The discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand in 1886 led to many mining and financial companies opening and a need soon arose for a stock exchange.
The Johannesburg Exchange & Chambers Company was established by a London businessman, Benjamin Minors Woollan and housed at the corner of Commissioner and Simmonds Streets. Out of this the JSE was born on 8 November 1887. By 1890 the trading hall became too small and had to be rebuilt but this too was outgrown. Trading then moved into the street. The Mining Commissioner closed off Simmonds Street between Market Square and Commissioner Street by means of chains.
In January the JSE opened for business with 122 members at corner of Commissioner and Simmonds Streets.
Business soon overflowed into the “between the chains” area outside of the building
In 1903, a new building was built for the JSE on Hollard Street. It was a storey building that took up an entire whole city block bounded by Fox and Main, Hollard and Sauer Streets.
After World War II, it became apparent that this building was again inadequate and in 1947 the decision was made to rebuild the stock exchange. It took 11 years before construction began and in February 1961 the second exchange at Hollard Street was officially opened. By 1963, the JSE became a member of the Federation International Bourses de Valeurs (FIBV).
In 1978, the JSE took up residence at 17 Diagonal Street near Kerk Street, Johannesburg. 1993 saw the JSE become an active member of the African Stock Exchanges Association. After 108 years, the open outcry system of trading was changed to an electronic system on 7 June 1996.
In September 2000, the Johannesburg Securities Exchange moved to its present location in Sandton, Gauteng and changed its official name to the JSE Securities Exchange.
In 2001 an agreement was struck with the London Stock Exchange enabling cross-dealing between the two bourses and replacing the JSE’s trading system with that of the LSE.
In 2009 the JSE acquired the Bond Exchange of South Africa for R240 million and rebranded it the JSE debt market adding South African government and corporate bonds as well as interest rate derivatives to its product set.
On 18 June 2012, the JSE became a founding member of the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative on the eve of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).
On 14 April 2014, the JSE re-branded to demonstrates the bourse’s identity as a modern African marketplace that connects investors to growth opportunities not only in South Africa but globally.