A History of London Stock Exchange

The London Stock Exchange is situated in the City of London at Paternoster Square close to Saint Paul’s Cathedral. The London Stock Exchange is one of the oldest stock exchanges in the world and was founded in the year 1801. This makes it one of the only stock exchanges that have been functioning for well over two centuries. Over the years the market capital of the London Stock Exchange has grown to over US$ 3.5 trillion and volumes close to US$ 2 trillion. Today, the London Stock Exchange with all its indices together combines to form the fourth largest stock exchange in the world.

Indices of the London Stock Exchange:

FTSE 100 Index
• FTSE 250 Index
• FTSE 350 Index
• FTSE Small Cap Index

• FTSE All-share Index

The London Stock Exchange has a total of 2,864 listed companies and they are divided into categories based on their market capital.

History of the LSE

According to historical references, the London Stock Exchange actually began functioning in a coffee house (Jonathan’s Coffee House) in 1698 and slowly transformed itself and grew into one of the most polished and professional financial institutions of the Globe.

The LSE didn’t go unharmed when the city of London was nearly destroyed by the Great Fire, but it was soon rebuilt. A group of brokers constructed a new building housing a Coffee Room in 1773. This was the first time the coffee house was referred to as the “The Stock Exchange”.

In 1801 the London Stock Exchange was formally born and in 1802 for the first time the exchange moved into a modern building in Chapel Court. It managed to survive both World Wars, the Bombings of IRA and stands out till date as the one of the most sought for and traded stock exchanges of the World.

In 2007 the London Stock Exchange purchased the Borsa Italiana (Italian Stock Exchange) making it a fully owned subsidiary of the LSE. They are together called the London Stock Exchange, however they function as two separate entities. In the very same year the LSE acquired the Mercato Del Titoli di Stato, an electronic fixed income trading market founded in 1988. This helped the LSE to extend its reach throughout Europe.

The Most Popular Companies on the LSE:

In LSE companies are divided in groups of indices based on their capital value and market realisation. The FTSE 100 and all its components together form the most valuable group on companies to be traded on the LSE. The FTSE 100 is a group of the hundred most valuable companies that are listed on the LSE.
Following are the Top 20 Companies Names in order of their Market Capital:

The above listed companies have a combined market realisation of over one trillion pounds and are some of the most traded components of the financial world.


The London Stock Exchange consists of 2,938 companies, of which 1151 belong to AIM (Alternative Investment Market), 44 are a part of the Professional Security Market and 10 on Special Fund Market.

Some London Stock Exchange companies originate from different countries of the world. Today the London Stock Exchange has 56 companies from Africa, 41 from China, 29 from India and Bangladesh, 23 from continental Europe and 26 from Latin America.

The London Stock Exchange also has the highest number of Emerging Markets Exchange Trade Funds as compared to any other exchange in the World. With a total of 158 ETFs the LSE is the market leader by listed ETFs.

Interesting Dates and Events for the LSE: For you to understand the growth of the London Stock Exchange you need to carefully understand the increase in index levels of all the indices of the exchange.

The FTSE 100 has been a story of growth, founded in 1984 at an index base level of 1000 points, the FTSE 100 today trades at 6500 plus points, this aggregated an overall growth of 650%. That means that the value of stock of the top 100 companies has increased more than 7 times.

Below is the FTSE 100 Index Value since Incorporation: