An overview of London Stock Exchange

Contributor: London Stock Exchange |

London Stock Exchange is one of the world’s oldest stock exchanges and can trace its history back to the coffee houses of 17th century London. For many decades, London Stock Exchange provided a trading floor where members could buy and sell shares. Today, share trading is almost entirely done electronically and London Stock Exchange offers this service with state-of-the-art systems that can process over a million trades per day. 

London Stock Exchange enables companies and governments from around the world to issue securities such as shares or bonds to raise capital. Those securities can then be accessed and traded by thousands of investors, ranging from large financial institutions to private individuals. It  is also responsible for supplying high-quality prices, news and other information to the financial community, for the UK community and across the world. 

Below you can learn more about our flagship markets. You can also search thousands of securities with our Price Explorer service.


Main Market

More than 1,000 companies operating in over 60 countries and representing 40 sectors fund their expansion and create new jobs by accessing the deepest pool of capital in Europe. This is done through the listing of equity, debt and other securities.

The performance of the Main Market is measured by several indexes which track company performance. The FTSE 100 index is seen as the global benchmark of the largest Premium-listed companies. The FTSE 250 Index is made up of the next largest 250 companies by value, with the Small Cap Index comprising those outside the top 350.



Since its launch in 1995, AIM has become the most successful growth market in the world. More than 3,800 of the world’s most exciting and innovative growing companies have joined the market to gain access to equity finance and fund further expansion.

In the past 25 years, over £115 billion of growth finance has been raised by AIM companies– much of it from private investors – to support their growth plans. This capital helps to fund innovation, create jobs and boost the global economy.

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What are stocks and shares?

Contributor: London Stock Exchange |

When you trade on our markets you invest in specific securities, such as shares. London Stock Exchange offers trading shares in companies, from the very biggest to those showing potential for rapid growth. Shares, which are also known as equities, are the basic unit of investment i

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What should you consider before investing?

Contributor: London Stock Exchange |

Financial markets provide a marketplace for you to buy and sell assets like shares, bonds, currencies, derivatives and even physical products like commodities. London Stock Exchange offers a marketplace for those securities.


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Why investing matters?

Contributor: London Stock Exchange |

Everyone has financial goals. You may want to fund your retirement, help your children with their education or with important life events, such as buying a home.

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Investing in assets such as company shares offers you the potential

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This publication does not constitute an offer to buy or sell, or a solicitation of an offer to sell, any securities, or the solicitation of a proxy, by any person in any jurisdiction who is not qualified to do so, or to any person to whom it is unlawful to make such an offer or solicitation.

Information in this publication is provided ‘as is’ and London Stock Exchange plc (the “Exchange”) does not make any representations and disclaims to the extent permitted by law all express, implied and statutory warranties of any kind in relation to this publication, including warranties as to accuracy, timeliness, completeness, performance or fitness for a particular purpose.

The Exchange does not undertake any liability for the results of any action taken or omitted on the basis of the information in this communication. Information is not offered as advice on any particular matter and must not be treated as a substitute for specific advice. In particular, information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax, regulatory, professional, financial or investment advice. Advice from a suitably qualified professional should always be sought in relation to any particular matter or circumstances.