Iceland Stock Exchange
The Iceland Stock Exchange, operating under the name Nasdaq Iceland and also known as ICEX, was established in 1985 as a joint venture of several banks and brokerage firms on the initiative of the central bank. Trading began in 1986 in Icelandic government bonds, and trading in equities began in 1990. Equities trading increased rapidly thereafter. A wide variety of firms are currently listed on the exchange, including firms in retail, fishing, transportation, banks, insurance and numerous other areas. Because of the small size of the Icelandic economy and the low cost of public listing, many of the companies traded on the ICEX are relatively small and are relatively illiquid.
All domestic trading of Icelandic bonds, equities, and mutual funds takes place on the ICEX. Bonds and equities are regularly traded, though the liquidity is small in comparison with other exchanges. No mutual funds are currently listed on the market. Since its founding, the ICEX has used various electronic systems. Since 2000, it has used the SAXESS system of the NOREX alliance, which allows for the cross-listing of stocks on Nordic stock exchanges. No foreign company lists directly on the ICEX, as the small size and illiquidity of the market make such a move redundant. Conversely, few Icelandic firms have listed abroad, including DeCODE. Faroese bonds were listed on behalf of Virðisbrævamarknaður Føroya in November 2003, and since December 2007 four Faroese equities have been listed on the OMX Nordic Exchange in Iceland.
Since 1 January 1999, the ICEX has operated as a private company, owned by the listed companies (29%), member firms (29%), the Central Bank of Iceland (16%), pension funds (13%) and the Association of Small Investors (13%).