The Polish stock market is a relatively new concept in contemporary Poland, and although there was a trading platform of sorts opened as early as 1817 (selling mostly bills of exchange and bonds (weksle i obligacje), which continued operation until the outbreak of World War II, the new Warsaw Stock Exchange (Giełda Papierów Wartościowych w Warszawie) started trading in 1991 following a period of non-existence during the communist regime. It was a difficult time for the investors as there were only few out there who actually knew what stocks and bonds meant, and how to trade these instruments. Today the situation is very different, with the majority of the population aware of the various financial instruments available and the ways they can be traded. Many have access to online personal trading accounts with stock brokerages, allowing them to sell and buy shares, bonds, derivatives and all sorts of other assets in real time.
The Warsaw Stock Exchange, although not a giant in comparison to the New York or London Stock Exchanges, plays an important role in this part of the world, ranking second in Europe (preceded only by the London Stock Exchange) in terms of the amount of proceeds raised through IPOs.
So if you are planning to invest in the Polish stock market (rynek giełdowy) you will be well advised to get to know the Polish industry first, and gain an understanding of the types of financial instruments available, as well as the ways they can be traded. The rules of trading are set by the WSE, but the actual stock trading activity in Poland is supervised by the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (Komisja Nadzoru Finansowego), being a rough equivalent of the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Track the leading stock index in Poland, the WIG (Warszawski Indeks Giełdowy), over a longer period of time to see how the market is doing. Once in possession of the necessary knowledge and equipped with a substantial deposit, you are ready to start trading.
The first thing you need to do is to set up a brokerage account (rachunek maklerski), offered by most high-street banks as well as some other financial institutions, such as independent stock brokerages (niezależne domy maklerskie). They will provide the technical means of trading by allowing you to deposit funds with them (przekazać or zapewnić środki) to be later used for buying and selling securities (papiery wartościowe) or other instruments to build your portfolio (stworzyć portfel). These may include shares (akcje), bonds (obligacje), derivatives (instrumenty pochodne or derywaty), options (opcje), investment certificates (certyfikaty inwestycyjne), and others. Bear in mind that the brokerage will charge you commission (pobierze prowizję) for their services. You will also be provided with access to an online trading platform (internetowa platforma obrotu papierami wartościowymi) which you will use to buy and sell the securities of your choice.
Some people in Poland have also recently taken to Forex trading (handel na rynku walutowym), trying to win on short-term purchases of lower valued currencies while selling them when they start to gain. This is a highly risky undertaking and should only be recommended to those with a in-depth understanding of the Forex market.
In general, stock trading has become much easier over the last decades, with the market growing and offering more and more options for your investments. Electronic trading has contributed to the popularity of this type of investing your money, but this can be a very demanding and hazardous business, so you need to be well prepared and aware of the risks you are taking. Powodzenia na giełdzie! (Good luck at the stock exchange!)