises, but a large number of smaller operators disappeared.
Foreign securities transactions in the Netherlands were in shares and bonds issued in foreign countries, generally in the currency of the country of the issuer or of a third-party country often sterling or in two currencies linked by a fixed exchange rate. Participation by Dutch institutions in the international issuance syndicates required an international network of relations and sufficient capital to cover issuance risks. Therefore relatively few Dutch players were involved in the international syndications market. Hope & Co. was however from 1820 the largest player in the Russian loans market, in cooperation with Baring Brothers & Co., and then from 1860 became highly active in broking Russian railway stock transactions, together with Mendelssohn & Co. (Berlin) and Hottinguer & Co. (Paris).
Shares of US railway companies made their Amsterdam debut in 1856 with the listing of certificates of shares of Illinois Central Railroad stock. Up to 1875, there were 88 more railroad listings on the Stock Exchange, then 150 new issues took place between 1875 and 1895, followed by 111 during the 1896-1914 period. The vast majority of Dutch financial institutions were involved in the market for US railroad stock. In 1883, Canadian Pacific Railway Company share certificates were brought to the Amsterdam Stock Exchange by Adolphe Boissevain & Co, H. Oyens & Zonen and the Broers & Gosman c.s. Administrative Office.
The market in Dutch domestic issues also grew during this period, though to a lesser extent. During the 1860s, only a few issuances took place, but by the end of the period the market was absorbing around a hundred a year. The biggest bond issuer was the central government (from 1878 onwards). At first the government arranged its own bond issues, and it was only in 1884 that it decided for the first time to call on the services of a syndicate, composed of the Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij, the Amsterdamsche Bank and the Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas.
Arranging issues of stock on behalf of Dutch industrial companies represented only a small proportion of the securities business in the Netherlands. The first two major syndications were for the Heineken Bierbrouwerij Maatschappij in 1873 and the Koninklijke
7. A debenture is a contract that acknowledges and contains the terms of a loan (usually to a company). The loan may be unsecured. More usually, however, the debenture will be subject to a charge over certain of the company s assets and will contain the terms of the charge, e.g. specifying the right to appoint a receiver or defining an event which will call for the crystallisation of a floating charge over assets.
32 T H E H I S T O R Y O F B N P PA R I B A S I N T H E N E T H E R L A N D S