The first publicly traded stock exchange in Iceland – Kauphöll Íslands – did not come into existence until the year 1985. Icelandic Government Bonds started trading on the exchange in 1986 and the first listed equity securities started trading in 1990.
In 2006, the Kauphöll Íslands merged with OMX Nordic Exchange and only a year later, OMX – which at that time controlled 7 Nordic and Baltic exchanges – was acquired by Nasdaq. After the financial crises of 2007-2008, the stock exchange was nearly wiped out in its entirety as banks were a significant part of the total market capitalization and many other constituencies where overleveraged.
The 2009 Stock Market Crash
After reaching a peak of 3495.28 on the 20th of July 2007, the OMX Iceland All-Shares Index collapsed to its bottom at 167.77 on April 8, 2009, a fall of 95.2% from top to bottom. Nine years later, the index was yet to reach 670.
Books about the Icelandic Stock Exchange and the Financial Crisis
- Why Iceland?: How One of the World’s Smallest Countries Became the Meltdown’s Biggest Casualty by Ásgeir Jónsson
- The Icelandic Financial Crisis: A Study into the World´s Smallest Currency Area and its Recovery from Total Banking Collapse by Ásgeir Jónsson
- Billions to Bust and Back: How I made, lost and rebuilt a fortune, and what I learned on the way by Thor Bjorgolfsson
- Iceland and the International Financial Crisis: Boom, Bust and Recovery by Eiríkur Bergmann
- Frozen Assets: How I Lived Iceland’s Boom and Bust by Ármann Þorvaldsson
As noted before, most of the casualties were financial institutions, but who were the survivors? When the dust had settled, 4 companies still traded on the OMX Iceland. What they all had in common was that they did their market area extended outside of Iceland.
- Icelandair Group is a holding company that owns operating subsidiaries active in the airline industry, hotels, travel agency other travel-related companies, primarily active on the Icelandic travel market
- Marel specializes in the development and production of highly technical production equipment for the fish, poultry and meat industries. The company operates in over 30 countries and is by far the biggest of the four based on market capitalization.
- Nýherji (now rebranded into Origo) is an IT company with operations in Iceland and Denmark. Tempo Software is a fully owned subsidiary of Origo.
- Össur specialized in the development and production of non-invasive orthopaedics equipment and prosthetics. The company operates in 15 countries and is also listed on the Danish stock exchange.
First North Iceland
The First North stock exchange is Nasdaq’s European growth market, designed for small and growing companies. Although the market runs parallel to the main OMX market and shares are traded in the trading system, the First North uses a less extensive rulebook than the main market. This makes listing more attainable to smaller companies.
After the Financial Crisis of 2007-2008, three stock traded on First North Iceland:
- Icelandic Seafood.
- Sláturfélag Suðurlands B-shares.
The OMX Iceland 8 Stock Index
The OMX Iceland 8 Index is Nasdaq Iceland’s leading index and consists of the eight most liquid shares on the Exchange. The index was originally launched as the OMX Iceland 6 to replace the OMX Iceland 15 Index, which went defunct during the 2009 Stock Market Collapse.
The weight of the shares in the OMX 8 Index is based on the free float-adjusted market value, which means that only the part of the share capital that is considered available for trading is included in the index.
As of January 2, 2019, the OMX Iceland 8 Index constituents are:
- Eik fasteignafélag hf. (EIK)
- Festi hf. (FESTI)
- Hagar hf. (HAGA)
- Icelandair Group hf. (ICEAIR)
- Marel hf. (MARL)
- Reginn hf. (REGINN)
- Reitir fasteignafélag hf. (REITIR)
- Síminn hf. (SIMINN)
In 2013, Nasdaq OMX introduced the NOMXI Benchmark Bond Index family. NOMXI is a suite of indices tracking the Icelandic government bond market. The indices are based on Icelandic nominal and inflation-linked benchmark bonds that are listed and traded on Nasdaq OMX Iceland.
The indices are capped market value weighted total return indices and are calculated in Icelandic Krona (ISK). All three indices are also available in a market-weighted non-capped version. The index values are calculated at the end of each trading day and are denominated in ISK.
There are three separate indexes that belong to the NOMXI family:
- NOMXI Benchmark Bonds Index
- NOMXI Nominal Benchmark Bonds Index
- NOMXI Inflation-Linked Benchmark Bonds Index
Landsbréf LEQ is an exchange-traded-fund domiciled in Iceland. The fund seeks to track the performance of the OMX Iceland 8 PI Cap ISK index. The ETF was launched in 2013 and is the first and only ETF to track an Iceland stock index since 2004.
There are currently 11 Members of the Nasdaq OMX, which all have access to Equity, Derivatives and Fixed Income markets. There are 9 financial institutions and two governmental organizations.
- Artica Finance hf. (trading ID: ARF)
- Arion Banki hf. (trading ID: KAU)
- Fossar markaðir hf. (trading ID: FOS)
- H.F. Verðbréf hf. (trading ID: HFV)
- Islandsbanki hf. (trading ID: ISB)
- Íslensk Verðbréf hf. (trading ID: IVE)
- Íslenskir Fjárfestar hf. (trading ID: IFJ)
- Kvika Banki hf. (trading ID: KVB)
- Landsbankinn hf. (trading ID: LAI)
- Endurlán Ríkissjóðs (Trading ID: ELR)
- The Central Bank of Iceland (Trading ID: SBI)
The trading hours on the Nasdaq OMX Iceland Stock Exchange are from 9:30-15:30 (GMT). This applies to the following markets:
- Nasdaq OMX Equities
- Equity Rights
- Certificates and ETNs, ETFs, Investment Funds and other Collective Investment Schemes
- First North Equities
- Fixed Income
Holiday schedules can be found here.
For more information about publicly traded securities in Iceland, contact us through the contact form below: