Fall and rise of the Oslo Børs

THE Oslo Stock Exchange, also known as the Oslo Børs, offers investors access to a range of products including equities, derivatives and fixed income instruments.

Owned by Oslo Børs VPS Holding, it lists a number of global players and is of particular interest to investors keen on the energy, shipping and seafood sectors.

A lot has changed since 1819, when the first exchange in Norway opened two mornings a week in the centre of Christiania, as the capital city was then known.

Things did not happen fast. Trading in stocks and shares didn’t really start until March 1881, while trading in commodities such as sugar and herring oil only achieved significant volume at the start of the 1900s.

During and immediately after the First World War, however, the stock market in Norway boomed.

New companies sprang up, everyone wanted to buy shares and prices climbed ever higher – the established broking firms could scarcely cope. Unfortunately, this boom ended in a crisis just a few short years later.

Then came the Wall Street crash of 29 October 1929, which caused the worst global depression in modern history and helped to pull the Oslo Stock Exchange turnover down from 207m Norwegian kroner in 1919 to just 4m kroner in 1932.

Following the occupation of Norway in 1940, the stock exchange in Oslo was also affected by restrictions, while further regulation was also necessary in the years following the war due to Norway’s economic weakness.

Regulation of the economy gradually eased, though, and the Norwegian securities market has shown very healthy growth since the middle of the 1980s.

Other developments since then include the start of derivatives trading in 1990 and a move to electronic trading in 1999. More recently, in 2009, the Oslo Stock Exchange also entered into a strategic partnership with the London Stock Exchange.

Oslo Stock Exchange chief executive Bente Landsnes said: “Our business is characterised by increased competition and we must continue to change ourselves to maintain our competitiveness.”

Next week: the fifth part of our series on global exchanges will continue with a look at the Nasdaq ­– measured by market capitalisation, the second-largest exchange in the world.