DEFINITION of 'Warsaw Stock Exchange - WSE'

The Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE) is the largest stock exchange in Eastern Europe and one of the most recognized Polish financial institutions. Located in Warsaw, Poland, the WSE began trading on April 16, 1991. Instruments such as shares, bonds and various derivative products can all be traded electronically on this exchange.

BREAKING DOWN 'Warsaw Stock Exchange - WSE'

The WSE is a joint-stock company founded by the state treasury in 1991 following the overthrow of Poland’s communist regime in 1989. It was established as a modern stock exchange with electronic trading and dematerialized registration of securities. The first companies listed on the exchange were Tonsil, Prochnik, Krosno, Kable and Exbud.

Poland increased its trading volume after forming its pension system in 1999 and joining the European Union in 2004. Additionally, the WSE has become one of Europe’s more dynamic IPO markets and has the largest capitalization of all the exchanges in Central and Eastern Europe. Many economists expect that Eastern Europe will continue to be an area of rapid growth in the foreseeable future and the WSE will be sure to benefit from the increased investment.

The WSE operates through two businesses, the financial market and the commodity market. The financial market trades in equities, derivatives and fixed income. The commodity market trades in electricity and is one of the most liquid electricity markets in Europe. 

The WSE’s stated mission is to provide competitive exchange and clearing services, support economic growth and ensure high standards and safety of trading practices. The exchange trades Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. The main companies listed on the exchange are Poland-based and trade in Polish Zloty.

Corporate Social Responsibility 

Initiated by the WSE in 2009, the RESPECT Index is Central and Eastern Europe’s first index of socially responsible businesses. It covers companies from Poland and around the world that are listed on the WSE Main Market which follow the highest standards in corporate governance and disclosure, while also taking into account environmental and social principles. Companies in the index are screened by the WSE and the Polish Association of Listed Companies (SEG) in a three-stage review of these factors and are audited by the project partner.

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