The history of the Brussels Stock Exchange begins in the early nineteenth century. The first exchange – the Bourse de Fonds Publics de Bruxelles – was established by decree on 13 Messidor An IX (2 July 1801) under the government of Napoleon in Belgium. The former Saint Augustine Convent on the Rue Fossé-aux-Loups was chosen for the original premises. Following the sale of the convent buildings, the stock exchange was permitted to do business in the national mint, the Hôtel des Monnaies. When the mint reopened in 1820, the brokers rented a house on the Rue Guillaume, now called the Rue Léopold.
By 1858, the bourse was flourishing amidst an economic and industrial boom, and had outgrown the Rue Guillaume premises. The brokers and traders urged the municipality of Brussels to build a new stock exchange. The new exchange was built on the site of the 13th-century Récollets Convent and completed in 1874.
Belgium was under French rule from 1795 to 1814. It became a fully independent country in 1831, but retained much of the French system. Throughout this period, agents de change, or brokers, were ministerial officials. They had a monopoly on trading in government securities (a system that remained in place in France until 1987) but were not permitted to deal for own account.
Under the free-market philosophy of the time, the stockbroking profession and exchanges were fully deregulated. But in the early part of the 20th century, an attempt was made to regulate brokerages as part of a broader plan to stimulate the economy and the capital markets.
In December 1990, the Financial Transactions and Markets Act helped modernize Belgium's stock markets and made them more competitive on an international basis. Subsequent decrees established the exchange’s capacity to operate on a pan-European basis.
In April 1999, the Brussels Exchanges (BXS) was established as an integrated market operator comprised of Belfox (Belgian Futures and Options Exchange), Bourse de Bruxelles (Brussels stock exchange) and CIK (the central securities depository). In September 2000, the Brussels Exchanges merged with the Paris Bourse and Amsterdam Exchanges to form Euronext, the first pan-European exchange.