View from City Road: Liffe outgrows its environment

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The Independent Online
London's futures and options exchange has taken over the public role of the old Stock Exchange as the place where the cameras go for a bit of trading action. But it is easy to forget amid the excitement that this is one of the City's fastest-growing and most successful market places, with a 42 per cent increase in contracts traded last year to 101.875 million.

Liffe has spurred Paris and Frankfurt to try harder, but it remains Europe's top futures and options exchange and third in the world. And, unlike the shadowy over-the-counter options contracted between individual banks and financial institutions - where it is hard for regulators to know what is going on - Liffe is a transparent market and appears effectively supervised.

With this rate of growth the biggest question mark over Liffe must be how much longer it can fit into its new building at Cannon Bridge by the Thames. Decisions about a move to still bigger premises may be forced upon the market faster than expected.

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