What Is the Athens Stock Exchange?

The Athens Stock Exchange, also known as the ASE or ATHEX, is a stock exchange located in Athens, Greece. The Athens Stock Exchange originally began trading in the late 1870s. Until 2007, the exchange was located in Psiri, Athens. The street where it was located, Sofokleous Street, became synonymous with the exchange, much like Wall Street in New York City.

Understanding the Athens Stock Exchange (ATHEX)

The Athens Stock Exchange (ATHEX) supports Greece’s capital markets by operating the equities and derivatives markets as well as an alternative market. It also executes the clearing and settlement of trades. The ATHEX market is governed by the uniform European Regulatory Framework.

The Main Market is the primary market for securities trading. It conforms to EU standards and is supervised by the Hellenic Capital Market Commission (HCMC), a legal entity which was established in 1991 to ensure the protection and efficiency of Greece’s capital markets. The Main Market consists of mainly mid- and large-capitalization companies that have growth prospects.

The Derivatives Market’s organization and support is realized by ATHEX, and the Clearing House is ATHEX Clear, which also belongs to the Hellenic Exchanges Group. It offers investors futures and options on stocks and indices.

The Alternative Market (ENA) is operated by ATHEX and is not known as a “regulated market.” It addresses companies that are in fast-growing sectors and have achievable goals. Its products have long-term potential but come with greater risk.

History of the Athens Stock Exchange

The Athens Stock Exchange was founded as a self-regulated public organization in 1876. It became a public entity in 1918. The first electronic trading system (ASIS) was established and put into operation in 1991. In 1999, derivatives began being offered on the exchange and the ASIS trading system was replaced by the OASIS system.

The Hellenic Exchanges (HELEX) was founded as a holding company in 2000, and in that same year listed on the Athens Stock Exchange. In 2002, the Athens Stock Exchange and the Athens Derivatives Exchange merged to form the ATHEX. The trading of ETFs and the operation of the Alternative Market (ENA) began in 2008. Since 2010, the Athens Stock Exchange has been a subsidiary of Hellenic Exchanges S.A.