On 16 August 1996, exactly 20 years ago, the last trading pit at SIX Swiss Exchange was closed. Since then, trading, clearing and settlement have been conducted with a single mouse click. The launch of a fully electronic trading system catapulted the Swiss Exchange to the cutting-edge and helped it assume a clear role as leader.
Start of a new era for the Swiss financial center
The trading changeover started in 1995. At the mid-point of 1995, the three floor-based stock exchanges in Geneva, Basel and Zurich merged to form SIX Swiss Exchange (then called SWX). On 8 December of the same year marked the start of the replacement of floor trading with electronic trading. After three-and-a-half years of project work, electronic trading started initially with the segement of foreign shares. Based on the success and the experience of the first migration stage, Swiss shares and options were subsequently switched over on 2 August 1996, and finally bonds on 16 August 1996.
SIX Swiss Exchange was the first stock exchange worldwide to switch from floor trading to electronic trading with fully integrated transaction processing and settlement. This created the Swiss Value Chain, which to this day occupies a unique position as an end-to-end value chain in the financial center infrastructure. As a result, market participants have since profited from particularly market-friendly conditions for listing and trading in highly liquid segments for equities, bonds, ETFs, ETPs, sponsored funds, sponsored foreign shares and structured products.
Electronic trading also passes stress test
The introduction of fully electronic trading elevated the Swiss financial center to new heights of efficiency and performance. Trading has become faster and more transparent, the volume has increased significantly and the trading participants have become more international. Accordingly, the demands on stability and reliability of trading systems have changed.
The capacity of electronic trading to cope with extraordinary events was also demonstrated on 15 January 2015. The Swiss National Bank raised the minimum rate of 1.20 CHF per Euro without prior notice, thereby causing a financial and market quake. With 949'988 trades and a trading turnover of CHF 27.7 billion, SIX Swiss Exchange registered new records on this day. Despite the unprecedented strain, all processes and systems functioned perfectly.
Thanks to continuous investment and a high level of innovation, SIX Swiss Exchange operates not only one of the world's most stable, but also one of the most fastest stock exchanges.