This move demonstrates an exciting new chapter for Harris Allday in the city. Having been based in the current building for over 50 years we took the opportunity to speak to colleagues, who have shared stories of life in the Birmingham Stock Exchange and at Harris Allday.
Investment Manager Steve Wragg, who has worked in the building for 47 years, started his financial services career in 1976, and in 1986 who became the youngest member of the Stock Exchange outside of London. Steve built up his client base during the late 80’s at which time he gave up his dealing duties to concentrate on managing portfolios. Sue Bickerstaff, who works for Harris Allday as a Senior Investment Assistant in the Birmingham team started her career in 1978, joining the stockbroking firm Roy James & Co who were based on the first floor of the Stock Exchange Building as office junior. In 1984 she was the first woman to go out on the trading floor in over a century.
The Birmingham Stock Exchange opened in 1845 and was one of several exchanges that were set up in 19th century Birmingham. Members of the Exchange were based in Great Charles Street from 1928 onwards, and it was absorbed into the London Stock Exchange in 1971 before its ultimate demise in 1986 after the ‘Big Bang’ led to the privatisation of the London Stock Exchange and the traditional trading floor replaced by digitalisation.
Historically, the ground floor and basement were home to the main Birmingham Stock Exchange functions, with an HMRC stamp duty office around the corner on Edmund Street. Steve told us that “Juniors like myself and Sue ran between the two, getting paperwork stamped and would then return to the office / trading floor.”
The ground floor of Great Charles Street was the trading floor, where dealers would have their broker boxes. Harris Allday stockbroking teams were based on the 2nd and 4th floor, with competitor stockbrokers also based in the building & on the 5th floor were the ‘Jobbers’ - firms who held shares on their own account, making a market by buying and selling securities and matching buyers and sellers. The Birmingham Stock Exchange specialised in dealing in shares of businesses based around the West Midlands many of which highlighted the industrial heritage of the Midlands.
The Stock Exchange Committee met on the upper ground floor in a wood panelled committee room, containing a substantial meeting room table and walls covered with oil paintings of previous Chairmen.
There are many stories that colleagues past and present can share, along with members of the Birmingham Stock Exchange Association.
Sue added: “It was somewhat daunting being the first woman on the Birmingham trading floor in the mid 80’s but I was met with a lot of warmth and support from my fellow dealers. I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the trading floor, made some good friends and met some wonderful characters. It really will be the end of an era when Harris Allday, the only remaining Stockbroker in the Stock Exchange building leave for pastures new but we are all very excited about the move to 103 Colmore Row and will have very fond memories of the ‘old building’.”
Whilst we are sad to leave our historic building, our colleagues are looking forward to moving to high specification new offices, supporting the growth of EFG Harris Allday.