Established four centuries ago, the Amsterdam stock exchange is the oldest exchange in the world.
The trading of corporate shares originated in Amsterdam in 1607, where the shipping giant ‘Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie’ was in permanent need of funds to finance the transport of goods from the Far East. Shares in this company were the first immediately-deliverable shares traded in the world, and were promptly followed by the first futures and options. Investors paid a premium for “early call” and “put” options, which granted them the right to buy or sell shares in the future. By the end of the 17th century, the stock exchange had a permanent place at the heart of the financial sector.
As of December 2011, NYSE Euronext Amsterdam had a total of 144 listed companies (excluding investment funds)—106 domestic and 38 foreign—with a market capitalization of € 458,049,000,000, a 7% decline compared to December 2010. Further the Amsterdam market of NYSE Euronext houses 181 Investment Funds, 7,908 Structured products, 123 ETF's and 1,415 Bonds.
NYSE Euronext Amsterdam supports the flagship AEX Index. The AEX reflects the performance of the 25 most actively traded shares listed on NYSE Euronext Amsterdam, and is the most widely used indicator of the Dutch stock market and the Dutch economy. The AEX Index closed the year (2011) at 312.47, a 11.9% decline compared to December 2010 (354.57). Market capitalization of the stocks included in the AEX Index totalled € 253,353,000,000.
NYSE Euronext Amsterdam is governed by the Act on the Financial Supervision of 28 September 2006. Operation of a regulated market in the Netherlands is subject to prior license by the Dutch Minister of Finance who may, at any time, amend or revoke this license if necessary to ensure the proper functioning of the markets or the protection of investors. The license may also be revoked for non-compliance with applicable rules. The AFM (Autoriteit Financiële Markten), together with De Nederlandsche Bank, acts as the regulatory authority for members of NYSE Euronext Amsterdam, monitors the primary and secondary markets, ensures compliance with market rules and monitors clearing and settlement operations. The Dutch Minister of Finance also issues Declarations of No Objection, which authorize investors to acquire significant shareholdings in major financial organizations in the Netherlands.
Dutch market financial supervision is divided between: