The day that raised London as global financial centre

LONDON, Oct 27, 2006 (AFP) – The City of London marked on Friday 20 years since the so-called “Big Bang” which broke down staid old practices with a wave of deregulation, credited now with giving London the edge as a global financial centre in Europe.

The “Bang” has been a central factor propelling the ‘Square Mile’ of the City to the status of key global financial hub, a position that had slipped since the end of Empire.

It is now diversifying strongly into Islamic banking, although at the same time the London Stock Exchange is the target of recurrent takeover and merger talk.

On this day in 1986, ground-breaking changes were introduced at the London Stock Exchange which altered the lives of workers in London’s City financial district forever — and set the capital on course for greater things.

A technological revolution gripped the City as an electronic trading system replaced the hustle-and-bustle of raucous pit trading, with traders switching to telephones to conduct their business.

The tight-knit finance marketplace was broken up, and replaced with a fiercely competitive environment — where foreign players were embraced, and mergers and acquisitions were allowed to flourish.

The biggest change was ownership, according to