The London Stock Exchange (LSE) is a stock exchange located in the City of London, England. As of December 2014[update], the Exchange had a market capitalisation of US$6.06 trillion (short scale), making it the third-largest stock exchange in the world by this measurement (the largest in Europe ahead of Euronext). The Exchange was founded in 1801 and its current premises are situated in Paternoster Square close to St Paul's Cathedral in the City of London. The Exchange is part of the London Stock Exchange Group.
London Stock Exchange is one of the world’s oldest stock exchanges and can trace its history back more than 300 years. The London Stock Exchange Group was created in October 2007 when London Stock Exchange merged with Milan Stock Exchange, Borsa Italiana.
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During the 17th century, stockbrokers were not allowed in the Royal Exchange due to their rude manners. They had to operate from other establishments in the vicinity, notably Jonathan's Coffee-House. At that coffee house, a broker named John Casting started listing the prices of a few commodities, such as salt, coal, and paper, and exchange rates in 1698. Originally, this was not a daily list and was only published a few days of the week.
This list and activity was later moved to Garraway's coffee house. Public auctions during this period were conducted for the duration that a length of tallow candle could burn; these were known as "by inch of candle" auctions. As stocks grew, with new companies joining to raise capital, the royal court also raised some monies. These are the earliest evidence of organised trading in marketable securities in London.
After Gresham's Royal Exchange building was destroyed in the Great Fire of London, it was rebuilt and re-established in 1669. This was a move away from coffee houses and a step towards the modern model of stock exchange.
The Royal Exchange housed not only brokers but also merchants and merchandise. This was the birth of a regulated stock market, which had teething problems in the shape of unlicensed brokers. In order to regulate these, Parliament brought out an Act in 1697 that levied heavy penalties, both financial and physical, on those brokering without a licence. It also set a fixed number of brokers (at 100), but this was later increased as the size of the trade grew. This limit led to several problems, one of which was that traders began leaving the Royal Exchange, either by their own decision or through expulsion, and started dealing in the streets of London. The street in which they were now dealing was known as 'Exchange Alley', or 'Change Alley'; it was suitably placed close to the Bank of England. Parliament tried to regulate this and ban the unofficial traders from the Change streets.
Traders became weary of "bubbles" when companies rose quickly and fell, so they persuaded Parliament to pass a clause preventing "unchartered" companies from forming.
After the Seven Years' War (1756–1763), trade at Jonathan's Coffee House boomed again. In 1773, Jonathan, together with 150 other brokers, formed a club and opened a new and more formal "Stock Exchange" in Sweeting's Alley. This now had a set entrance fee, by which traders could enter the stock room and trade securities. It was, however, not an exclusive location for trading, as trading also occurred in the Rotunda of the Bank of England. Fraud was also rife during these times and in order to deter such dealings, it was suggested that users of the stock room pay an increased fee. This was not met well and ultimately, the solution came in the form of annual fees and turning the Exchange into a Subscription room.
The Subscription room created in 1801 was the first regulated exchange in London, but the transformation was not welcomed by all parties. On the first day of trading, non-members had to be expelled by a constable. In spite of the disorder, a new and bigger building was planned, at Capel Court.
William Hammond laid the first foundation stone for the new building on 18 May. It was finished on 30 December when "The Stock Exchange" was incised on the entrance.
In the Exchange's first operating years, on several occasions there was no clear set of regulations or fundamental laws for the Capel Court trading. In February 1812, the General Purpose Committee confirmed a set of recommendations, which later became the foundation of the first codified rule book of the Exchange. Even though the document was not a complex one, topics such as settlement and default were, in fact, quite comprehensive.
With its new governmental commandments[clarification needed] and increasing trading volume, the Exchange was progressively becoming an accepted part of the financial life in the City. In spite of continuous criticism from newspapers and the public, the government used the Exchange's organised market (and would most likely not have managed without it) to raise the enormous amount of money required for the wars against Napoleon.
After the war and facing a booming world economy, foreign lending to countries such as Brazil, Peru and Chile was a growing market. Notably, the Foreign Market at the Exchange allowed for merchants and traders to participate, and the Royal Exchange hosted all transactions where foreign parties were involved. The constant increase in overseas business eventually meant that dealing in foreign securities had to be allowed within all of the Exchange's premises.
Just as London enjoyed growth through international trade, the rest of Great Britain also benefited from the economic boom. Two other cities, in particular, showed great business development: Liverpool and Manchester. Consequently, in 1836 both the Manchester and Liverpool stock exchanges were opened. Some stock prices sometimes rose by 10%, 20% or even 30% in a week. These were times when stockbroking was considered a real business profession, and such attracted many entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, with booms came busts, and in 1835 the "Spanish panic" hit the markets, followed by a second one two years later.
By June 1853, both participating members and brokers were taking up so much space that the Exchange was now uncomfortably crowded, and continual expansion plans were taking place. Having already been extended west, east and northwards, it was then decided the Exchange needed an entire new establishment. Thomas Allason was appointed as the main architect, and in March 1854 the new brick building inspired from the Great Exhibition stood ready. This was a huge improvement in both surroundings and space, with twice the floor space available.
As the financial centre of the world, both the City and the Stock Exchange were hit hard by the outbreak of World War I in 1914. Due to fears that borrowed money was to be called in and that foreign banks would demand their loans or raise interest, prices surged at first. The decision to close the Exchange for improved breathing space and to extend the August Bank Holiday to prohibit a run on banks, was hurried through by the committee and Parliament, respectively. The Stock Exchange ended up being closed from the end of July until the New Year, causing street business to be introduced again as well as the "challenge system".
The Exchange was set to open again on 4 January 1915 under tedious restrictions: transactions were to be in cash only. Due to the limitations and challenges on trading brought by the war, almost 1000 members quit the Exchange between 1914 and 1918. When peace returned in November 1918, the mood on the trading floor was generally cowed. In 1923 the Exchange received its own coat of arms, with the motto Dictum Meum Pactum, My Word is My Bond.
In 1937 officials at the Exchange used their experiences from World War I to draw up plans for how to handle a new war. The main concerns included air raids and the subsequent bombing of the Exchange's perimeters, and one suggestion was a move to Denham, Buckinghamshire. This however never took place. On the first day of September 1939, the Exchange closed its doors "until further notice" and two days later World War II was declared. Unlike in the prior war, the Exchange opened its doors again six days later, on 7 September.
As the war escalated into its second year, the concerns for air raids were greater than ever. Eventually, on the night of 29 December 1940 one of the greatest fires in London’s history took place. The Exchange's floor was hit by a clutch of incendiary bombs, which fortunately were extinguished quickly. Trading on the floor was now drastically low and most was done over the phone to reduce the possibility of injuries.
The Exchange was only closed for one more day during wartime, in 1945 due to damage from a V-2 rocket. Nonetheless trading continued in the house’s basement.
After decades of uncertain if not turbulent times, stock market business boomed in the late 1950s. This spurred officials to find new, more suitable accommodation. The work on the new Stock Exchange Tower began in 1967. The Exchange's new 321 feet (96 metre) high building had 26 storeys with council and administration at the top, and middle floors let out to affiliate companies. Queen Elizabeth II opened the building on 8 November 1972; it was a new City landmark, with its 23,000 sq ft (2,100 m2) trading floor.
1973 marked a year of changes for the Stock Exchange. First, two trading prohibitions were abolished. A report from the Monopolies and Mergers Commission recommended the admittance of both women and foreign-born members on the floor. Second, in March the London Stock Exchange formally merged with the eleven British and Irish regional exchanges, including the Scottish Stock Exchange. This expansion led to the creation of a new position of Chief Executive Officer; after an extensive search this post was given to Robert Fell. There were more governance changes in 1991, when the governing Council of the Exchange was replaced by a Board of Directors drawn from the Exchange's executive, customer and user base; and the trading name became "The London Stock Exchange".
FTSE 100 Index (pronounced "Footsie 100") was launched by a partership of the Financial Times and the Stock Exchange on 3 January 1984. This turned out to be one of the most useful indices of all, and tracked the movements of the 100 leading companies listed on the Exchange.
On 20 July 1990 a bomb planted by the IRA exploded in the men's toilets behind the visitors' gallery. The area had already been evacuated and nobody was injured. About 30 minutes before the blast at 8:49 a.m., a man who said he was a member of the IRA told Reuters that a bomb had been placed at the exchange and was about to explode. Police officials said that if there had been no warning, the human toll would have been very high. The explosion ripped a hole in the 23-storey building in Threadneedle Street and sent a shower of glass and concrete onto the street. The long-term trend towards electronic trading reduced the Exchange's attraction to visitors, and although the gallery reopened, it was closed permanently in 1992.
The biggest event of the 1980s was the sudden deregulation of the financial markets in the UK in 1986. The phrase "Big Bang" was coined to describe measures, including abolition of fixed commission charges and of the distinction between stockjobbers and stockbrokers on the London Stock Exchange, as well as the change from an open outcry to electronic, screen-based trading.
In 1995 the Exchange launched the Alternative Investment Market, the AIM, to allow growing companies to expand into international markets. Two years later the Electronic Trading Service (SETS) was launched, bringing greater speed and efficiency to the market. Next, the CREST settlement service was launched. In 2000, the Exchange's shareholders voted to become a public limited company, London Stock Exchange plc. The LSE also transferred its role as UK Listing Authority to the Financial Services Authority (FSA-UKLA).
EDX London, a new international equity derivatives business, was created in 2003 in partnership with OM Group. The Exchange also acquired Proquote Limited, a new generation supplier of real-time market data and trading systems.
The old Stock Exchange Tower became largely redundant with Big Bang, which deregulated many of the Stock Exchange's activities: computerised systems and dealing rooms replaced face-to-face trading. In 2004 the Stock Exchange moved to a brand-new headquarters in Paternoster Square, close to St Paul's Cathedral.
The Stock Exchange in Paternoster Square was the initial target for the protesters of Occupy London on 15 October 2011. Attempts to occupy the square were thwarted by police. Police sealed off the entrance to the square as it is private property, a High Court injunction having previously been granted against public access to the square.
Issuer services help companies from around the world to join the London equity market in order to gain access to capital. The LSE allows companies to raise money, increase their profile and obtain a market valuation through a variety of routes, thus following the firms throughout the whole IPO process.
The London Stock Exchange runs several markets for listing, giving an opportunity for different sized companies to list. International companies can list a number of products in London including shares, depositary receipts and debt, offering different and cost-effective ways to raise capital. In 2004 the Exchange opened a Hong Kong office and has attracted more than 200 companies from the Asia-Pacific region.
For the biggest companies exists the Premium Listed Main Market. This operates a Super Equivalence method where conditions of both the UK Listing Authority as well as London Stock Exchange’s own criteria have to be met. The largest IPO on the Exchange was completed in May 2011 by Glencore International plc. The company raised $10 billion at admission, making it one of the largest IPOs ever since foundation.
In terms of smaller SME’s the Stock Exchange operates the Alternative Investment Market (AIM). For international companies that fall outside of the EU, it operates the Depository Receipt (DR) scheme as a way of listing and raising capital.
There are also two specialised markets:
Professional Securities Market This market facilitates the raising of capital through the issue of specialist debt securities or depositary receipts (DRs) to professional investors. The market operates under the status as a Recognised Investment Exchange, and by July 2011 it had 32 DRs, 108 Eurobonds and over 350 Medium Term Notes.
Specialist Fund Market Is the London Stock Exchange dedicated market, designed to accept more sophisticated fund vehicles, governance models and security. It is suitable only for institutional, professional and highly knowledgeable investors. The Specialist Fund Market is an EU Regulated Market and thus securities admitted to the market are eligible for most investor mandates providing a pool of liquidity for issuers admitted to the market
This section needs to be updated.(January 2015)
The securities available for trading on the London Stock Exchange:
There are two main markets on which companies trade on the LSE:
The main market is home to Over 1,300 large companies from 60 different countries. Over the past 10 years[when?] over £366 billion has been raised through new and further issues by Main Market companies. The FTSE 100 Index ("footsie") is the main share index of the 100 most highly capitalised UK companies listed on the Main Market.
The Alternative Investment Market is LSE's international market for smaller companies. A wide range of businesses including early-stage, venture capital-backed as well as more-established companies join AIM seeking access to growth capital. The AIM is classified as a Multilateral Trading Facility (MTF) under the 2004 MiFID directive, and as such it is a flexible market with a simpler admission process for companies wanting to be publicly listed.
There are also several electronic platforms on which the different products trade:
Trading of derivative products is available on the Turquoise platform (ex EDX London). Products are Norwegian Futures and options on Norwegian single stocks and indices, Russian futures and options on the most liquid IOB Depositary Receipts, Futures, options on the FTSE RIOB index and futures on the FTSE 100. Futures and options on the most liquid European stock underlyings and on European benchmark indices were expected to be launched in Q4 2011 and Q1 2012 subject to Financial Services Authority approval.
The largest products offered are:
The Order book for Retail Bonds (ORB), launched in February 2010, offers continuous two-way pricing for trading in UK gilts and retail-size corporate bonds on-exchange. ORB acts as an electronic secondary market for retail investors. 2009 saw highest-ever inflow into bond funds, a net total of £10.7bn, driven almost entirely by retail investors (90% of total), with corporate bonds being the bestselling sector.
ORB offers an open and transparent market model for trading in retail-size. Currently[when?] there are five dedicated market makers committed to quoting two-way prices in a range of retail bonds throughout the trading day. New market models means private investors will be able to see prices on-screen and trade in bonds in a similar way as they currently do for shares. This creates a greater efficiency of electronic on-book execution and option to use straight-through-processing to settlement system.
Retail Bonds are driven by cost-effectiveness, simplicity of transaction charging and standardisation of market structure. The key aim of ORB is to increase distribution for bonds by opening up these markets to private investors who may have previously felt excluded from this market. This is by increasing the availability of publication on offer, detailing the risks and benefits involved in Retail Bonds, such as taxation.
New entrants into ORB have been able to raise sufficient funds, such as Places for People who were able to raise capital of £140 million. This portrays the advantage using ORB can have, even for non-bank smaller firms seeking to raise capital.
There are currently 2,600 companies from over 60 countries listed on the London Stock Exchange, of which 1151 are on AIM, 44 on the Professional Securities Market and 10 on the Specialist Funds Market. Pence sterling (GBX) is a subdivision of Pounds sterling (GBP). Pounds sterling are the UK's major currency unit, but pence are often used when quoting prices; e.g. a quoted price of GBX 2,360 is equivalent to £23.60.
As of June 2011[update], the AIM had 56 companies as per country of operations from Africa, 41 from China, 26 from Latin America, 23 from Central & Eastern Europe and 29 from India & Bangladesh, making it one of the world's leading growth markets. Since its launch in 1995, more than £67 billion has been raised on AIM. The total market value of these companies was £3.9 trillion. The daily turnover in July 2011 was £4.4 billion (€5.0 billion) and the daily number of trades 611,941. The LSE's share of trading in the UK lit[clarification needed] order book trading was 62.2%. As of 2011[update] the London Stock Exchange offered trading in more emerging market exchange traded funds (ETFs) than any other exchange in the world. There were a total of 158 emerging market ETFs listed on the Exchange in May 2011, compared with 126 on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE Arca) and 93 on Deutsche Börse.
The LSE supplies its participants with real time prices and trading data creating the transparency and liquidity through several services. Feeds are also available through providers such as Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters. Some of the products and references provided by the London Stock Exchange are:
LS[LCH.Clearnet]] & SIX x-clear Ltd.[clarification needed]
Through the Exchange's Italian arm, Borsa Italiana, the London Stock Exchange Group as a whole offers clearing and settlement services for trades through CC&G (Cassa di Compensazione e Garanzia) and Monte Titoli. is the Groups Central Counterparty (CCP) and covers multiple asset classes throughout the Italian equity, derivatives and bond markets. CC&G also clears Turquoise derivatives. Monte Titoli (MT) is the pre-settlement, settlement, custody and asset services provider of the Group. MT operates both on-exchange and OTC trades with over 400 banks and brokers.
Their old trading platform TradElect was based on Microsoft's .NET Framework, and was developed by Microsoft and Accenture. 00pMicrosoft used the LSE software as an example of the supposed superiority of Windows over Linux in the "Get the Facts" campaign, claiming that the LSE system provided "five nines" reliability, and a processing speed of 3–4 milliseconds. For Microsoft, LSE was a good combination of a highly visible exchange and yet a relatively modest IT problem.
Despite TradElect only being in use for about two years, after suffering multiple periods of extended downtime and unreliability the LSE announced in 2009 that it was planning to switch to Linux in 2010. LSE main market migration to MillenniumIT technology was successfully completed in February 2011.
LSEG now provides high performance technology solutions, including trading, market surveillance and post trade systems for over 40 organisations and exchanges, including the Group’s own markets. Additional services include network connectivity, hosting and quality assurance testing. MillenniumIT, GATElab and Exactpro are among the Group’s technology companies.
On 3 May 2000, It was announced that the LSE would merge with the Deutsche Börse; however this fell through.
On 23 June 2007, the London Stock Exchange announced that it had agreed on the terms of a recommended offer to the shareholders of the Borsa Italiana S.p.A. The merger of the two companies created a leading diversified exchange group in Europe. The combined group was named the London Stock Exchange Group, but still remained two separate legal and regulatory entities. One of the long-term strategies of the joint company is to expand Borsa Italiana's efficient clearing services to other European markets.
In 2007, after Borsa Italiana announced that it was exercising its call option to acquire full control of MBE Holdings; thus the combined Group would now control Mercato dei Titoli di Stato, or MTS. This merger of Borsa Italiana and MTS with LSE's existing bond-listing business enhanced the range of covered European fixed income markets.
The London Stock Exchange acquired Turquoise (TQ), a Pan-European MTF, in 2009 and since coupling[clarification needed] with MillenniumIT's software, it currently offers the fastest latency[clarification needed] of any in Europe. Currently the speed of latency on Turquoise (as measured at the end of August 2011) is 97 microseconds on average for 99.9% of trades. Initially founded by a consortium of nine banks, it is now majority-owned by the London Stock Exchange Group. Currently shareholders include twelve of the leading investment banks.
Turquoise operates a maker-taker fee scheme: 0.30 basis points for aggressive traders and 0.20 rebates[clarification needed] for passive traders, providing liquidity. The market share of Turquoise as an MTF has doubled over the past twelve months, from 3% to 6%. There are currently 2,000 securities, across 19 countries that are on Turquoise. Unlike Broker-Dealer Crossing Networks, TQ does not discriminate as to who can trade on their platform.
In December 2005, the London Stock Exchange rejected a £1.6 billion takeover offer from Macquarie Bank. The London Stock Exchange described the offer as "derisory", a sentiment echoed by shareholders in the Exchange. Shortly after Macquarie withdrew its offer, the LSE received an unsolicited approach from NASDAQ valuing the company at £2.4 billion. This too it rejected. NASDAQ later pulled its bid, and less than two weeks later on 11 April 2006, struck a deal with LSE's largest shareholder, Ameriprise Financial's Threadneedle Asset Management unit, to acquire all of that firm's stake, consisting of 35.4 million shares, at £11.75 per share. NASDAQ also purchased 2.69 million additional shares, resulting in a total stake of 15%. While the seller of those shares was undisclosed, it occurred simultaneously with a sale by Scottish Widows of 2.69 million shares. The move was seen as an effort to force LSE to the negotiating table, as well as to limit the Exchange's strategic flexibility.
Subsequent purchases increased NASDAQ's stake to 25.1%, holding off competing bids for several months. United Kingdom financial rules required that NASDAQ wait for a period of time before renewing its effort. On 20 November 2006, within a month or two of the expiration of this period, NASDAQ increased its stake to 28.75% and launched a hostile offer at the minimum permitted bid of £12.43 per share, which was the highest NASDAQ had paid on the open market for its existing shares. The LSE immediately rejected this bid, stating that it "substantially undervalues" the company.
NASDAQ revised its offer (characterized as an "unsolicited" bid, rather than a "hostile takeover attempt") on 12 December 2006, indicating that it would be able to complete the deal with 50% (plus one share) of LSE's stock, rather than the 90% it had been seeking. The U.S. exchange did not, however, raise its bid. Many hedge funds had accumulated large positions within the LSE, and many managers of those funds, as well as Furse, indicated that the bid was still not satisfactory. NASDAQ's bid was made more difficult because it had described its offer as "final", which, under British bidding rules, restricted their ability to raise its offer except under certain circumstances.
In the end, NASDAQ's offer was roundly rejected by LSE shareholders. Having received acceptances of only 0.41% of rest of the register by the deadline on 10 February 2007, Nasdaq's offer duly lapsed. Responding to the news, Chris Gibson-Smith, the LSE's chairman, said: "The Exchange’s strategy has produced outstanding results for shareholders by facilitating a structural shift in volume growth in an increasingly international market at the centre of the world’s equity flows. The Exchange intends to build on its exceptionally valuable brand by progressing various competitive, collaborative and strategic opportunities, thereby reinforcing its uniquely powerful position in a fast evolving global sector."
On 20 August 2007, NASDAQ announced that it was abandoning its plan to take over the LSE and subsequently look for options to divest its 31% (61.3 million shares) shareholding in the company in light of its failed takeover attempt. In September 2007, NASDAQ agreed to sell the majority of its shares to Borse Dubai, leaving the United Arab Emirates-based exchange with 28% of the LSE.
On 9 February 2011, London Stock Exchange Group announced it had agreed to merge with the Toronto-based TMX Group, the owners of the Toronto Stock Exchange, creating a combined entity with a market capitalization of listed companies equal to £3.7 trillion. Xavier Rolet, CEO of the LSE Group at the time, would have headed the new enlarged company, while TMX Chief Executive Thomas Kloet would have become the new firm president. The London Stock Exchange however announced it was terminating the merger with TMX on 29 June 2011 citing that "LSEG and TMX Group believe that the merger is highly unlikely to achieve the required two-thirds majority approval at the TMX Group shareholder meeting". Even though the LSE obtained the necessary support from its shareholders, it failed to obtain the required support from TMX's shareholders.
Normal trading sessions on the main orderbook (SETS) are from 08:00 to 16:30 local time every day of the week except Saturdays, Sundays and holidays declared by the exchange in advance. The detailed schedule is as follows:
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