Since the announcement of the deal struck between the government and the Stock Exchange in July 1983 there has been a fairly hectic scramble by would-be players in the securities markets of the future to buy their way into broking and jobbing members of the Exchange; by so doing it was possible to take advantage of pre-‘Big Bang’ changes in the rules and operations of the London Exchange and to prepare for the abolition of fixed commissions and single-capacity trading in October 1986. The manœuvres, as one would expect, have involved both commercial and merchant banks, both domestic and international, but also financial services groups, insurance companies, unit trusts and industrial companies. Moreover, the acquisitions have not stopped at member firms of the Exchange; strategic stakes have also been taken in discount houses. These acquisitions, mergers and realignments have already changed and will continue to change the face of the City of London and the UK financial system as boundaries within the financial arena are eroded or disappear altogether and financial conglomerates emerge.
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