NYSE Seat Price Rises a Hair to $1.21M

A seat on the New York Stock Exchange (search) sold for $1.21 million on Monday, up $5,000 from the last sale on Sept. 14, but still only slightly above an eight-year low reached in late August.

In a statement, the NYSE said a seat is now bid at $1.2 million, and is being offered for $1.3 million. There are 1,366 NYSE seats, or memberships in the exchange..

A seatholder is entitled to buy and sell stock on the Big Board floor. Seat prices are influenced by such factors as the health of the market and the economy. They also serve as a barometer of the NYSE's prestige. Sixteen seats have been sold this year.

Seat prices began declining about one year ago after disclosure that former NYSE Chairman Richard Grasso (search) received a compensation package worth more than $188 million sparked an uproar that eventually led to Grasso's resignation.

Though the exchange has new leadership and instituted governance reforms, electronic competition from other exchanges and scandals over improper trading have undermined confidence in the exchange's open-auction system of trading.

Last Thursday, NYSE Chief Executive John Thain (search) met with seat lessors concerned about the decline. He said the exchange is pursuing several options, including new pricing structures and a reduced number of seats, which has been constant since 1953.

Seat prices, which peaked at $2.65 million in August 1999, bottomed at $1.15 million on Aug. 27.