Define: Big Bang

Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Big Bang



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Full Definition of Big Bang


Sometimes described as the biggest deregulation of the London stock market in modern times, ‘Big Bang’ took place in October 1986. At the time:

  • ‘screen-based’ computer trading was widely introduced (within a short time it had superseded floor trading)
  • Big banks rushed to purchase stockbroking firms (sending a lot of old men back to their retirement homes very wealthy !).

Meanwhile, jobbers, a sort of greengrocer but selling shares, not fruit and veg, were done away with. They were replaced by market makers who perform a similar but not exact role.

If ‘Big Bang’ was the revolution which changed the face of the ‘front end’ of the stockbroking business (the bit the private investor sees), then ten years later came the wholescale shake-up of the ‘back office’. This second revolution has started the process of doing away with paper in the share settlement process.

The launch of computerised share settlement using the Crest system was launched in July 1996. Then in October 1997, came Big Bang 2.


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Definition Sources


Definitions for Big Bang are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 15th February, 2020