The Buttonwood Agreement was signed in 1792 between 24 Wall Street brokers and traders in New York to create a stock exchange. Rumor has it that the deal happened under a button tree marked the beginnings of the Wall Street investment community. In short, the agreement had two provisions: 1) brokers had to behave only with each other, thus eliminating the incense, and 2) the commissions had to be 0.25%. It reads: Image: Representation of merchants under the button tree. Note: The button tree is also called the Sycamore tree. The Buttonwood Agreement is the founding document of today`s New York Stock Exchange and one of the most important financial documents in U.S. history.  The agreement organized securities trading in New York and was signed on May 17, 1792 between 24 brokers outside 68 Wall Street. According to legend, the signature took place under a platanus occidentalis, a wood tree, but this tree may never have existed.  The New York Stock Exchange celebrated the signing of this agreement on May 17, 1792 as its creation.
 They agreed that they would only trade with each other and represent the interests of the public, which meant that the trust they had in each other was the confidence they had in the market. In other words, they would not have to worry about selling bad shares or competing on commission rates, so the invoiced prices would reflect the value of the stock, and not just any other factor. Until 1793, too many brokers were involved to meet under a tree. They took their place in an elaborate structure at the corner of Wall and Water streets, called Tontine Coffee House. Their new project was to become the largest investment market in the country – the New York Stock Exchange, which is only a few blocks from where the old button tree once grew. In the fintech era, no one gathers under a button tree to trade shares, but the fundamental principle of the Buttonwood agreement remains that of trust. Your clients have relied on you to help them achieve their life goals and care for their families for generations, and you trust Orion to provide the technology that helps you do so. We, the subscribers, brokers for the purchase and sale of the public stock, solemnly promise by this and we promise each other that we will not buy or sell from this day on for any person, any type of public shares, at less than a quarter of a percent commission on specie value and that we will mutually give each other preference in our negotiations. In testimony, from where we put our hands this May 17 in New York, 1792.  The agreement created confidence in the system whereby brokers and traders acted only among themselves while representing the interests of the public. By closing the system, participants would be assured that they can trust each other and that the payments are rewarded and that the investments are legitimate.
“He bet that the market would go down, while everyone else is betting it was going to go up,” as economic historian Robert E. Wright says, until he runs out of money.