History and functioning
Historically, stock trading activities have been located at several spots in Paris, including rue Quincampoix , rue Vivienne (near the Palais Royal), and the back of the Opéra Garnier (the Paris opera house). In the early 19th century, the Paris Bourse's activities found a stable location at the Palais Brongniart , or Palais de la Bourse (designed by architect Alexandre-Théodore Brongniart). From the second half of the 19th century, official stock markets in Paris were operated by the Compagnie des agents de change, directed by the elected members of a stockbrokers' syndical council. The number of dealers in each of the different trading areas of the Bourse was limited. In the case of the agents de change (the official stockbrokers at the Paris Bourse), there were around 60. An agent de change had to be a French citizen, be nominated by a former agent or his estate, and be approved by the Minister of Finance, and he was appointed by decree of the President of the Republic. Officially, the agents de change could not trade for their own account nor even be a counterpart to someone who wanted to buy or sell securities with their aid; they were strictly brokers, that is, intermediaries. In the financial literature, the Paris Bourse is hence referred to as order-driven market, as opposed to quote-driven markets or dealer markets, where price-setting is handled by a dealer or market-maker. In Paris, only agents de change could receive a commission, at a rate fixed by law, for acting as an intermediary. However, parallel arrangements were usual in order to favor some clients' quote. Moreover, until about the middle of the 20th century, a parallel market known as "La Coulisse" was in operation. Until the late 1980s, this market operated as an open outcry exchange, with the agents de change meeting on the exchange floor of the Palais Brongniart. In 1986, the Paris Bourse started to implement an electronic trading system. This was known generically as CATS (Computer Assisted Trading System), but the Paris version was called CAC ( Cotation Assistée en Continu). By 1989, quotations were fully automated. The Palais Brongniart hosted the French financial derivatives exchanges MATIF and MONEP, until they were fully automated in 1998. In the late 1990s, the Paris Bourse launched the Euronext initiative, an alliance of several European stock exchanges.