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Good Derivatives: A Story of Financial and Environmental Innovation by Richard L. Sandor

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Chapter 8

The Decade of the Eighties

Globalizing Markets

Just remember, when you're over the hill, you begin to pick up speed.

Charles M. Schulz

The decade of the 1980s was spent building markets across the globe. In particular, it was a tale of three cities: an international financial hub, a center of cultural and artistic heritage, and the “last truly great American city.”1 London, Paris, and Chicago would soon have something in common. The innovations that began on LaSalle Street were now being replicated globally. Enabling regulation in Europe and the United States created new opportunities, allowing new exchanges to grow and new commodity market innovations to proliferate. These shifts did not just emerge fortuitously. Instead, they were the product of entrepreneurial efforts and informed regulation. This is the story.

Exchange-Making in London

One day in 1981, I answered the phone to a plummy English accent, “This is John Berkshire calling from Chicago. We're thinking of starting a financial futures exchange in London. I'd like to meet with you and get your opinions about it.”

Half an hour later, John walked into my office. The encounter stood out in my memory because my office was so small that there was literally no place for his luggage. John was not your typical reserved Englishman. He was direct, energetic, and was an entrepreneur. John explained his vision for a financial futures exchange in London. The mainstream UK capital markets possessed the aura of an exclusive ...

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