The Consequences of Financial Deregulation: the London "Big Bang" thirty-one years on

Catherine Schenk, University of Oxford

12. Jan 2018


Center for Financial Studies, House of Finance, Goethe University Frankfurt

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CFS Lecture (jointly organized by the Center for Financial Studies at Goethe University, and the Institut für Bank- und Finanzgeschichte e.V.)

The deregulation of securities trading in London in October 1986 is conventionally viewed as having rescued the competitive position of the City of London in global capital markets. Viewed from a longer term perspective, however, the reduction in barriers between investment and retail banking and rushed mergers and acquisitions prompted by Big Bang can be viewed as increasing the fragility of the global financial system. This lecture will reflect on the motivations for deregulation in the 1980s, the impact on British banks and the structure of international finance and suggest what lessons might be drawn from this episode about the process of financial deregulation.


Catherine Schenk
Professor of Economic and Social History at the University of Oxford. After completing her undergraduate and Masters degrees at University of Toronto in Economics, International Relations and Chinese Studies, she went to the London School of Economics to complete a PhD in Economic History. Since then she has held academic positions at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, Royal Holloway, University of London and University of Glasgow. She has also been visiting professor at Nankai University, China, and Hong Kong University. Outside academia she has spent time as a visiting researcher at the International Monetary Fund and at the Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research. She is an Associate Fellow at Chatham House, London.


House of Finance, Goethe University, Campus Westend, Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 3, D-60323 Frankfurt am Main

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Slides © Catherine Schenk (PDF, 2558 KB)

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