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Britain banking and financial institutions
Dátum pridania: 28.04.2008 Oznámkuj: 12345
Autor referátu: jahvoodka
Jazyk: Angličtina Počet slov: 1 425
Referát vhodný pre: Vysoká škola Počet A4: 5.4
Priemerná známka: 2.98 Rýchle čítanie: 9m 0s
Pomalé čítanie: 13m 30s

Britain is the world’s leading financial centre and the home of thriving international banking and financial markets. The City of London’s historical ‘square mile’ holds the greatest concentration of banks lending. It also accommodates the world’s largest insurance and reinsurance industry and one of the world’s largest stock exchanges. Between them, Britain’s financial, commodities and futures markets are responsible for the lion’s share of international business.


Banking and financial market operations in Britain involve a number of special institutions and financial markets which, as a result of deregulation and new legislative frameworks, are increasingly integrating. Many banking and financial institutions are unique to Britain and offer highly specialised services to individuals, companies and sovereingn bodies all over the world.

The Bank of England

The Bank of England is Britain’s central bank. It is banker to the commercial banks and to the Government; manager of the National Debt; ‘lender of last resort’; regulator of monetary and credit conditions; and supervisor of the banking system.

Commercial Banks

Are institutions authorised under the Banking Act 1987 as deposit-taking institutions involved in the classic banking business of taking deposits and lending money, both in the retail and wholesale markets. In July 1992 there were 512 authorised banks including retail banks, merchant banks, branches of overseas banks, discount houses and banking subsidiaries of both banking and nonbanking institutions from Britain and overseas.

Retail Banks

Retail banks primarily serve individuals and small to medium-sized businesses. The major retail banks operate through more than 13,000 branches offering cash deposit and withdrawal facilities and systems for transferring funds. They provide current account facilities, including interest-bearing accounts; deposit accounts; various types of loan arrangement; and offer on extending range of financial services.

Building Societies

Building societies started in the late 18th century to pool money to build houses and to buy land. They currently compete with the retail banks to attract savings from, and provide mortgage finance for, the personal sector. They hold more savings than the other deposit-taking institutions. They are ‘mutual’ institutions, owned by their savers and borrowers.

International Banks

Incude branches of foreign banks in Britain. The majority are based in London, including Moscow Norodny Bank, Bank of China and 33 Japanese Banks. Citibank of the US is the largest of the 48 banks from the US based in Britain.

Merchant Banks

Traditionally important roles of merchant banks were helping foreign government to raise loans and accepting Bills of Exchange. Today involved in a range of services including corporate finance, foreign exchange dealings and securities trading.

National Savings

National Savings aids government borrowing via a range of savings instruments such as fixed interest and index-linked Savings Certificates, FIRST Option Bonds and Premium Bonds. Part of National Savings, the National Savings Banks, formerly the Post Office Savings Bank until 1969, was set up in 1861 offering deposit services to customers through some 20,000 Post Office branches. It does not operate in the same way as a retail bank or building society.

Discount Houses

The discount houses are unique to Britain and occupy a central position in the British monetary system. They act as intermediaries between the Bank of England and the rest of the banking sector promoting an orderly flow of funds between the authorities and the banks.

Investing Institutions

The investing institutions collect savings draw from the personal sector and invest them in securities and other assets. The main investment institutions are insurance companies together with insurance broking firms, pension funds, unit trusts and investment trusts.

Special Financial Institutions

There are a number of different special financial institutions operating in both the public and private sectors offering loan finance and equity capital. In the private sector they include finance houses; specialist leasing houses; factoring companies and venture capital companies, each providing an alternative to retail bank funding.

The Financial Markets

The City of London has long been the nexus of international activity in a number of highly organised financial markets. These include the London Stock Exchange, the sterling money and bond markets; the foreign exchange markets; eurocurrency market; financial futures; bullion; commodities; shipping and freight.


Britain’s banks and financial institutions are ultimately regulated by government through the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Acts of Parliament. Emphasis is placed on self-regulation rather than statutory control through powers delegated by the DTI to the Securities and Investments Board and the various Self-Regulatory Organisations. A separate authority, the Serious Fraud Office, deals with cases of serious or complex fraud.

New Legislation

During the second half of the 1980s, three Acts of Parliament were introduced to upgrade the framework in which Britain’s banks and financial institutions operate: the Financial Services Act 1986; the Building Societies Act 1987. The new Acts also brought Britain into line with certain European Community directives on banking, building societies, investment services and the trading of securities.


The Bank of England is one of the oldest central banks, founded as a corporate body by an Act of Parliament in 1694. It started as a commercial bank with private shareholders. Although it was not brought into state ownership until 1946 the Bank had by then long behaved as a public institution carrying out public functions.

The Bank’s principal functions are carried out with three main objectives:

·to maintain the value of the nation’s money
·to ensure the soundness of the financial system
·to promote the efficiency and competitiveness of the system

The Bank`s principal functions include the following activities:

·serving special customers
·managing the national debt
·implementing monetary policy
·control and supervision
·note issues.
·dealings on the money market
·the discount houses


The major retail banks in Britain offer the full range of financial services to individuals and companies through more than 12,500 branches. The four largest banks are Barclays, National Westminster, Midland and Lloyds. Other major British banks are the Bank of Scotland, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Chartered.


Building societies originated in the late 18th century as one of a number of former ‘friendly’ societies. The first known society was Richard Ketley’s in Birmingham started in 1775. Their traditional sole purpose was to collect money in the form of interest-bearing deposits in order to lend long-term funds to their members for the purchase of their homes. Members deposits a proportion of their wages with their societies and were able to borrow money for the purchase of their home, repaying the principal amount over a period of years in addition to a specified amount of interest. The four largest building societies are the Halifax, Nationwide, Woolwich, Alliance and Leicester, Leeds Permanent, Cheltenbam, Gloucester, the first four of which account for over 50 per cent of the total assets of all societies.


There were 255 branches of foreign banks operating in Britain in July 1992, the bulk of which are located in London. They employ over 65,000 people and provide comprehensive banking services in many parts of the world, financing trade between Britain and other countries and between third parties overseas.


The traditional role of merchant banks was to accept bills of exchange to provide funds for trade and raise capital through the issue of bonds and other securities. Nowdays, merchant banks are more involved in providing a range of professional services, such as corporate finance and investment management.


The institutions include insurance companies, pension funds, investment trusts and unit trusts. They account for a vast resource of funds which are invested in securities and other assets.


Various special financial institutions provide finance to both the personal and corporate borrowed sector. In general they offer alternative, flexible funding to that offered by banks and building societies. Among the public sector agencies are the British Technology Group; the Scottish and Welsh Development Board in Northern Ireland etc. The main private sector institutions are the following: finance houses; leasing companies; factoring companies; venture capital companies.

For customers Finance houses provide hire purchase, revolving credit and credit card facilities. For the corporate sector they provide leasing, hire purchase and a variety of business loans.


The London Stock Exchange operates in three principal markets:

·domestic equities including the listed market of large corporation and well established companies and the Unlisted Securities Market.
·gilt-edged stock The Government meets its Public Sector Borrowing Requirement predominantly by issues of gift-edged stocks, or ‘gilts’. These are issued through the Bank of England and traded in a secondary market through the Exchange.
·international equities

The following markets are also regarded a part of the British financial markets system: money markets, parallel markets, Eurocurrency market, Foreign Exchange Market, financial futures and trade optisions market, the London bullion market and comodities, shipping and freight market.

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