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The number of joint-stock companies is measured by tens and hundreds of thousands (in the USA - several million), and at the exchanges the account to the quoted companies goes on hundreds, at best - on thousands. So, at the London exchange stocks approximately 2800kompany, on New York - about 170 are submitted

The exchange mechanism developed in the Middle Ages is less flexible in comparison with the off-exchange. Certainly, technical process conducts to development of systems of off-exchange trade which are cheaper, flexible and effective. But - information transparency, security and reliability - concede their main characteristics to the exchange. These qualities also create certain advantages to exchange trade at a stage of formation of stock market.

Those who assumes function of carrying out operations with securities, become intermediaries, or, speaking on another, professional participants of securities market. They can act as on the exchange, and vne5 it as not all papers are quoted at stock exchanges. Spatially intermediaries are separated, but they are connected among themselves and form a whole, constantly coming into contact with each other. This whole is called as securities market.

The main feature of the off-exchange market consists in system of pricing. The firm conducting operations with securities out of the exchange works as follows: she buys them on own means, and then resells. The commission payment is not raised from the client as at the exchange, but securities are on sale to him with an extra charge to the price at which they were acquired by firm, or are bought at a discount in relation to that price at which they will be resold further. Such margin or a discount also forms profit of intermediary firm.