Preparing the PARIS meeting in September

Date June 1, 2010

Dear all

In order to prepare the Paris conference in September I think it would be a good thing if every one of the participants could provide some detailed information with regard to the stock exchanges and company related information available (and some of this perhaps already digitized) for his/her country.

I did the exercise for Belgium. I will prepare a document with an overview of the data available for all European countries. But of course this depends upon your help. Please would you send me a “state of the art” with information on what kind of documents/data you have at your disposal by now? I add the information for Belgium !

Kind regards from Belgium 

Frans

Although Antwerp had a long tradition in stock exchange life (the first stock exchange of the world has here been built around 1531), the market almost disappeared after the Spanish conquest of the town (1585) and the migration of so many people to Amsterdam.

During the Napoleonic era it was decided that stock exchanges would be founded in several places in the Belgian territories. Antwerp took the lead but was soon passed by Brussels. For Belgium the first IPO (stocks) on the Brussels stock exchange was in 1824, although the BSE was founded in 1801. Until then only bonds were listed. By the 1840s Brussels had already around 40 stocks on the listings, whereas Antwerp only had 5 stocks. By the turn of the century Brussels had grown to one of the ten most important stock exchanges (in terms of market cap per capita). After the crisis of the 1930s the BSE gradually declined. Early in the 21st century it merger with the stock exchange of Paris and Amsterdam into Euronext, later on Euronext merged with the NYSE, with the BSE becoming Euronext Brussels.

Years ago, the University of Antwerp signed an official agreement with Euronext Brussels in becoming a privileged partner. All of the historical archives as well as the official quotation lists are kept by SCOB, the Stock Exchange and Company Study Center of the University of Antwerp’s Finance Department. Besides many other documents on the stock exchange have been collected from various sources.

SCOB (University of Antwerp) has at its disposal the original official quotation lists of the Stock Exchange of Antwerp (from 1844 until the end) and those of the Brussels Stock Exchange (1832; 1834; 1839; 1846; 1847; 1853-until now). The Brussels Stock Exchange lists provide us daily stock and bond prices for all private companies as well as government bonds and municipalities, dividends (from 1873 on), numbers of stock (from 1878 on).

The official quotation lists is the main source of the digitalizing efforts of SCOB. Until 2010 only the Brussels Stock Exchange lists have been used for digitalizing (those of Antwerp have not been digitized at that time). This has been done for all stocks on a monthly basis (for prices and numbers of stocks); all dividends have been digitized. The work is continuously updated.

For the missing data as well as for double checking data other sources are available

An outstanding publication by an official commission of stock brokers with stock and bond prices (quarterly basis) for 1835-1855 (Commission des Agents de Change. “Fluctuations de la Bourse pendant une période de vingt ans 1835 à 1855 ou statistique des fonds publiques,” Brussels. 1855) (digitized by Google, public available on the internet).

A weakly stock exchange price list was published in the “Bulletin Officiel », later on the « Moniteur Belge ». It was composed by an official commission of stock brokers.

In 1839 Trioen published official statutes on all companies created before 1839. See : Trioen L.F.B. (1839), Collection des statuts de toutes les sociétés anonymes et en commandite par actions de la Belgique, 2 volumes, Brussels.

In 1859 Van Damme discusses all stock quoted companies. See : Van Damme E. (1859), Manuel du financier des opérations en fonds publics et des sociétés par actions en Belgique, Ghent : Verhulst.

 Courtois published eight successive volumes in the period 1855-1883 with (retrospective) information on companies, stocks, dividends etc.  See: Courtois A., Manuel des fonds publics et des sociétés par actions, eight volumes (1855-1883), Paris : Garnier Frères

Demeur published detailed (also retrospective) company information between 1857-1884 but goes back in his 1857 volume on the first incorporated companies. See : Demeur A. (1859), Les sociétés anonymes en Belgique, 4 volumes, Brussels

The 1864 publications of Vitu and Limauge consider stock and dividend information. See: Vitu A. (1864), Guide Financier. Répertoire général des valeurs financières et industrielles cotées sur les bourses Françaises et sur les principaux marchés de l’Europe, de l’Amérique et des Indes, Paris: Hachette ; Limauge E. (1864), La bourse et les agents de change. Etudes suivies d'un aperçu sur la lettre de change et d'une notice sur toutes les valeurs côtées à la bourse de Bruxelles, Brussels : Office de Publicité.

Later on students of that period published detailed information on companies. Frère studied all of the companies founded in Belgium for 1830-1914. The historical records of Laureyssens are the result of a detailed study of all of the archives of all companies for 1819 until 1857. She also gives further information until the corporate law of 1873. She classified all corporations within sectors, gave detailed accounts of the numbers of stocks and bonds and provided also information on dividends. See : Laureyssens, J. (1975), Industriële naamloze vennootschappen in België 1819-1857, Louvain: Nauwelaerts; Frère, L. (1938, 1951), Etude historique des sociétés anonymes Belges, 2 volumes, Brussels, Desmet-Verteneuil.

From 1893 on the Recueil Financier was published on an annual basis until 1975 (with detailed company information on all companies) as well as four monographs of Liévin Coppin on all stock quoted companies.

See: Coppin, L., Répertoire des sociétés par actions dont les titres se négocient plus spécialement en Belgique, 4 volumes (1893-1901), Brussels : Librairie de l’Economiste Internationale ; Recueil Financier, various issues, Brussels: Bruylant.

“Les Dossiers Financiers (Keesing)” starting in 1873 until 1940, report on company information.

Moniteur Belge, Bijlagen bij het Belgisch staatsblad, report on every company for the annual meetings of shareholders, statutes etc (since 1873).

Finally several newspapers offer extensive information. So did the Moniteur des Intérêts Matériels, the Beurzencourant, the Journal de Commerce d’Anvers, Anvers-Bourse, Echo de la Bourse and others for the 19th century and some of them for into the 20th century among others. For the last decades (since 1970) the Financieel-Economische Tijd as well as the TIJD provide detailed information on stocks, dividends, numbers of stock etc. The Brussels Stock Exchange kept detailed information on all stocks (1975-2001) comparable to the high quality data of the Recueil Financier. Besides, the “Memento der Effecten” published detailed stock and company information since 1943 until now.


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