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FINANCE HOUSES AND LEASING COMPANIES

Finance Houses and Leasing Companies provide consumer credit, business finance, leasing, and motor finance. For consumers they provide personal loans, hire purchase, store cards, store instalment credit, and first and sec­ond mortgages. For the business sector, they offer leasing and hire purchase as well as a variety of business loans.

A wide range of companies offer these facilities: banks, merchant banks, building societies, finance houses, leasing companies and the finance arms of several large manufacturing and retail companies.

The representative body for this highly specialized sector of Britain's financial industry, is the Finance & Leasing Association. Its members achieved $26.8 billion of new business and $56.2 billion outstandings in 1993. This covers 80 per cent of consumer credit, apart from that provided by the clearing banks and first mortgage lenders, and approximately 30 per cent of all Britain's fixed investment in plant and equipment.

FACTORING COMPANIES

The main service of a factoring or invoice discounting company is to im­prove the cashflow of healthy, growing companies by providing finance se­cured against the outstanding invoices of a business. The injection of cash is a flexible form of finance to increase a company's liquidity, rciluu' ik kink or other borrowing requirements and release capital for growth. Since Пи-early 1960s, factoring and invoice discounting have become major Гмкикм! services covering international activities as well as domestic trade. A nuinU-i of banks and other financial ogranizations have established factoring anil invoice discounting subsidiaries as part of their group activities. In July I91M, 11,021 companies were making use of the services of the members of the Association of British Factors and Discounters (ABFD).

VENTURE CAPITAL COMPANIES

Venture capital is long-term equity financing for new and developing busi­nesses. The 115 full members of the British Venture Capital Association (BVCA) represent every significant source of venture capital in Britain. About half the capital comes from venture/development organizations which are subsidiaries or divisions of larger financial institutions such as banks, merchant banks, pension funds or insurance companies. The rest comes from the independent venture capital firms which will have raised their capi­tal from more than one financial institution.

Venture capital investment has grown dramatically since its emergence in the late 70s. in 1993, $1.2 billion was invested by BVCA members in the UK, Britain's largest venture capital organization invested $318 million in British companies in the financial year ending March 1994. Since 1984, the venture capital industry has invested over $10 billion and currently com­mands an investment pool of about $2 billion.

ПОЯСНЕНИЯ К ТЕКСТУ

instalmentочередной взнос, частичный платеж

by instalment — в рассрочку

mortgage — ипотека, залог, закладная

outstandingsнеоплаченные счета, задолженность

clearingбезналичные расчеты между банками

factoring — факторинг, факторинговые (компании)

discounting — операция по дисконту

discounterмагазин, торгующим по сниженным ценам

invoice — счет-фактура, выписать счет-фактуру

liquidity — ликвидность

19. THE FINANCIAL MARKETS

Every day, the London Stock Exchange and the money and bond, foreign exchange, bullion and commodities markets attract amounts of money une­qualled in any other centre in the world. Some $4 billion worth of equities and bonds are traded in a typical day.

THE LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE

The London Stock Exchange is positioned in the heart of a city unrivalled anywhere in the world for its spread of financial markets and its number of foreign-owned banking, financial and securities businesses.The Exchange has a dominant position in international equities trading. At the centre of this market are over 50 securities houses offering buying and selling prices for more than 8,000 domestic and overseas securities with prices displayed on thousands of information screens around the world.

The Exchange's position in cross-border equities is equally impressive, ground 60 per cent of the world's equity trading outside home markets passes through London, and this figure rises to more than 90 per cent within Europe. In the year to the end of March \1994, foreign equity turnover reached an impressive $671 billion, while total domestic equity market turn­over was $612 billion.

The Exchange has its administrative centre in London with regional of­fices in Belfast, Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester and the Irish Stock Exchange in Dublin. It is one of the largest in the world in terms of the number and variety of securities listed.

Around 10 million people in Britain now own shares directly and a great many others hold them indirectly through collective investment schemes such as pension funds and insurance investment.

In July 1994, the Exchange introduced the 10-day rolling settlement which meant that 250 years of an account-based system of settlement came to an end. The new system is designed to smooth workflows and reduce risk. Ten-day rolling settlement is the first phase of a programme of improve­ments to UK equity settlement, leading to the introduction of the Bank of England's CREST service. A move to 5-day rolling settlement is planned when the industry has adjusted to the new environment.

BIG BANG

Various pressures for change led to Big Bang. The London Stock Exchange of the late 1970s depended enormously on institution funds but once ex­change controls were lifted in 1979 many fund managers were attracted to foreign securities, principally through Tokyo and New York exchanges. Member firms on the London Stock Exchange were undercapitalized to trade in sufficient volumes to compete on international markets. At the same time, the London Stock Exchange came under enormous pressure when it was taken to court by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) under the Restrictive Trade Practices Act. The OFT had three principal complaints: the operation of a scale of minimum commissions paid to brokers; the separation of capac­ity between jobbers and brokers; and restrictions on membership amounting to "closed shop" practices.

The pressure was relieved in 1983 when the then Chairman of the Stock Exchange, Sir Nicholas Goodison, reached an out-of-court agreement with the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. The concessions offered by the Stock Exchange were the catalyst for major changes in the operation of the Stock Market — Big Bang in October 1986.

In the post Big Bang years, all three areas of OFT complaint have been resolved with the result that the scope and capability of the new Exchange has vastly increased. Banks and merchant banks swiftly bought up or merged with the stockbroking firms and took over many jobbers on the market. Dur­ing this period, a number of major privatisations (reversing the nationalisa­tion programme started in the 1950s) continued to open the stocks and shares market directly to millions of smaller private investors. <

Under the Financial Services Act 1986, members of the London Stock Exchange are now covered by a single SRO, the Securities and Futures Authority (SFA) and a single Recognized Investment Exchange (RIE), the London Stock Exchange. The Exchange as an RIE regulates the operation of the marketplace whilst the SFA sets the rules for securities houses' dealings with clients and monitors their conduct accordingly.

ПОЯСНЕНИЯ К ТЕКСТУ

Belfast — Белфаст Birmingham — Бирмингем Dublin — Дублин

Glasgow — Глазго

Leeds — Лидс

Manchester — Манчестер

Big Bang — «Большой шок», потрясение (резкое изменение в финансовой практике, экономической политике)

20. TODAY'S EXCHANGE MARKETS

The post Big Bang market is conducted almost entirely by electronic screen through the Stock Exchange Automated Quotations (SEAQ) system. Market makers are obliged to enter their competitive buying and selling prices during trading between 08.30 and 16.30 every day on SEAQ terminals in their of­fices. SEAQ puts together composite pages of these prices which are dis­played in broker dealers' offices through commercial quote vendor networks. Trading usually takes place by telephone although the Exchange operates an electronic execution facility for small bargains (SAEF). The Exchange operates in three principal markets: Domestic equity market

Ordinary shares issued by UK companies quoted on SEAQ are traded on this market which is based on the competing market maker system. Gilt-edged market

The Government meets its Public Sector Borrowing Requirement pre­dominantly by issues of gilt-edged stocks, or "gilts". These are issued through the Bank of England and traded in a secondary market through the Exchange with around $6 billion changing hands every day. Prices are dis­played by computer on a service independent of SEAQ but still administered by the Exchange.

International equity market

The SEAQ international system makes it possible for leading securities firms around the world to trade through the Exchange. Today there are over 50 market makers offering firm prices in over 600 overseas stocks.

EUROPEAN COMMUNITY DIRECTIVES

The London Stock Exchange altered its rules in 1990 to conform to EC directives on listing particulars, prospectuses and mutual recognition. The major effect of the EC directive on Mutual Recognition of Listing Particu­lars is that, subject to certain limitations, each member state must recognise the listing particulars accepted in another member state. To bring British companies into line with those of the EU, the minimum trading record requirement was reduced from five to three years.

THE MONEY MARKETS

London's money markets channel wholesale, short-term funds between lend­ers and borrowers, an operation conducted by all the major banks and finan­cial institutions described in this publication. The Bank of England regulates the market, authorizing many of its participants and laying down an ethical conduct followed by all participants. There is no physical market place; ne­gotiations are conducted mostly by telephone or via automated dealing sys­tems.

The main financial instruments are CDs; bills of exchange; Treasury and local authority bills; and short-term government stocks. The bill markets and those in which the discount houses borrow from the rest of the banking system are often referred to as the "traditional" markets.

THE PARALLEL MARKETS

Since the 1960s, the "parallel" money markets emerged and these include the market in inter-bank lending, CDs and commercial bills. Today's paral­lel markets involve banks, building societies, local autorities, finance houses and companies.

The inter-bank market allows banks to deposit surplus cash with each other. Interest rates are governed by the London Inter Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR), which provides the base rate for other markets. The rates quoted range from overnight to one year or more.

The CDs market involves large companies and institutions depositing large surplus sums with clearing banks, merchant banks or building societies in return for a promise of payment in a specified period at a given rate of interest. If depositors need money they can resell CDs; thus a CD is a nego­tiable bill similar to a bill of exchange.

Commercial bills or "paper" developed as a result of the increasing trend towards the "securitisation of debt" during the 1980s, whereby major bor­rowers preferred to raise funds by issuing securities instead of seeking band loans. They consist of short-term, unsecured promissory notes which can only be issued by companies quoted on the London Stock Exchange and which fulfil a minimum capital requirement. Programmes of commercial bills are usually issued using banks as intermediaries. The buyers are usually big companies or institutions with money available from two weeks to several months.

21. THE EUROCURRENCY MARKET

This market began with Eurodollars — US dollars lent outside the United States — and has developed into a powerful market in currencies lent outside their domestic marketplace. There are, for example, Euromarks and Euroyen in London, Euroslerling etc in Bonn, Tokyo and New York. Lon­don and Tokyo are the main world capitals for eurocurrency dealings. Deal­ing centres around Euroloans, involving commercial banks, and Eurobonds which involve investing institutions and banks.

Euroloans consist of large tranches of short-term money (usually repay­able in three to six months) lent by syndicates of banks and linked to the LI BO R rate.

Eurobonds are bearer bonds, requiring no register of holders, issued in currencies other than that of the issuing country and operating over a longer period, usually between 5 and 20 years. Their issue is managed by a bank with the aid of underwriters and is placed with investors. Market participants include multinational corporations, non-bank financial institutions, govern­ments and the international banking community.

The Euromarket, as it has become known, has a single SRO the Interna­tional Securities Market Association (ISMA). During 1993, some $23.167 trillion was traded in the eurobond market, an increase of almost 60 per cent over the 1992 total, which was itself a record year. UK members of ISMA accounted for a considerable amount of this total. This huge increase in turnover was marked by continued growth in cross-border trading in domes­tic instruments. As a global market emerges institutional funds will switch relatively smoothly from "domestic" to "international" and vice versa. This trend can be expected to continue.

THE FOREIGN EXCHANGE MARKET

London's Foreign Exchange Market is the largest in the world with currency transactions amounting to about $303,000 million each day. Market dealing is conducted entirely through telephone and data links between the banks, other financial institutions and a number of firms of foreign exchange bro­kers which act as intermediaries.

British banks keep close contact with the banking community abroad and quote buying and selling rates on a daily basis for both immediate trans­actions ("spot") and future transactions ("forward") in many currencies. The forward market enables dealers to buy currency at a fixed exchange rate on a particular date in the future. Dealings in foreign exchange provide those engaged in international trade and investment with foreign currency for their transactions and can be used to maintain controls on the costs of imports.

EUROPEAN MONETARY SYSTEM (EMS)

The purpose of the EMS, in operation since 1979, is to establish a greater measure of monetary stability in the European Community. A key element is the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) under which members keep their currencies within agreed limits against one another. Britain was a party to the 1978 agreement that set up the EMS, and has always participated in its arrangements and institutions.

At the centre of the EMS is the European Currency Unit (ecu) used fora number of purposes within the system. The ecu is made up of a "basket" of agreed amounts of each of the EC member currencies and its composition is normally adjusted every five years.

In addition to its use between members of the EMS, there is a growing private sector market in ecus, particularly in ecu-denominated depostis and Eurobonds.

22. FINANCIAL FUTURES AND TRADED OPTIONS

Financial Futures are legally binding contracts for the purchase or sale of financial products, on a specified future date, at a price agreed in the present. Trading in financial futures developed out of the numerous futures markets in commodities that have their origins in London's position as a port and in Britain's need to import food and raw materials.

Financial futures and options are traded at the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange (LIFFE) established in 1982. Members of the market include about 200 banks, other financial institutions, brokers and individual traders. The Exchange provides facilities for dealing in contracts including UK, US, Japanese, German, Italian and ECU gov­ernment bonds; UK, US and European short-tern»interest rates; the FTSE-100 Index plus a range of equity options. The market allows those that could be affected by movements in interest rates or the stock markets, either to reduce their vulnerability (by "hedging") or to speculate on the possibility of making a gain. Fund managers will normally hedge, while individual traders, or "locals", will speculate.

TRADED OPTIONS

Traded or equity options are contracts giving the right to buy and sell Ex­change-listed securities at an agreed price within a particular period of time. This again allows fund managers to hedge on the market; they can buy either "call" options (the right to buy stocks and shares at an agreed price on a future date) or "put" options (the right to sell securities at an agreed price on a future date).

The financial futures and traded options market are based on a system of "open outcry" (a kind of auction) conducted on the floor, rather than by computer terminals, but supported by state of the art technology.

HE LONDON BULLION MARKET

London is regarded as the world's major gold dealing center and has become the clearing center in the world marketplace. Over 60 financial institutions including banks, securities and trading companies comprise the London gold and silver markets which today trade by telephone and electronic communi­cations links. Although most trading is on account, large quantities of gold pass through London with the result that the standards set in London are adopted worldwide. Five members of the market meet twice a day to estab­lish a London fixing price for gold which is a reference point for worldwide gold dealings. Silver price-fixing occurs once a day and involves three market participants. Each price-fixing punctuates active and continuous dealings throughout the day.

COMMODITIES, SHIPPING AND FREIGHT

London Commodity Exchange (LCE) is Europe's primary market for trading soft commodity futures and options contracts in cocoa, robusta coffee, white and raw sugar, wheat, barley, potatoes, and Biffex (dry cargo freight) which is traded against the Baltic Freight Index. The large-scale economies of cocoa and coffee trading continue to justify the open outcry system of floor trading.

Gas oil for heating, and petroleum are traded through the International Petroleum Exchange (IPE). Copper, lead, zinc, nickel, aluminium, alu­minium alloy and tin are traded through the London Metal Exchange (LME), the world's largest non-ferrous base metals exchange.

The Baltic Exchange is the world's only truly international shipping ex­change where ships and cargoes are matched, bought and sold throughout the world. The Baltic Exchange contributes several hundred million pounds of foreign currency earnings to Britain's balance of payments account. The floor of the Exchange is still a daily meeting place for brokers and the Baltic upholds the high standard of business conduct upon which the London mar­ket is based. "Our Word our Bond" remains the firmly upheld priciple for transactions in the Exchange Baltic dealers handle more than half the world's bulk cargo movements of oil, ore, coal and grain. In April 1993, The Baltic relumed to St Mary Axe from Lloyd's of London where it was tempo­rarily relocated after a bomb explosion severely damaged the original build­ing in 1992.

The commodities markets are located close to sources of finance and the City's shipping and insurance services.



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