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An individual or firm's right to trade on an exchange floor. Seats are bought and sold according to an individual's or firm's needs and desires, and they can be very expensive. Most exchanges have a set number of seats; for example, on the New York Stock Exchange there are 1366 seats, which may cost up to $1 million each. Most exchanges only recognize individual members; member firms are usually informal terms for broker-dealer firms that have at least one principal officer with a seat on an exchange. A seat is also called a membership.
Membership on an organized securities exchange. Because the number of seats on an exchange is generally fixed, membership may be acquired only by purchasing a seat from an existing owner at a negotiated or an offered price.