A SHETLANDER has followed in the footsteps of US presidents and A-list celebrities by being involved in ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange.
Allie Elphinstone, who is originally from South Whiteness but now lives in New York where she works in finance, was told more than 150 million people were watching the event live on TV.
This included proud family back home in Shetland, and the assumption is that she is likely to be the first islander to ring the bell.
The ringing of a bell may not seem like much, but it has become something of a key event at the world’s largest stock exchange, where members members trade stock in listed companies.
It is rung to open New York Stock Exchange in the morning, and again to close it for the day – all in front of the cameras.
A variety of people and organisations get the chance to take part, from celebrities to businesses, charities to sportspeople.
Twenty eight year old Allie’s moment in the spotlight came last Thursday (30 September) when her employer JPMorgan Asset Management was invited to ring the closing bell that day.
“Ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange is a dream come true,” she told Shetland News.
“It was an honour and kind of a surreal experience. It is definitely a career highlight that I will always remember.
“I told my Dad and siblings to watch on CNBC at 9pm UK time not really thinking too much about it, until we were up there and it hit me what we were doing.
“We were told afterwards that 153 million people had just watched us – apparently they feared we would run away if we were told upfront.
“After how challenging the last year and a half have been globally, I was so grateful to be able to attend this with my manager and colleagues in person.”
Allie explained that only companies with stocks or “ETFs” listed on the exchange can ring the bell.
Usually it takes around nine months to secure a slot, but due to a cancellation JPMorgan Asset Management – one of the stock exchange’s largest clients – was drafted in.
“My manager and I were asked along with 12 other colleagues in the business,” Allie said.
“You never know if or when you might have the opportunity to do something like this again – some people work their entire careers in New York and/or finance and don’t, so I feel particularly appreciative to have had the opportunity.”
Bells were first used at the exchange in the 1870s, and the first guest – a 10-year-old boy who won a competition – rung the bell in 1956.
Allie studied international business management at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen and after completing her degree she started working for JPMorgan in New York in 2016.
“I spent time in both their New York and London headquarters before returning back to the states in 2018, and I have been here in New York ever since,” she said.
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