The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) was created by the merger of the Australian Stock Exchange and the Sydney Futures Exchange in July 2006. It is the primary stock exchange group—a form of exchange which provides services for stock brokers and traders to trade stocks, bonds, and other securities—in Australia.
Confidence in the operations of the companies within the Group is reinforced by the whole-of-market regulation undertaken by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) across all listing and trading venues, as well as the oversight by the Reserve Bank of Australia of the Group’s clearing and settlement facilities for financial system stability. ASIC also supervises ASX’s own compliance as a public company with ASX Listing Rules.
ASX offers products and series including shares; futures, exchange traded options, warrants, contracts for difference, exchange traded funds, real estate investment trusts, listed investment companies and interest rate securities.
The biggest stocks traded in the ASX, in terms of their market capitalization, include: BHP Billiton, an Anglo-Australian multinational mining, oil and gas company headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, and with a major management office in London, United Kingdom; the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, an Australian multinational bank with businesses across New Zealand, Fiji, Asia, USA and the United Kingdom; Westpac (a portmanteau of “Western-Pacific,” registered as Westpac Banking Corporation), a multinational financial services, one of the Australian “big four” banks and the second-largest bank in New Zealand; Telstra Corporation Limited (known as Telstra), an Australian telecommunications and media company, building and operating telecommunications networks andmarketing voice, mobile, internet access and pay television products and services; Rio Tinto Group, a British-Australian multinational; metals and mining corporation with headquarters in London, UK and a management office in Melbourne, Australia; National Australia Bank (abbreviated “NAB,” branded “nab”), one of the four largest financial institutions in Australia in terms of market capitalization and customers; and, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, commonly called “ANZ,” the fourth largest bank in Australia, after the Commonwealth Bank, Westpac Banking Corporation and the National Australia Bank. As of March 2010, the three largest sectors by market capitalization were financial (36%), metal and mining (22%) and consumer (13%).
The major market index is the S&P/ASX 200 index, a market-capitalization weighted and float-adjusted stock market index of Australian stocks listed on the Australian Securities Exchange from Standard & Poor’s. It is an index made up of the top 200 shares in the ASX. This supplanted the previously significant All Ordinaries index (colloquially, the “All Ords;” also known as the “All Ordinaries Index,” AOI), the oldest index of shares in Australia, so called because it contains nearly all ordinary (or common) shares listed on ASX, which still runs parallel to the S&P ASX 200. Both are commonly quoted together. Other indices for the bogger stocks are the S&P/ASX 50 Index, a stock market index of Australian stocks listed on the Australian Securities Exchangefrom Standard & Poor’s.
The current Managing Director and CEO, Mr. Elmer Funke Kupper, was appointed on October 2011. Prior to joining ASX, he was Managing Director and CEO of Tabcorp from September 2007 to June 2011.