25 years of Warsaw Stock Exchange

25 years ago, on 12 April 1991, a new era begun in Poland. It was the day when the Warsaw Stock Exchange officially opened. Commemoration events took place in Warsaw. Among the notables invited to celebrate the occasion was the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda.

For this occasion, the stock exchange received a new market floor bell, a present from the oldest Polish bell foundry, the 200 year old Felczyński Family Bell Foundry. The bell was unveiled by the President of Poland.

The beginnings of the Warsaw Stock Exchange were not very impressive. Only five companies were listed: Tonsil, Próchnik, Krosno, Kable and Exbud. Trading sessions took place once a week and lasted for merely two hours. Brokers worked on rented equipment and didn’t even have their phone lines working on the day of the launch.

Warsaw Stock Exchange is not the first stock exchange in the history of the country. Financial market operations were carried out from the early 19th century to the 1930’s, except the time of the World War I. World War II and the communist rule brought the end to that. Stock exchange was silenced for over 50 years.

Reopening of a stock exchange was a symbol of a new free market era. Interestingly, in the first decade after its launch, Warsaw Stock Exchange was located in the building that was the former headquarters of the communist party. In 2000, the financial institution moved to Książęca street, where it has been residing ever since.

Today, Warsaw Stock Exchange is the biggest stock exchange in the CEE region, and one of the biggest in Europe, with over 480 companies listed, 14 indices (the most important of which are WIG20, WIG30, WIG50, WIG, and mWIG40) and four markets (Main Market, New Connect, Catalyst, TBSP).

Market sessions are continuous, shares are traded five days of the week, from 9:00 till 16:50. The two biggest sectors represented in the WIG30 index are banking and oil & gas. In 2013, the bourse boasted the second largest number of IPOs in Europe.

Warsaw Stock Exchange is also the main shareholder of BondSpot SA, operator of Treasury Bond Spot Poland, a treasury bond and bill market, and the sole shareholder of Polish Power Exchange.

Presently, the President of the Management Board of the Warsaw Stock Exchange is Małgorzata Zaleska.