The London Stock Exchange has a history as colourful and interesting as any other major institution in the capital, and while it has changed a lot in a period spanning over three centuries, it is still one of the things that makes London such an important international city for business and finance. The LSE as it is today is run by the London Stock Exchange Group, which was formed from the merger of the existing LSE with Borsa Italia – the Milan stock exchange in Northern Italy. The LSE offers a huge range of securities, including CFDs, ETFs and ETCs, and has five indices, including the well known markers of UK financial performance, the FTSE 100 and the FTSE All-Share index.
The Biggest Stock Exchange in Europe
The LSE is the largest stock exchange in Europe, and the third largest in the world, which is one of the reasons why London is considered Europe’s financial centre (something which analysts are concerned about post-Brexit). It is also the most international stock exchange in the world, with companies from over 70 countries included on it. This is one of the reasons why the performance of the share indices of the top LSE companies often moves inverse to the strength of the pound – many companies on the FTSE 100 actually earn dollars, primarily, and so a weak pound can actually make their shares more appealing.
Some Interesting Facts About The LSE
The LSE emerged from what was originally called the Royal Exchange, which was opened by Queen Elizabeth the First back in 1571. It was founded to operate in a similar model to the Antwerp Bourse, and was the concept of a financier called Thomas Gresham. At first, stockbrokers were actually forbidden from operating inside the stock exchange itself, because their behaviour was seen as unseemly! This led to them working from a nearby coffee shop (much as today you might do your share dealing from a Costa with your laptop and a wi-fi connection!). Things were, of course, very low tech – the sales sessions were measured by the length of time it took a candle to burn down an inch.
How Londoners Take Advantage of the Financial Markets Using the LSE
Aside from those who actually work at the LSE, there are plenty of other Londoners for whom it is important. These include casual traders who use the best trading platform UK software to execute trades and try to gain a profit, those who have investment portfolios for ISAs, SIPPs and other investment schemes, and of course business owners who want to raise funds for their companies by going public on the LSE themselves. The UK’s economic health is often measured in terms of the LSE’s performance too, with the market reactions to political events usually analysed quite intently.
The London Stock Exchange is certainly an interesting part of London, both in the past and the present, and it is something that the business world would be very different without!