The concept of launching a capital market in Iran dates back to 1936 when authorities, in an attempt to accelerate industrialization process, engaged experts from exchanges all around the world to conduct researches about the possibility of establishing a stock market in Iran. The result was a report outlining recommendations with respect to necessary legal and business frameworks as a proper foundation for a capital market in Iran. However, global economic and political developments such as outbreak of WWII postponed introduction of a formal capital market.
Following economic and social developments and industrial boom in the 1960s, raising capital for businesses turned into a necessity. Therefore, initiating capital market with diverse financial instruments became high on the government’s agenda, hence Securities Market Act was ratified by the Iranian parliament in May 1966. The Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE) officially commenced operations in April 1967 to encourage private sector’s participation in bolstering Iran’s already booming economy.
During the 1970s, the rapid economic expansion led to more listings on the TSE and accordingly the number of listed companies rose to 105 in 1975.
Economic developments following the Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1979 required control of the economy to be transferred to the public sector. This led to lack of adequate attention paid by the private sector. Simultaneously, the introduction of Islamic banking laws led to the nullification of interest rates and the end of bond trading on the capital market. Moreover, eight years of the imposed war caused the equity market to enter a sluggish phase.
Trading on the TSE entered a growth phase following the first post-war Budget Act, enacted in March 1989, which substantially promoted the private sector’s role in revival of the economy. The TSE, dormant for almost ten years, was then entrusted as an efficient, dependable and equitable vehicle with privatization of state-owned entities and for channeling capital into the appropriate sectors of the economy.
New Securities Market Act (the Act) of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 40 years after the establishment of the TSE, was ratified by the Iranian Parliament in November 2005 to respond to new financial environment and provide a more advanced capital market. Based on this new law, the supervision and administration function was assigned to two separate bodies, i.e. the SEO and TSE.
The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran announced the general policies of Article 44 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Iran (Article 44) in 2006. Based on the state-owned privatization plan stated in Article 44, the government was assigned with the task to gradually issue shares of many state-owned companies through initial public offerings. This led to giant companies from diverse industries to be listed on one of the exchanges.
The Law for Development of New Financial Instruments and Institutions (The Development Act) was ratified in 2009 to facilitate implementation of Article 44 which paved the way for new entities (e.g. investment banks and different funds), new instruments (e.g. Islamic securities) and new markets (e.g. Iran Fara Bourse and Iran Energy Exchange) to practically commence operation. Ever since, the SEO has been the regulatory and supervisory authority of Iran capital market with four main exchanges and other corroborative bodies.