Brussels

Belgium has a very old stock market history and is the birthplace of the “Bourse” concept: in the thirteen century, merchants used to gather in the house the “Van den Bürse”, a family in Bruges, to do business.

Today, Euronext Brussels is part of the first global equities exchange in the world : NYSE Euronext.

History

The Brussels stock exchange began in the early days of the 19th century, under the government of Napoleon Bonaparte, who established the first Belgian exchange – the Bourse de Fonds Publics de Bruxelles – on 13 Messidor An IX (2 July 1801). By 1858, the Bourse was flourishing under the economic and industrial boom, so the municipality of Brussels began construction of a new stock exchange on the site of the 13th-century Récollets Convent. In 1874, the inauguration ceremony was attended by King Léopold II and Queen Marie-Henriette. The ruins of the Récollets Convent have been preserved in an underground museum on the Rue de la Bourse.

In April 1999, BXS was established as the merger of Belfox (Belgian Futures and Options Exchange), the Brussels stock exchange and CIK (the central securities depository).In September 2000, BXS merged with the Paris Bourse and Amsterdam Exchanges to form Euronext, the first pan-European exchange. In 2007, Euronext merged with NYSE to form NYSE Euronext.

Current information

NYSE Euronext Brussels had a total of 148 company listings (excluding investment funds and real estate certificates) as of October 2012:

  • 118 domestic companies with a combined market capitalization of € 219 billion (a 24.1 % increase over Dec 31, 2011)
  • 30 foreign companies with a market capitalization of € 177 billion.

BEL 20 Index

The BEL 20 is a real-time basket index that reflects the continuous price evolution of the 20 most liquid Belgian shares listed on NYSE Euronext Brussels and serves as the blue-chip index for the Brussels stock market. The equities are weighted according to market capitalization, and adjusted to take account of “free float” (the percentage of shares that are freely negotiable).

Competences

NYSE Euronext Brussels is governed by the Belgian Act of 2 August 2002 on the supervision of the financial sector and on financial services and is recognized as a market operator according to Articles 16 and 144 of this Act. NYSE Euronext Brussels is responsible for market organization, and for the admission, suspension and exclusion of members. NYSE Euronext Brussels has also been appointed by law as a ‘competent authority’ according to the Listing Directive,  and so it is responsible for admitting, suspending, and delisting financial instruments on its markets.

Regulatory bodies

Since the 1st April 2011, the supervision of the Belgian financial sector is organized with two autonomous regulatory bodies, the Belgian National Bank (BNB) and the Financial Services and Markets Authority, formerly the CBFA (FSMA).

This bipartite model, knows as the “Twin Peaks” model, is intended to provide a structure for the two major objectives of the supervision of the financial sector:

  • maintaining the macro and microeconomic stability of the financial system, which falls within the competence of the BNB, and
  • ensuring that market processes are equitable and transparent, that relationships between market participants are appropriate and that clients are treated honestly, fairly and professionally, tasks which fall within the competence of the FSMA. The FSMA is also responsible for Prospectus, Transparency and Market Abuse regulations.