Opinion

The NYSE Isn’t Moving—Yet – WSJ

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A revived stock-transfer tax that is moving in Albany could force us to find a new home.

Wonder Land: After months of the pandemic, protests and failing progressive leadership, many are going to move out of U.S. centers. Images: Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly

By Stacey Cunningham

Feb. 9, 2021 12:57 pm ET

New York

The New York Stock Exchange belongs in New York. If Albany lawmakers get their way, however, the center of the global financial industry may need to find a new home.

On Wednesday, with more than 25 other representatives of New York’s securities industry, I sent a letter to state legislative leaders cautioning against the unintended consequences of imposing a transfer tax on stock sales. History’s lesson is clear: If you try to squeeze more revenue from financial firms, the business goes elsewhere.

The modern NYSE traces its origins to the time when New York City was the nation’s capital but not yet the financial capital of the world. Amsterdam held that title before surrendering the torch to London in the early 1800s. New York, and the U.S. more broadly, has been the center of global financial power since the end of World War II, but it shouldn’t take its position for granted.

Most of the original NYSE listings were New York-based companies, their shares traded by New York-based brokers. Now, the companies and the brokers are global, connected electronically through out-of-state servers, transacting their business instantaneously. These global companies want the NYSE to serve them in the most efficient, least expensive way possible. We’ve proved, by pandemic-driven necessity, that we can close the physical trading floor on a moment’s notice and maintain service without missing a beat. Similarly, the broader financial-services industry shuttered offices and shifted workforces, without hiccups, to remote locations.

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