A Transatlantic Revolution: 1970–90
The growth and development of the global securities market in the 1970s and 1980s were marked by two major turning points. The abolition of fixed commissions on the New York Stock Exchange in May 1975 was of crucial significance, putting pressure on other stock exchanges not just within the United States but also around the world. Big Bang in London in October 1986 not only transformed the British securities market but also intensified the pressure for change already experienced by other stock exchanges, especially in Europe. By 1990 the effects of these twin developments were clearly visible worldwide. Securities markets re-emerged as essential components of national financial systems whilst the global securities market once again became a key element in the financial flows that brought stability to the international monetary system. These major turning points at national level were accompanied by significant long-term developments internationally. One, symbolized by the gradual disappearance of exchange controls, was the decline of the barriers between countries imposed by national governments increasingly since 1914. This gave full force to national changes as domestic markets were increasingly exposed to external competition. A second force at work was the convergence of communications and computing technology as these undermined the authority of existing institutional arrangements. Electronic marketplaces provided a real alternative to the regulated stock exchanges as well as contributing to the growth of trading on a global basis. A third force, related to declining barriers and expanding contact, was the process of globalization at all levels. The growing integration of national economies produced a functioning global economy involving the movement of manufactured goods, commodities, services, labour, and capital worldwide in response to the price signals generated by international supply and demand.
This technological convergence in communications and computing permitted a far greater degree of integration than had ever been possible before. Combined with advances in corporate organization and management the communication revolution permitted the creation of financial businesses that treated the world economy as a single unit and operated at a multinational