Notes

Author:

What is the stock market, and why is it always on the news? Why is finance so important? How do stock markets work, and what do they really do? Financial markets are an inescapable part of the modern world but remain poorly understood. How to Build a Stock Exchange sets out to answer these questions by way of a journey through the histories and narratives of finance, combining meticulous historical-sociological research with anecdotes, reflections on the narratives and ideologies of finance and the author’s autobiographical reminiscences. The book takes the stock exchange both as an institution in its own right and as a rhetorical figure to explore finance more broadly. It focuses on the material and technological drivers of the markets, as well as the social relationships and rituals that keep markets functioning. It identifies exchanges as embedded in specific historical and political trajectories, showing the mutually constitutive relationship of modern nation states and financial markets. It shows how financial institutions are equally constituted by narratives, which work to set rules of participation, identity and conduct. Most of all, it makes the case that stock exchanges – and the other institutions of finance - are products of chance and circumstance. Finance, it argues, is a social technology, a reflection of its makers. While the stock exchange as we know it is central to so many contemporary global problems, it is not, the book suggests, entirely beyond change.

Prologue

1

For accounts of the Zong Massacre see, among others, Baucom (2005) and Walvin (2011). Walvin also begins his narrative with Turner’s painting.

3

Quoted by Rupprecht (2008: 269).

5

Roscoe (1831: 232–5). The primary and secondary sources for historians are listed by Baucom (2005: 336, note 12).

11

Here and following, Baucom (2005: 61). Baucom’s source for this account is an anonymous pamphlet in the Liverpool archives.

16

See, for example, the accounts in Dymski et al (2013) and Steil et al (2018).

20

The quotation is from Nelms (2012: 238). Nelms compares the ‘first zombie movie … a 1932 Bela Lugosi vehicle entitled White Zombie, presents a group of zombified workers trudging around a Haitian sugar mill, performing turn-of-the-nineteenth-century fears of alienation’ with ‘Romero’s parody of consumerism in Dawn of the Dead – which sees a group of survivors defend a suburban shopping mall against hordes of hungry zombies, enacting “a fantasy of purchase power’ that displays ‘the zombifying power of commodity fetishism”’ (2012: 236).

21

The phrase ‘neoliberal fairy story’ is borrowed from Mellor (2019), the sentiment from Ho (2009).

Chapter 1

1

The original paper is Jensen and Meckling (1976). The ideas reached a broader audience through Michael Jensen and Kevin Murphy’s 1990 article ‘CEO incentives – it’s not how much you pay, but how’ in the Harvard Business Review. For an account of Wall Street’s preoccupation with shareholder value, see Ho (2009).

5

See The New York Times’ expose of Amazon’s HRM practices in Kantor and Streitfeld (2015). For the increased disciplining of academic researchers under the UK research assessment exercise, see Pardo-Guerra (2022).

14

Quoted in Arrighi (1994).

16

The ethical nature of markets can be seen, in different ways, in the work of Kimberly Chong (2017), Daniel Beunza (2019) and my own research (Roscoe, 2022).

17

I am here indebted to Marieke de Goede and her reading of Isabelle Stengers, for suggesting that laughter lightens its object of critique rather than fortifying it. Stengers writes that ‘the laughter of someone who has to be impressed always complicates the life of power’ (see de Goede, 2020: 109).

18

A longer version of this reflection appears as Roscoe (2021).

19

Muniesa (2021), quoting Horatio Ortiz’ sharp phrasing.

24

For a critique of cost-benefit analysis and scientific management, see Roscoe (2014).

25

For a lengthy philosophical critique of this approach, see MacIntyre (1981).

Chapter 4

1

The background detail in this chapter comes from varied sources: my own research into London’s markets (Roscoe, 2017) and Michie’s history (2001). In 1990 Dr Bernard Attard of the University of Leicester conducted a series of oral history interviews with former jobbers, capturing the details of what was by then a vanished world. The quotations are from Attard’s histories. Transcripts and recordings can be found at https://sas-space.sas.ac.uk/view/collections/lseoh.html [accessed 6 December 2022].

5

This episode comes from Attard’s interview, see note 1.

6

From my own interview notes.

9

To be precise, the application was rejected on the basis that the firm’s accounts did not meet UK standards.

11

Here and below, taken from Attard (1994: 45).

Chapter 5

1

Quotations are from Bernard Attard’s interview with Anthony Jenkins, and my own oral histories (Roscoe, 2017). The chapter title references a comment by one of my interviewees; as the chapter shows, Margaret Thatcher served this group of market participants well.

2

This short political history draws on Sargent (2013).

6

For detailed accounts of the Big Bang see, among others, Poser (1988), Clemons and Weber (1990) and Michie (2001).

8

Krippner (2001: 785). Emphasis in original.

9

For further commentary on the development of the housing market under Thatcher, see Chapter Two in Roscoe (2014).

10

This quotation comes, via Vander Weyer (2012), from David Kynaston. As Vander Weyer points out, Hoare Govett has an interesting and rather circular history. Security Pacific collapsed in 1992 and was bought by Bank of America; the broker was then sold to ABN AMRO, which was taken over by RBS and then found its way back to the British government.

12

I follow Bryan Appleyard’s (1986) characterization, drawn in three very prescient columns.

Chapter 6

1

There is a huge literature here. See, for example, Pickering (1992); Knorr Cetina (1999) and Latour (1999, 2017).

4

The following relies on MacKenzie’s account (see, in particular, MacKenzie, 2009).

5

Andrew Bailey, then Chief Executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), setting out policy via a speech on the future of LIBOR (Bailey, 2017).

14

The lenders’ problem is a variant on George Akerlov’s Nobel prize-winning ‘markets for lemons’ thesis. Akerlov demonstrates that in a market where buyers cannot distinguish quality, they will protect themselves by offering low prices. Sellers of high-quality goods will react by leaving the market and soon only the ‘lemons’ will be left.

15

The FICO® score has been documented by Poon (2007, 2009).

Chapter 7

3

Souleles (2017: 397), here and below.

8

Ho (2009: 190, 128).

9

Ho (2009: 128).

18

La Berge (2015: 88), here and below.

21

All these are examples collected by empirical sociologists, things I have observed or stories heard in the field. ‘Scalping’ is trading on one’s own account, as opposed to executing trades for clients.

28

Prügl (2016: 26–7).

Chapter 8

1

John Jenkins made his ‘grand a day’ in the early 1980s trading unlisted stocks by way of a London Stock Exchange exemption, but in Britain it was more usual for these to be dealt by a ‘licenced dealer’ recognized by the Department of Trade and Industry.

2

Wilmot (1985). This section has been compiled from media coverage of the affair.

7

A Mr M. Bennett, writing in the Stock Exchange Journal of 1959, and quoted by Pardo-Guerra (2010: 93).

8

The illustration is reproduced in Beunza et al (2012: 30).

9

The details of automation are complex and are exhaustively covered in Pardo-Guerra (2019).

14

Poser (1988: 325). The quotation and detail are from Clemons and Weber (1990: 49).

18

Leonard (1989); BBC News (2011). A ‘boiler room’ is an operation pressure-selling worthless or imaginary stock to private investors. For some reason they are often based in southern Spain.

Chapter 9

1

Defoe is quoted by Hamilton and Parker (2016: 3).

3

This account draws on my own research (Roscoe, 2017).

4

This claim is based on my analysis of interview conversations. It is supported by Posner’s (2009) account of strategic rivalry among exchanges.

5

Here and following detail Beunza and Garud (2007).

Chapter 11

1

Impressions of the breakfast meeting are from memory, and details of the deal from the archives. It was extensively reported in May and June 2000. See notes 2 and 3; see also Cowell (2000).

7

This market offered much lighter admission rules including a three- rather than a five-year trading record, no minimum capitalization or pre-vetting of listing particulars, and a smaller public float. See Arcot et al (2007).

9

Much of this and what follows is drawn from my narrative history of these markets (see Roscoe, 2017).

12

Cisco (1993a: 8; 1993b: 5–16)

14

This, and subsequent material, is drawn from my own account of the markets (see Roscoe, 2017). Sources are extensively referenced therein. Additional material comes from my own unpublished interviews.

16

BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – the ‘emerging’ powerhouse economies of the 2000s.

Chapter 12

8

This section draws my own account of the markets (see Roscoe, 2017).

Chapter 13

1

This observation is drawn from Beunza et al (2012).

3

Pardo-Guerra (2019: 189). The following section draws on Pardo-Guerra’s account.

9

This next section draws on my own research (Roscoe, 2017).

12

The SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) eventually launched a huge antitrust action against the broker-dealers, with damages reported to be $910 million in total. See MacKenzie and Pardo-Guerra (2014).

Chapter 14

1

Quotations from my interview with Theresa Wallis (see Roscoe, 2017).

4

According to Gerakos et al (2013), firms listing on AIM underperform peers listed on more regulated exchanges, less regulated exchanges (eg, the American ‘Pink Sheets’ over-the-counter [OTC] market) and even private equity, and are more likely to fail than firms on other markets. On the other hand, Nielsson (2013) argues that AIM-listed firms are of equivalent quality to those listing in more regulated markets, and simply do not meet the listing criteria of more established markets. Scholars do agree that AIM offers a successful fundraising venue for smaller companies.

6

I am quoting from Sixtus’ own account of this start-up. Sixtus is a pseudonym.

7

I would not usually cite Wikipedia, but on such a facile point, where better?

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