The London International Financial Futures Exchange (LIFFE) literally brought a splash of colour to the drab City streets when it opened in London on 30 September 1982. The place was suddenly awash with traders and assistants running around in brightly coloured jackets.
They stood out starkly against the traditionally suited and booted workers. If truth be told, there was more than a twinge of envy in the air. Not least because of the alleged high earnings of those wearing the jackets.
People who seemed to have left school at 16 with little or nothing in the way of formal academic qualifications were suddenly able to earn far more than university graduates. This stuck in the craw of some of those on suddenly outdated accelerated career programmes.
As the no-holds-barred economic and social policies of Thatcherism took hold, raucous open outcry trading quickly became the new black. Conspicuous consumption became the order of the day for LIFFE's high earners, often dismissed as barrow boys by the aloof traditionalists.
But by November 2000 electronics had taken their toll. The last three of what at the peak were 26 open outcry pits shut up shop. LIFFE's ambitions for expansion and moving to a new site came to naught. It continues to exist only in a kind of corporate Phantom Zone.
LIFFE was modelled on the Chicago Board of trade and the CME. It began by offering futures contracts and options linked to short-term interest rates. Initially a tenant of the Royal Exchange building, it moved to Cannon Bridge in 1991.
It's LIFFE Jim, but not as we know it
Euronext, owner of the exchanges of Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and Lisbon and the leading pan-European marketplace, bought LIFFE in 2002. It was attracted by the technology it had developed, known as LIFFE CONNECT.
The new enlarged group became Euronext.liffe. Euronext merged with the New York Stock Exchange in 2007 and became NYSE Euronext. NYSE Euronext became a subsidiary of US-based Intercontinental Exchange in 2013.
All LIFFE contracts migrated to ICE Futures Europe (which is in effect the LIFFE business operating under a new name) in a phased approach that was launched in September 2014.
Euronext re-emerged as a standalone entity in June 2014 following its public share offer.
Its official corporate brochure states that it has gone back to its roots as a pan-European securities and derivatives exchange. “Our roots are deep: for four centuries, the exchanges that now comprise Euronext have been at the heart of European capital markets.”
As a multi-class, integrated exchange, it says it offers companies, investors and financial institutions a diverse array of financial products. The Euronext markets are open from 9.00 am CET till 17.35 pm CET.
All details for specific assets and markets are available on https://www.euronext.com/en/calendars-hours
- Its plans for the future build on its role as a major player in financing the economies of its key countries
- It will seek to consolidate European liquidity for the benefit of issuers, investors and the real economy
- In trading and listing arenas it is building on its single market access and multi-product trading technology
- The development of its existing derivatives business, used by investors to hedge risk, is a major priority
The story of the CME from telegraphs to satellites in space
CME Group, on which LIFFE is modelled, as stated above, is today the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace. It says on its website that it handles three billion contracts worth approximately US$1 quadrillion annually, on average.
The company is a marketplace for buyers and sellers. It brings together individuals, companies and institutions that need to manage risk or that want to profit by accepting the risk exposure of others.
Its rich history features
- The grain merchants who founded the Chicago Board of Trade in 1848
- The dairy merchants who founded the New York Mercantile Exchange in 1872
- The butter and egg merchants who founded the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in 1898
The combination of these exchanges provides derivatives products, services and technologies to the global financial marketplace. It brings buyers and sellers together through its CME Globex electronic trading platform and its trading facilities in Chicago and New York.
The uncertain geopolitical and economic climate makes CME Group’s broad array of products increasingly important for portfolio managers traders, investment bankers, chief financial officers and corporate treasurers, as well as farmers, ranchers and other individuals.
CME Group says its exchanges offer the widest range of global benchmark products across all major asset classes, including futures and options based on interest rates, equity indices, foreign exchange, energy, agricultural commodities, metals, weather and real estate.
Trades mostly electronic
Through its CME Globex electronic trading platform, users worldwide are able to access the broadest array of the most liquid financial derivatives markets available anywhere. Today, more than 80 percent of the trades at CME Group are electronic.
Access to CME Globex is available to customers in more than 150 countries through a variety of means including telecommunications hubs in key financial centres in the United States, Europe, Asia and Latin America.
CME Group says it partners with exchanges throughout the world to expand access globally to their products and its own. The system is continuously enhanced to provide customers with high-speed, high-volume capacity, improved capabilities and a range of new products.
Address (global headquarters): CME Group Inc.
20 South Wacker Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60606
Tel: +1 312 930 1000
A history of innovation
CME Group says its innovations in trade, technology, industry and markets have advanced worldwide financial markets. CME Group says it has played a vital role in the growth of the global economy for more than 150 years.
1835 Electromagnetic telegraph makes its debut
1844 Congress funds 40-mile line from Baltimore to Washington DC
1848 Grain merchants found the Chicago Board of Trade
1851 Offers earliest forward contract ever recorded – on 3,000 bushels of corn
1856 CBOT establishes first set of grading standards for wheat
1865 Establishes world’s first futures clearing operation when it begins requiring performance bonds, called margin, to be posted by buyers and sellers
1866 The first transatlantic cable shortens communication time with foreign markets from three days to three minutes
1872 Dairy merchants found the New York Mercantile Exchange
1878 Ruben Jennings designs octagonal trading pit featuring clear sightlines, delivery-month sections and defined trader positions
1898 Butter and egg merchants found what would become the Chicago Mercantile Exchange
The early 1900s bring numerous challenges
- The Great Depression and two World Wars reveal the dangers inherent in global connectivity
- But a positive result of this is the communications technology developed during wartime eventually becomes another mainstream innovation that connects people around the world
- Just as telegraph technology facilitated communication in the mid-1800s, the touchtone telephone allows the traders of the mid-1900s to receive and communicate market information domestically and internationally
1961 Launches first futures contract on frozen, stored meats - the frozen pork belly contract
1964 Launches first agricultural futures based on non-storable commodities - live cattle futures
1969 Launches trading of first non-grain product: silver futures contract
1971 Bretton Woods international exchange rate mechanism breaks down
1972 Launches the industry’s first-ever financial futures contracts on seven foreign currencies
1975 Offers first interest rate futures contract, on Government National Mortgage Association futures
1981 Interest rate products added
1982 Develops first successful stock index futures contract, CME S&P 500 Index futures, and first options on futures contract for US Treasury Bond futures
1987 Ushers in the era of electronic futures trading by initiating development of CME Globex platform
1992 Handles first electronic futures trades with launch of CME Globex electronic trading platform
1997 Develops and launches first mini-sized, all electronic futures contracts, CME E-mini S&P 500 futures
1999 Initiates first weather-based futures contracts
2000 The explosion of the internet sees CME Group rebuild its Globex electronic trading system allowing customers worldwide to place orders directly
2007 Completes merger with Chicago Board of Trade
2008 Completes acquisition of New York Mercantile Exchange
2011 Launches European clearing services via CME Clearing Europe
- Acquires Kansas City Board of Trade
- Completes new S&P Dow Jones Indices Joint Venture