The 250th Anniversary of the Vienna Stock Exchange

PeopleOther ♦ Published: September 14, 2021; 13:05 ♦ (Vindobona)

The Vienna Stock Exchange recently celebrated its 250th anniversary since it was founded by Maria Theresa. Minister of Finance Gernot Blümel congratulated the stock exchange on its anniversary and advocated for the implementation of a government program and retention periods to incentivize Austrians to invest in the domestic economy. Minister Blümel and Vienna Stock Exchange CEO Christoph Boschan both advocated for educating the public on financial topics. Read more about the Vienna Stock Exchange and what the pair said on its anniversary.

Austrian Finance Minister Gernot Blümel (left) and Vienna Stock Exchange CEO Christoph Boschan (right) at the 250th anniversary of the Vienna Stock Exchange. / Picture: © BMF - Federal Ministry of Finance - Bundesministerium für Finanzen / Alexander Felten / Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

The Vienna Stock Exchange recently celebrated its 250th anniversary. In the 250 years since its founding by Maria Theresa, the stock exchange transformed from a state-owned marketplace to a modern information technology and service provider.

Austrian Minister of Finance Gernot Blümel visited the stock exchange and congratulated it on its anniversary. He also took the opportunity to advocate for the implementation of a government program and retention periods. Blümel said, “We will particularly push for the reintroduction of the retention period to give Austrians a greater incentive to invest their money in the domestic economy. We will also strive for rapid implementation of the internationally proven model of the reconstruction fund, with which we are creating a flexible form of capital investment that is attractive to investors. At the same time, we will gradually reduce or avoid gold plating and introduce tax incentives to make a higher equity ratio more attractive for domestic companies.”

Blümel explained that the government program will also include a focus on educating the public on financial and economic issues and that a national strategy for this will be presented sometime in the fall.

On the occasion, CEO of the Vienna Stock Exchange Christoph Boschan said, “Innovations also pave the way to the CO2-free economy of the future. Industrial nations that know how to use the capital market will grow faster and more sustainably.”

Like Blümel, Boschan advocated for educating the public about investing so that more citizens will take the opportunity to intelligently invest in innovative companies. He said that knowledge of the stock market “must not remain an elite topic.”

To celebrate the anniversary, Ferdinand Habsburg-Lothringen, a descendant of Maria Theresa and racing driver, rang the opening bell. Afterward, he said, “It is a special honor for me to ring the stock exchange bell today and with it the start of the next 250 years. As in racing, nothing would run here without innovation.”

Future Forum

Throughout 2021, experts and academics discussed their outlook on the future at the stock exchange’s Future Forum. One recent topic was “Blockchain in the financial world – revolution or hype?.” A mini-documentary displays the path from Vienna’s trading floor to the electronic network.

250 years: A brief history of the Vienna Stock Exchange

The first attempts to establish a stock exchange in Austria were made in 1761. It was not until ten years later, on 1 August 1771, that Maria Theresa issued the charter establishing the state-run stock exchange with the goal of strengthening confidence in the state finances of the Habsburg Monarchy.

The first trading day in Vienna took place on 2 September 1771. In its early days, the Vienna Stock Exchange only offered trading in bonds, bills of exchange, and foreign currencies. Stockbrokers were known as ‘Sensale,’ and they ensured seamless trading and received a commission.

The first stock exchange was located at Kohlmarkt. Since then, it has moved about 15 times and is now located in Palais Caprara-Geymüller on Wallnerstrasse 8 in Vienna’s first district, not far from its original location.

The shares of the Austrian Central Bank were the first to be listed in Vienna in 1818. Investors have been able to trade the shares of PORR AG and Wienerberger AG since 1869. These are the two longest-listed companies on the Vienna Stock Exchange.

The Austrian benchmark index (ATX) was launched in 1991. The Xetra® system, introduced in 1999, allowed for fully automated trading and facilitated the connection of international trading members.

The Vienna Stock Exchange acquired partners in the region through cooperation agreements in Central and Eastern Europe and equity investments in the mid-2000s.

Today, its focus as a regional player is on providing stock market infrastructure and IT services. The Vienna Stock Exchange is nearly unmatched in its degree of diversification and efficiency by any other European stock exchange of similar size.

Vienna Stock Exchange

Austrian Ministry of Finance