Oslo Stock Exchange (OSL)

What Is the Oslo Stock Exchange (OSL)?

The term Oslo Stock Exchange (OSL) refers to Norway's premier stock exchange. Located in the capital city of Oslo, the exchange is the region's major regulated market for securities trading, including equities, bonds, and exchange-traded products (ETPs). The exchange's market capitalization as of July 7, 2021, was roughly $296 billion. Founded in 1819, the exchange was acquired by Euronext in 2019. The exchange is part of the NOREX alliance, making it attractive to foreign investment.

Key Takeaways

  • The Oslo Stock Exchange is the major stock market in Norway and the country's only regulated securities exchange.
  • The exchange was established in 1819 and is also known as Oslo Børs.
  • The OSL was privatized in 2001 but was acquired by Euronext in 2019.
  • Although the majority of companies are Norwegian, listing by foreign companies is encouraged by the exchange.
  • Trading is fully electronic on the Oslo Stock Exchange.

Understanding the Oslo Stock Exchange (OSL)

The Oslo Stock Exchange is the major stock market in Norway. It is commonly referred to as Oslo Børs and is Norway’s only regulated securities exchange. As noted above, the OSL is the country's premier exchange and is located in the capital city of Oslo.

A number of different financial products are traded on the exchange, including equities, bonds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and other ETPs, derivatives, and certain funds. As of July 2021, 332 companies listed equity shares on the exchange. These companies represent a number of different sectors, notably energy, seafood, and shipping. While a majority of the securities listed on the OSL are Norwegian public limited companies, foreign companies also participate in the exchange.

Investors have the opportunity to invest in the Oslo OBX Index through the Oslo Stock Exchange. It is made up of the 25 most liquid securities on the exchange. The OBX Index is revised twice each year, based on the market data on the first Monday after the third Friday each June and December.

The Oslo Stock Exchange is fully electronic. The automated trading system was established in 1999. Trading takes place Monday to Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. local time. There are nine national holidays during which the exchange is closed along with one partial trading day each year.

Trading on the Oslo Stock Exchange takes place in Norwegian krones.

History of the Oslo Stock Exchange (OSL)

The OSL was established in 1819 as the Christiana Børs. It was designed to give merchants a place where they could meet and trade news and commercial goods, such as lumber. It wasn't until 1881 that it became an official stock exchange and began to list and trade securities. The exchange changed its name to Oslo Børs in the early 1900s.

As brokerage firms increased in popularity in Norway in the late 1990s, traders lost the need to meet in person to facilitate their transactions. As a result, the OSL went private, becoming a limited liability company (LLC) in 2001. The Oslo Børs VPS Holding ASA, which was established as a result of the merger of the Oslo Børs and VPS Holding, officially assumed ownership of the exchange in 2007.

As part of an effort for Nordic exchanges to attract more international investment, the Oslo Stock Exchange joined the NOREX alliance in 2000. NOREX also includes the stock exchanges of Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Iceland, and provides a common trading platform and streamlined regulations for participants.

The Nasdaq and Euronext put in competing offers to assume control of the Oslo Stock Exchange in a bid to expand their global footprint. Although the exchange's major shareholders supported the bid by Nasdaq, the offer was withdrawn in May 2019 after the country's finance ministry approved a competing bid by Euronext. The acquisition was completed in June 2019.

Companies must meet certain requirements and must disclose data regarding ownership and history, shares, and market value in order to list on the Oslo Stock Exchange.

Associated Markets

The Oslo Børs VPS Holding ASA facilitated trading on four other marketplaces in addition to the exchange. These markets are called the Oslo Axess, Merkur Market, Nordic ABM, and Oslo Connect.

Oslo Axess was established in 2007 as a regulated, licensed market under the Oslo Exchange, intended to promote the growth of small companies that do not yet meet requirements for listing on the Oslo Stock Exchange.

Merkur Market launched in 2016 as a multilateral trading facility (MTF) for small and medium enterprises, which provides the opportunity for privately-held limited companies and equivalent foreign counterparts to be traded in Oslo. Boasting one of the fastest admission processes in Europe, Merkur Market indicates that a qualified applicant can be trading in their marketplace in as little as two weeks.

In 2005, the OSL established Nordic ABM as an alternative bond market. While Nordic ABM is not a regulated market or multilateral trading facility, Oslo Stock Exchange sets the rules, fees, and registration process for bonds that request to be registered on the Nordic ABM.

Oslo Connect is an over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives marketplace that is regulated as a multilateral trading facility. Participants in Oslo Connect must sign an agreement with Oslo Børs and a cooperating clearinghouse.

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