What Is the Oslo Stock Exchange (OSL)?

What Is the Oslo Stock Exchange (OSL)?

5 Min.

The Oslo Stock Exchange, also known as Oslo Børs, is Norway's only regulated securities exchange. It was established in 1819, privatized in 2001, and acquired by Euronext in 2019. Although mostly Norwegian, foreign companies are also encouraged to list on the exchange, which operates fully electronically.


In the heart of Oslo, the capital city of Norway, stands the distinguished Oslo Stock Exchange (OSL), serving as the nation's foremost stock market. This revered exchange is the preeminent regulated marketplace in the region for trading diverse securities, encompassing equities, bonds, and exchange-traded products (ETPs). Notably, as of the year 2022, the exchange's market capitalization stood at approximately $295.55 billion.

With roots tracing back to its establishment in 1819, the exchange's journey took a significant turn in 2019 when it became an integral part of Euronext, underlining its global prominence. Moreover, through its affiliation with the NOREX alliance, the exchange has cultivated a captivating allure for foreign investment, further enhancing its international stature.

Exploring the Oslo Stock Exchange (OSL)

Referred to as Oslo Børs, the Oslo Stock Exchange holds a significant status as Norway's chief stock market. It stands singularly as the nation's regulated securities exchange, established within the vibrant capital of Oslo.

The exchange trades a wide range of financial assets, including derivatives, certain funds, shares, bonds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and other ETPs. As of the year 2022, there were more than 340 companies with equity shares listed on the exchange. These businesses represent a variety of industries, including energy, seafood, and shipping. Even though Norwegian public limited firms account for the majority of the securities listed on the OSL, foreign corporations also trade on the exchange.

The Oslo OBX Index emerges as a channel for investment, encapsulating the 25 most fluid securities within the exchange. This composite entity undergoes biannual revision, grounded in market data gleaned on the first Monday following the third Friday of June and December.

In 1999, the Oslo Stock Exchange embarked on an entirely electronic journey. Within the time span of 9:00 a.m. to 4:20 p.m. local time, trading thrives throughout the week, excepting seven national holidays and an annual partial trading day.

The currency of transactions on this exchange orbits around the Norwegian Krone, perpetuating the nation's financial narrative.

Evolution of the Oslo Stock Exchange

Origins and Transformation

In 1819, the Christiana Børs came into being, offering merchants a space for networking and trading commodities like lumber. Notably, the transition to an official stock exchange occurred in 1881, signifying its emergence as a platform for securities trading. The appellation shift to Oslo Børs transpired in the early 1900s.

Modern Shifts and Ownership Transition

The late 1990s witnessed the ascent of brokerage firms, altering the trading dynamics by eliminating the need for physical interactions. Consequently, OSL embraced privatization, adopting the status of a limited liability company (LLC) in 2001. Further, the confluence of Oslo Børs and VPS Holding yielded Oslo Børs VPS Holding ASA, securing official exchange ownership in 2007.

NOREX Partnership and Global Prospects

Galvanized by the pursuit of international investment, the Oslo Stock Exchange united forces with the NOREX alliance in 2000. This alliance encompasses the exchanges of Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Iceland, harmonizing trading platforms and regulations for participants.

A Duel for Dominance

The realm of control beckoned Nasdaq and Euronext, both contenders seeking a foothold through competing offers. Albeit Nasdaq garnered support from major shareholders, Euronext's offer triumphed in 2019, facilitated by the endorsement of the country's finance ministry. The acquisition's culmination materialized in June 2019.

Unveiling Listing Prerequisites

Companies vying for Oslo Stock Exchange's listing must fulfill stipulated requirements. This mandate entails the divulgence of ownership history, shares, and market value data, serving as pivotal tenets for participation.

Interlinked Market Arenas

Inclusive of the primary exchange, Oslo Børs VPS Holding ASA steers the trajectory across four additional market domains. These distinct arenas comprise Oslo Axess, Merkur Market, Nordic ABM, and Oslo Connect.

Unveiled in 2007, Oslo Axess emerged as a sanctioned market within the Oslo Exchange, engineered to nurture the expansion of nascent companies not yet attaining prerequisites for Oslo Stock Exchange listing.

Introduced in 2016, Merkur Market operates as a multilateral trading facility (MTF), facilitating trade for small and medium-sized enterprises. This unique platform extends the scope to privately held limited companies and analogous foreign counterparts. Merkur Market boasts unparalleled efficiency, permitting qualified entrants to commence trading within a mere fortnight.

Emanating in 2005, Nordic ABM established itself as an alternative bond market. While not structured as a regulated market or multilateral trading facility, Oslo Stock Exchange oversees regulations, fees, and registration protocols for bonds desiring Nordic ABM affiliation.

Functioning as a regulated multilateral trading facility, Oslo Connect serves as an over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives marketplace. Participation mandates a dual agreement with Oslo Børs and a collaborative clearinghouse.

Purchasing Norwegian Stocks

For direct access to the most fluid Norwegian stocks, the ideal avenue is trading on the Oslo Stock Exchange. Here, your orders find rapid fulfillment within the realm of liquidity. Alternatively, you can engage with Norwegian stocks through American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) on U.S. markets. An ADR, acquired on a U.S. exchange, symbolizes a predefined share quantity of a foreign enterprise's stock.

In the context of U.S. markets, a limited trio of Norwegian companies presents ADR options as of the year 2022: Equinor (EQNR), Idex Biometrics (IDBA), and Opera (OPRA). This signifies a potential avenue to engage with Norwegian equity while rooted in U.S. exchanges.


While Norway stands distinct from the EU as a non-member, the Oslo Stock Exchange, overseen by Euronext, finds its administrative hub in Amsterdam. As a regulated EU market, the Oslo Stock Exchange holds a unique stature within Norway as its sole regulated exchange, accommodating approximately 340 companies alongside an array of financial instruments.

Oslo Stock Exchange (OSL)