As well as a top class management team, a sandwich shop, 3500 telephone lines and a huge glass box were all integral to the launch of the London International Financial Futures Exchange. John Parry recounts the remarkable story of the launch of Liffe.
One the morning of Thursday September 30, 1982, Gordon
Richardson, Governor of the Bank of England, walked across
Threadneedle Street in the heart of the City of London, to
the Royal Exchange. Passing through the pillared entrance he
ascended a pulpit to welcome the arrival of the London
International Financial Futures Exchange.
With military precision the speech ended just before 10.00am
and he symbolically cut a white ribbon. At ten seconds before
10.00am the crowd of traders on the floor shouted the
countdown, a bell rang and on the dot of ten financial
futures trading erupted in London for the first time in
At Richardson’s side throughout was the smart,
urbane figure of John Barkshire, for whom the opening was the
culmination of over three years of work. Barkshire was
chairman of Mercantile House, one of the new breed of
financial market firms in the City and his innovative drive
had sent him to Chicago in 1979 to see the financial futures
markets in action. The trip followed the circulation of a
paper by the International Commodities Clearing House, a
forerunner of the London Clearing House, suggesting that
London should consider developing financial futures
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