Ask a foreigner to name the most quintessentially British
institutions and, next to the monarchy, Beefeaters and London Red Buses,
he or she is likely to cite the London Stock Exchange, and associated
City institutions - an unfortunate perception given the LSE's stated
desire to dominate the European marketplace.
In fact, in tackling the transformation of the LSE's image, one of
Financial Dynamics' most urgent tasks will be to cast off its unerring
domestic associations and the air of complacency. For too long the LSE
has lived off the glories of its 200-year history.
The failed merger with Deutsche Borse, and even the failed takeover
attempt by Sweden's OM group have only succeeded in underlining the
LSE's relative isolation.
There is now a greater willingness to embrace the new technologies that
have in recent years given the European exchanges such a head start and
blocked certain alliances.
And the LSE is finally shaking off its seeming reluctance to market its
offerings, with a series of roadshows aimed at encouraging overseas
funds to invest in companies listed on techMark and AIM.
But there lingers a perception of the LSE as an antiquated 'old boys
club', rife with factionalism.
The LSE's latest CEO Clara Furse has already broken with tradition by
the sheer fact of being female, but there are plenty of other sacred
cows that need to be sacrificed before the LSE is perceived as a
commercially managed business run for the benefit of its shareholders