The AEX Index celebrates its 40th anniversary
Today, exactly forty years ago, the Amsterdam Stock Exchange Index, or AEX Index, was created. Born under the name European Options Exchange (EOE), AEX was the brainchild of Options Exchange Director Tjerk Westerterp, and has grown into a massive options exchange with the 25 largest exchange companies.
The idea came on the train to Belgium or Luxembourg, son Stan Westertrip recalls. According to Westerterp, his father wanted to create an index that would allow options trading. “This idea came from the United States,” he says. At that time, they initially compiled a catalog of twelve names. Some of them are still known in AEX; Heineken, Shell, Unilever, Philips, names like that.
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The European Options Exchange started in 1983, and began to put one hundred in Guilders. According to Westerterp, it became a fairly quick success, especially because it made it possible to trade an index on a daily basis. “But also because an index was created that was calculated every fifteen seconds every day,” Westerterp continues. In this way you can also follow the development. It is often said that the location of the indicator is a kind of barometer of the Dutch economy.
Since Father Westerter drew inspiration from large US funds such as Standard & Poor’s and Dow Jones, he had high hopes that this would be a successful move, says Stan Westerter. He continues, “It was absolutely revolutionary at the time.” It was one of the first indicators launched in Europe. The Germans and the French came later, so it was also good for the Americans to see how things were on the other side of the pond.
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But Westertrip says the focus has shifted increasingly to international indices in recent years. For example, the Eurostocks 50 has become very important for Europe, and MSCI World has become the main focus all over the world. “For professional investors, the AEX is of less interest.”
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