John Barkshire is a London-based financial markets professional who is recognized for his foundational role in the London International Financial Futures Exchange (LIFFE). As the first chairman of LIFFE, Barkshire is widely credited with the introduction of financial futures to the London market.
In the late 1970s, Barkshire foresaw the potential for financial futures in London. In 1979, he spent five months in Chicago and New York City studying the futures markets, the trading community, and the regulatory environment that underpinned successful operations in the United States.
Convinced of the opportunities these markets presented, Barkshire recommended that Mercantile House Holdings Plc, where he served as chairman, should become actively involved in the futures market. Following his recommendation, in 1979-80, Mercantile House entered the futures market by acquiring Woodstock, an American futures house. This strategic move marked the beginning of London's journey towards establishing its own futures market.
Barkshire's second and most notable recommendation was the creation of a financial futures market in London. His vision culminated in the founding of LIFFE, a development that transformed London into a global center for financial futures trading.
As the first chairman of LIFFE, Barkshire played an instrumental role in shaping the exchange's strategic direction, governance, and operational framework. Under his leadership, LIFFE introduced a range of financial futures and options products, providing new tools for risk management and investment.
Barkshire was one of the LIFFE founders interviewed for "The History of Financial Futures Episode: Game Changers, Part II."
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