London Stock Exchange History


London Stock Exchange (LSE) has a long past. It began as a market for sweet wine in 1801, trading shares of the Royal African Company. Now it is the largest stock exchange in the world. As of June 2018, it had 2,522 listed companies with a total market capitalization of £4.59 trillion. It is roughly double its closest rival, Nasdaq, in New York.

The beginnings of LSE can be traced back to 1571. Brokers met under a buttonwood tree in Exchange Alley, later known as Threadneedle Street, near Bishopsgate Churchyard. As trading gained popularity, meetings moved indoors to larger spaces. Finally, it moved to 11 Broad Street in 1802, where it got its name.

LSE has encountered many challenges, from technology changes to increased regulation, war, and global trade fluctuations. Recently, it has been at the forefront of modern developments such as electronic trading systems and ETFs (exchange-traded funds). It also offers traditional services, like share listing through Initial Public Offerings (IPOs).

Early History

The London Stock Exchange (LSE) is situated in the City of London. It was formed in 1801, making it one of the oldest exchanges in the world. Trading had already been taking place in the streets before the LSE’s foundation. Nevertheless, it supplied a much more organized and regulated atmosphere for trading.

This article will look into the early history of the LSE.

Established in 1773

The London Stock Exchange (LSE) is the world’s oldest stock exchange. It has operated for over two and a half centuries. It started in 1773 when court-appointed brokers met in Threadneedle Street, London. However, some accounts say trading activity began even earlier, during Elizabeth I’s reign in 1571.

It was formerly known as ‘The Stock Exchange, London’ and is still commonly called ‘the Stock Exchange.’ In 2004, it moved to Paternoster Square. In 1972, its name changed from ‘The Stock Exchange, London’ to the ‘London Stock Exchange.’

In 2007, LSE merged with Borsa Italiana, Milan. It created one of the biggest stock exchanges in the world. It has 3,000 listed stocks from 251 issuers from around 50 countries. The LSE is part of the UK FTSE 100 index, alongside BP plc and HSBC Holdings plc.

Expansion in the 19th Century

In the 19th century, the London Stock Exchange experienced a boom. The number of listed companies rose from 150 in 1800 to over 500 by 1851. By 1876, an impressive 5,500 securities were being traded daily! A combination of factors like a growing sense of national identity increased international trade, and the invention of new tech and transportation methods caused this surge.

Paper certificates couldn’t keep up with the demand. So, in 1801, a clearinghouse was established to make trading between brokers easier. Then, in 1836, the electronic ticker system was invented, allowing traders in different locations to view live prices on their screens.

Then, in February 1997, the LSE merged with Tradepoint Financial Networks plc. It made it Europe’s first integrated exchange-cum-electronic stock market. Again, this showed LSE’s commitment to being at the forefront of innovation in global financial markets.

20th Century Developments

The London Stock Exchange (LSE) boasts a fascinating past. It began in the late 18th century.

In the 20th century, the LSE underwent massive changes. It launched an electronic trading system, offered new products, and reorganized its operations. So let’s dive deeper into the LSE’s progress throughout the 20th century!

Exchange Mergers and Acquisitions

During the 1990s, many exchanges merged and were acquired. It was done to make financial services easier to provide. Both domestic and international exchanges merged to increase profits and their reach. Examples of this included:

  • Deutsche Börse merging with the London Stock Exchange
  • Tokyo Stock Exchange pairing with Osaka Securities Exchange
  • NASDAQ buying the American Stock Exchange

These moves meant that exchanges could use economies of scale. They also had more products in different places. The upgrade of technology was also made possible, making trading systems stronger. It included screen-based trading, better market access systems, and automated quotation concessions. In addition, it gave investors more asset classes to trade with higher liquidity. Lastly, investor protection regulations were improved, making trading more transparent.

The Big Bang of 1986

The Big Bang of 1986 was a landmark event for the London Stock Exchange. Before this, it had been founded in 1773 and focused on providing an efficient market for trading equities. By ’86, it also had options, futures, and foreign stocks.

Eleven members voted for reforms. These included automation and centralization – to make some parts of the process computerized. They also ended the fixed commissions charged to brokers. In addition, it meant many companies could access capital markets, which had been closed off before.

Deregulation swept through other exchanges in Europe as part of the EEA agreement. It meant fair access to capital. The activity was based around one price center – the London Stock Exchange. In 1999, access-trading systems allowed private investors to access specialized investments, which only institutional investors had before.

It caused large sums of money to flow into London’s markets. It became one of Europe’s leading players. 67% of global trades were in euro-denominated shares. The City became a financial hub, connecting continents and cultures, and helping stabilize economies with privatization services.

21st Century

The 21st century has seen colossal expansion for the London Stock Exchange (LSE). It has been featured on the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 indexes. It also offers a variety of services to investors.

This piece will explore how the LSE has grown and changed in this century. Plus how it has acquired an edge over other players in worldwide markets.

Global Expansion

The London Stock Exchange (LSE) has been striving to stay competitive in the rapidly-changing global market. Since 2000, they’ve been taking an international approach. They’ve formed alliances and acquired 12 securities exchanges in different countries, such as Borsa Italiana (2007) and Hong Kong’s Stock Exchange (2009). Now, the LSE serves investors from over 100 countries.

The LSE has created tech centers to make trading processes more straightforward and faster for brokers. They have also implemented rules that allow companies to trade shares freely in Europe. In addition, BondsPoint was launched in collaboration with major exchanges, like New York’s NYSE Euronext and Deutsche Borse’s Xetra system. The LSE is determined to create new ways for investors to engage cost-effectively and efficiently.

New Technologies

The 21st century has drastically changed the London Stock Exchange, bringing challenges and opportunities. Technology advances have had a major influence on stock trading. In the past decade, electronic trading has taken over manual trading and price distribution in the City of London. It enables 24/7 operations.

Automated order routing, latency optimization tools, and smart order routing systems are now used to provide quicker trade executions on multiple platforms. By introducing high-speed direct market access platforms, investors can find competitive prices quickly with limited market impact.

New regulations and policies are being implemented to increase investor transparency. These have improved fairness, efficiency, and liquidity in the markets. As a result, the London Stock Exchange is now well-positioned to take advantage of the digital age.


London’s social and political environment has shaped London Stock Exchange. It started small as a private club and became a heavily regulated, publicly owned giant. Yet, thanks to its ability to adjust to market changes and keep up with financial trends, it has been a world leader in stock exchanges.

Today, the London Stock Exchange is facing a pivotal moment. It must adapt to the digital revolution and provide investors access to international stocks. It must also maintain strong governance standards. Furthermore, it must be ready for emerging markets and blockchain technology disruption. We trust that its heritage, adaptability, and determination will make it successful in the future.

Previous Post
Next Post