In 12th century France the courtiers de change who managed debts between the farmers and banks started to trade debts and so became the first brokers. In the late 13th and early 14th centuries in Bruges Belgium, men, now known as commodity traders met in the house of Van der Burse. In 1309 they formalised these meetings, which became known as the “Bruges Bourse”, essentially this was the first stock exchange, the term Bourse is still used today to describe a place where stock, currency or goods are bought and sold. The idea soon spread and neighbouring countries such as Holland opened Bourses of their own.
By the middle of the 13th century Venetians were trading in government securities, known today as bonds. Soon after that, the Venetians also brought in laws to prevent the spreading rumours indented to lower the price of government funds.
The Dutch were the first to allow joint stock companies, these ventures allowed shareholders to invest in companies and share in their profits, and losses. In 1602 the Dutch East India Company was the first to issue what we now know as stocks. In 1688 trading of this type of stock began on the London Stock exchange.
Over the years many different types of investment products, sometimes known as instruments have been created, In the following pages we outlines each type.