The SMI celebrates 30th anniversary with exhibition

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July 19, 2018 – One of the predecessor organizations of SIX launched the SMI 30 years ago. On 1 July 1988, the then Association of Swiss Securities Exchanges published the Swiss Market Index (SMI) for the first time. To mark this anniversary, the Swiss Finance Museum in Zurich-West is holding a year-long special exhibition from 1 June 2018 onward: “30 years SMI: stock market indices explained”.

Bear and Bull are at the center of this exhibition. Photo: Swiss Finance Museum.))

A great deal has happened since the SMI was launched. Over the course of its eventful history, the index has risen almost sixfold. The benchmark now covers around 80% of the Swiss equity market’s entire capitalization. As the Swiss stock market’s best-known reference index, it is still used by providers of financial products from across the world. The SMI is also used as a reference value and underlying for index-based investments such as ETFs. The SMI is as important as ever: the SMI stocks of Nestlé and Novartis have the two highest market capitalizations in Europe and along with Roche are among Europe’s top five. 

The history of the SMI explained. Photo: Swiss Finance Museum.

As you would expect, events over the past 30 years have left their mark on the SMI’s performance over time, which provides a portrayal of defining events and illustrates the context in which corporate mergers, changes to the index rules and product launches took place. You can find a concise selection of historical highlights here. 

Other indices are showcased as well. Photo: Swiss Finance Museum.

The Swiss Finance Museum is marking the anniversary by re-telling the history of the SMI while explaining the origin and significance of stock market indices in general. For example, a share certificate of General Electric Company takes us back to the era in which the Dow Jones indices and the Wall Street Journal were founded. The new special exhibition also uses touchscreen installations, 3D elements and an extended free smartphone audio guide to outline the trend in the Swiss economy over the last 30 years. In addition, historical securities from eight selected Swiss companies that have played a key role in the country’s commercial life give visitors an insight into the recent past of the Swiss economy. The exhibits are part of the world’s largest and most important collection of historical securities.

You can find the museum online here. 

This video takes you on a tour through the museum.

More on Zurich’s money history in our article on the topic.