London as the Global Market for Corporate Securities before 1914

Leslie Hannah

in Financial Centres and International Capital Flows in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199603503
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729249 | DOI:
London as the Global Market for Corporate Securities before 1914

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The London Stock Exchange before 1914 was the largest in the world in terms of the number and value of its quoted securities. The ratio of quoted domestic corporate securities to UK GDP, perhaps as high as 250%, was substantially higher than other major economies at the time or than many today. London was also a global market and increasing its share of world listings: by 1912 more than two-thirds of the world’s largest companies (most of them headquartered abroad) had securities quoted there. By this measure it was as dominant globally as the NYSE was within the USA, though national and regional exchanges had a higher share of smaller overseas corporate issues. After 1914 financial repression caused a ‘Great Reversal:’ with the ratio of the UK’s quoted (foreign or domestic) securities to GDP falling by the 1970s to below the level of the 1850s.

Keywords: stock exchanges; listing; multinationals; overseas investment; financial repression; international comparisons

Chapter.  16658 words. 

Subjects: Business History

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