What is the 'Berne Exchange - BX'

The Berne Exchange was the name of a stock exchange in the Swiss city of Berne, Switzerland. Today it is known as BX Swiss, and it is one of two stock exchanges in Switzerland, located in the nation's fourth-most populous city in Switzerland. BX Swiss is much smaller than the Swiss Exchange, which dominates share trading in Switzerland. 

The Berne Exchange, or BX Swiss, aims to attract listings of Swiss small and medium-sized enterprises, which typically are unable to meet the more stringent listing criteria of the Swiss Exchange. 

BREAKING DOWN 'Berne Exchange - BX'

The Berne Exchange traces its roots to the January 28, 1880 founding of the Bernese banking association by the nine banks and fourteen private companies then operating on the Berne square, with the aim of stimulating commerce and increasing the availability of credit and capital. That organization evolved into Berne Exchange, which was formally founded on November 10, 1884. 

The Berne Exchange utilized the open-outcry system of trading for most of its history, whereby traders use verbal and hand-signal communication in order to execute trades and communicate information about securities. In 1991, the Berne Exchange replaced the open-outcry with a telephonic trading system called Telefonische Börse Bern. In 1997, the Swiss government passed the the Stock Exchange Act in 1997, which paved the way for fully electronic trading. In 2002, the Berne Exchange was renamed BX Swiss, and the exchange shifted to a system of fully electronic trading. BX Swiss is regulated by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, or FINMA.

BX Swiss Today

In 2017, The German stock exchange operator Boerse Stuttgart GmbH purchased a majority stake in BX Swiss as part of a strategic partnership, with the aim of creating efficiencies and increasing the services offered by Boerse Stuttgart. Investors can trade more than 1200 securities through BX Swiss, as well as more than 500 different funds. 

BX Swiss is not Switzerland’s most important stock exchange, as that designation belongs to SIX Swiss Exchange, based in Zurich. Nevertheless, BX Swiss is an important institution in Switzerland, given the country’s dependence on banking and financial services to power the economy. As of 2015, Banks in Switzerland have issued loans around the world equal in value to twice the size of the entire Swiss economy, while financial services accounts for more than 10% of all of Swiss GDP each year. Such statistics make Switzerland particularly vulnerable to financial contagion, and make proper financial regulation important for the Swiss economy.

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