The Barcelona Stock Exchange
The Barcelona Stock Exchange was organised as a “Free Market” until 1914, refusing the possibility of becoming an official market when the 1831 law was passed , which regulated the creation of this kind of establishments. In fact, the Madrid Stock Exchange was formed under this law.
During this long period of time, the Catalan stock market was the first Variable Income Market in Spain, with regular connections to the Paris and London markets. From 1914, the 'Official Market' was made mandatory in Barcelona as opposed to the 'Free Market' which continued until the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. Afterwards, a market was consolidated within the exclusive framework of official trading. This kind of market fairly competed against other Spanish financial locations. It also competed against the inevitable forces derived from a strong political process that favoured centralism and the consequent relocation of corporate head offices, which started to move to Spain’s capital.
The 1988 law for the Reform of Stock Markets declared the Barcelona Stock Exchange as a public limited company and decreed an interconnected market. This decision involved a loss of attributions, as much in the functional field as in its relation to identity prerogatives. The 2002 creation of the ‘Bolsas y Mercados Españoles’ (BME, the ‘Spanish Stock Exchanges and Markets’), in which the different shareholders of Spanish stock exchanges decided to become a holding company, encouraged a dissociating movement that would end on the 14th of July 2006, the date in which the Stock Exchange goes on the stock market.
Nowadays, the Barcelona stock market channels 23% of the variable income transactions in Spain and more than 28% of the total business volume through its 33 members. They include Securities Companies (Sociedades de Valores), Securities Agencies (Agencias de Valores) and Credit Entities. They represent a little over 50% of the mediators authorized to operate in the Spanish market. The majority of participation (95%) in the trading of fixed income stands out, based on an asset exclusively negotiated at the Barcelona Stock Exchange: the Catalan Public Debt, for which a specialised market was created.
Dr. Joan Hortalà i Arau
Chairman of the Barcelona Stock Exchange