25 years of highs and lows

2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the BEL 20, our national blue chip index which is based on the performance of the 20 most representative companies for the Belgian market.

In1991, the Belgian financial world was introduced to a new kind of index. Up until then, only global indices served as benchmark, including all listed stocks on the markets in question. Financial innovation and modernization of the portfolio management techniques led to the appearance of a second kind of indices: indices representing a basket of well-defined stocks on which options and futures contracts are based. The BEL 20 is part of this generation. The index had to be representative for the entire Belgian market as well as liquid and diversified enough to be traded smoothly. In this way, the index today serves as an underlying for structured products, funds, exchange traded funds, options and futures.

Today, the liquidity of the index is eight times higher than 25 years ago. Through the years, the index offered an average yearly return of 8.7%, dividend included.   

Seven of its original constituents are still represented in BEL 20: Ageas (ex-Fortis, ex-AG), Bekaert, Delhaize, GBL, Solvay, UCB and Umicore. Four other companies are to some extent still present as part of a larger entity: Electrabel, Générale de Belgique and Tractebel through Engie; and Gevaert through KBC.

By charting 25 years of uninterrupted highs and lows, the BEL 20 not only played its part in measuring the evolution of our financial markets, it also became one of our strongest brands, the most widely recognised symbol of the Belgian market.

Vincent Van Dessel, Chairman and CEO, Euronext Brussels

Vincent Van Dessel,
Chairman and CEO, Euronext Brussels

Charting 25 years of the BEL 20 index

Historic Events

19/08/1991 – Soviet coup d’état attempt
04/01/1993 – First annual revision of the BEL 20
01/01/1999 – Introduction of the Euro
10/03/2000 – Dot-com collapse
22/09/2000 – Creation of Euronext
11/09/2001 – World Trade Center attack
23/05/2007 – All time high
15/09/2008 – Bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers
20/06/2014 – IPO Euronext