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London Stock Exchange (LSE): Definition, History and Major Events


The London Stock Exchange (LSE) is one of the world’s oldest stock exchanges, known for buying and selling shares, bonds, and other types of securities. Established in 1801, it plays a foundational role in global finance, facilitating the public trading of companies. Noteworthy events include its merger with the Borsa Italiana in 2007 to form the London Stock Exchange Group and the failed takeover attempt by the Hong Kong Exchange in 2019.


“London Stock Exchange (LSE): Definition, History and Major Events” in phonetics would be: /’lʌndən stɑːk ɪks’tʃeɪndʒ (elsiː): dɪfɪ’nɪʃən, ‘hɪstəri ænd ‘meɪdʒər ɪ’vents/

Key Takeaways

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  1. Definition: The London Stock Exchange (LSE) is one of the oldest and largest stock exchanges in the world, functioning as a marketplace where shares of public companies and other financial instruments such as bonds and derivatives are traded.
  2. History: The LSE was officially founded in 1801, though its origins can be traced back as far as 1571. It has evolved through several stages and changes to become a leading international exchange. Today, it’s a vital source of capital for many businesses globally.
  3. Major Events: There have been several significant events in LSE’s history. One of the most notable was its merger with Borsa Italiana in 2007 to form the London Stock Exchange Group. Another major event was the ‘Big Bang’ in 1986, a dramatic shift in the regulations governing the LSE which led to a rise in market activity and international investment.



The London Stock Exchange (LSE) holds significant importance in the world’s economy due to its status as one of the largest stock exchanges globally. From its establishment in 1801, LSE has provided a platform for business enterprises to raise capital by trading shares, bonds, and other securities. Moreover, it’s a key indicator of financial trends and economic health in the U.K and across Europe. Understanding its history gives context to some critical economic developments and crises such as various economic recessions and the 2008 global financial crisis. As an essential hub of international finance, the major events of LSE, like mergers, acquisitions, or extreme market fluctuations, have far-reaching implications on global finance, affecting economies, businesses, and investors worldwide.


The London Stock Exchange (LSE) serves as a marketplace where buyers and sellers from around the world come together to trade a multitude of financial instruments such as shares, bonds and derivatives. Its primary purpose is to offer businesses a platform through which they can raise capital by listing securities for public investors. Public limited companies, government and other organizations can issue share or bonds to raise funds, while individual and institutional investors can buy and sell these securities to diversify their investment portfolio, earn returns or carry out speculative activities.Beyond this, the LSE plays a pivotal role in determining the prices of securities. Prices are determined automatically and continuously by matching supply and demand in real time through an electronic trading system. These prices often reflect the health of the UK economy and other global financial trends, making the LSE a financial barometer of sorts. In addition to trading, the LSE also supports companies through providing research information and resources, fostering a conducive environment for businesses to grow and prosper. It’s a hallmark of the global financial market, connecting national economies to the international markets.


1. Definition: The London Stock Exchange (LSE) is a global exchange market located in London, England, and is one of the largest and oldest stock exchanges in the world. Companies from all over the globe list their shares and stocks on this exchange, and it operates as a platform for the buying, selling, and listing of shares, bonds, ETFs, and other securities. Real World Example: BP Plc, a multinational oil and gas company headquartered in London, is listed on the London Stock Exchange. Investors worldwide can buy and sell shares of BP Plc through LSE, reflecting the exchange’s global reach and influence.2. History: The LSE was established in 1801, making it one of the globe’s oldest stock exchanges. It originated from a coffee house where traders and brokers would meet to exchange shares and commodities. Real World Example: In 1986, an event known as the “Big Bang” took place on the LSE. This event involved several changes in operational rules and procedures, including the shift from a trading floor to an electronic system. It significantly increased the speed and volume of transactions, attracting international banks and investors.3. Major Events: The London Stock Exchange has seen several significant events that have shaped both its operations and its influence on the global financial market. Real World Example: In 2007, the LSE merged with Borsa Italiana, the Italian Stock Exchange, to form the London Stock Exchange Group. This merger was a key strategic move for the LSE, expanding its influence across Europe and enhancing its offerings, including the ability to offer a wider variety of financial services beyond just trading. Another significant event occurred in 2011 when LSE and TMX Group, the operator of the Toronto Stock Exchange, announced their intention to merge. However, the merger was blocked by a consortium of Canadian banks and pension funds, highlighting the complex world of international finance.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the London Stock Exchange (LSE)?

The LSE is one of the world’s oldest stock exchanges and is located in London, United Kingdom. It is a marketplace where investors can buy and sell shares of publicly traded companies.

When was the London Stock Exchange established?

The London Stock Exchange was formed in 1801, making it one of the oldest exchanges in the world.

What are some major events in the history of the LSE?

Some major events include being hit during WWII, the Big Bang deregulation event in 1986, and merging with Borsa Italiana in 2007 to form the London Stock Exchange Group.

What is the Big Bang in relation to the LSE?

The Big Bang was a major shift in the LSE’s operations implemented on 27 October 1986. It involved deregulation and changes in the operating procedures including electronic trading, abolishment of fixed commission charges and change from an open outcry system to electronic, screen-based trading.

What is the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG)?

The LSEG is an international market infrastructure business, which includes the LSE. It was created in 2007 after the LSE merged with the Borsa Italiana.

What are the trading hours for the LSE?

The LSE is open for trading from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM local time, Monday through Friday, excluding any public holidays.

How can I invest in the LSE?

You can invest in companies listed on the LSE through brokerages that offer international trading, or by purchasing shares of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or American depositary receipts (ADRs) that track LSE-listed companies.

How many companies are listed on the LSE?

The LSE boasts over 2,000 companies from around 83 different countries, making it one of the most international of all the world’s stock exchanges.

What is the FTSE 100 Index and how is it connected to the LSE?

The FTSE 100 is an index composed of the 100 largest (by market capitalization) companies listed on the LSE. It’s commonly used as a barometer of the UK’s economic performance.

Related Finance Terms

  • Definition: The London Stock Exchange (LSE) is a stock exchange located in the City of London in the United Kingdom. It is one of the largest and oldest exchanges in the world, where stocks, bonds, and other securities are bought and sold.
  • History: Established in 1571, the LSE has a rich history with significant developments in the global financial market. It started as a market for traders and merchants to buy and sell shares and has since grown to become a leading global exchange.
  • Major Events – The Big Bang: In 1986, a major event known as the “Big Bang” occurred in the LSE. This was a sudden deregulation of the financial markets in the UK which led to significant changes in the way the LSE operated, paving the way for it to become a major international financial hub.
  • Borsa Italiana Acquisition: In 2007, the LSE acquired Borsa Italiana, the Italian stock exchange, creating a larger diversified group with an extensive portfolio of domestic and international market operations.
  • FTSE 100: The FTSE 100 Index, or the “footsie” , is a share index of the 100 companies listed on the LSE with the highest market capitalization. It is broadly considered a gauge of prosperity for businesses regulated by UK company law.

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