Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

End of the Outcry Era; Monday Sees the Demise of a Great Old City Practice

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

End of the Outcry Era; Monday Sees the Demise of a Great Old City Practice

Article excerpt


IT IS ONE of the most vivid images of the modern City - the latter-day equivalent of the ranks of stiff, bowler-hatted stockbrokers who once marched across London Bridge. Now it is testosterone-fuelled traders in their extraordinary multicoloured jackets who are the living embodiment of the seething mass of moneymaking that is the modern Square Mile.

With their incomprehensible hand signals and jargon, reputation for aggressive fast living and ability to make massive fortunes while still in their twenties, they summed up the popular view of how the City worked and played.

They were seen wandering around the streets surrounding the trading floors after a frantic trading session - often looking exhausted and smoking the financial equivalent of a post-coital cigarette.

The bright scarlet, orange and striped jackets worn to make their firms identifiable during the chaos of a busy trading sessions made them as much a signature City sight as the Beefeaters.

But soon, they will have gone, swept away by the same tidal wave of technological progress that did for other now extinct and long forgotten City species, such as stock jobbers and blue buttons.

Monday morning sees another important milestone in the demise of open outcry.

Blinking impersonal screens will be allowed to compete for the first time with the last true open outcry market in London, the International Petroleum Exchange.

Previously, electronic trading had been allowed at the IPE only when the pits were closed in the early morning and the late evening. From Monday, screen-based dealing will be allowed for the Brent oil contract from 2am through to 10pm. The gasoil and options contracts will follow soon after.

Although the two systems will operate in parallel during the day to start with, no one doubts the death knell has sounded for the IPE trading floor at St Katharine Dock.

Within a year - perhaps two at the outside - the last open outcry session at the IPE will end and the pits will be sold. …

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