Reference code(s): GB 0074 CLC/B/003
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
Title: ACCEPTING HOUSES COMMITTEE
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 161 production units.
Name of creator(s): Accepting Houses Committee x British Merchant Banking and Securities Houses Association
An Accepting House is a firm or company, an important part of whose business consists of accepting bills of exchange. Following the sudden outbreak of war in 1914, a large group of London merchant banks, heavily exposed to losses through customers in enemy countries not providing funds to meet acceptances when they fell due for payment, formed the Accepting Houses Committee. Its representations to the authorities assisted in the establishment of a moratorium on the payment of enemy bills. After the war, the Committee continued as a loose knit body represented by a small executive committee which met irregularly to discuss matters of mutual concern, in particular the Standstill arrangements concluded with Germany and other countries in the early 1930s. Its role was enhanced in 1936 when the British Government instituted a clearing for trade and payments between the United Kingdom and Spain. The Committee became the official liaison between the Government and Accepting Houses for making special arrangements for the clearing. On the outbreak of war in 1939, Exchange Control regulations were brought into force, and much of the administration was entrusted to the banking community including Accepting Houses. Membership of the Committee at this time meant that the member was automatically an authorised dealer in foreign exchange, and the need for an Accepting House to be a member of the Committee was almost a necessity. This led to a revision of the membership and by 1940 the Committee was fully representative of all Accepting Houses doing active business.
In 1939, the Accepting Houses Committee was reorganised into a body of 14 "recognised" merchant banks with the remaining members being categorised as "constituents". After the war, membership stabilised at 17 first class houses and no "constituents". Membership was by invitation, but an essential qualification was that members' bills had to be taken by the Bank of England at the finest discount rate. The Committee therefore became the forum and mouth piece of the City's most respected merchant banks. In 1988, its activities were merged with those of the Issuing Houses Association, with which it had shared premises and a small secretariat, resulting in the formation of the British Merchant Banking and Securities Houses Association. Further information about the history of Accepting Houses and the Accepting Houses Committee may be found in The Accepting Houses of London (CLC/B/003/MS29321) and in CLC/B/003/MS29325.
Until 1936, the Accepting Houses Committee did not have premises or staff of its own. From the formation of the Committee in 1914, Frederick Huth and Company had accommodated the Committee and provided, without charge, secretarial and other services. Frederick Huth Jackson was the person primarily responsible for bringing the Committee about and had been its first Chairman. In 1936 Frederick Huth and Company decided to transfer its business to the Overseas Bank Limited and withdraw these facilities. The Committee had to find premises, engage staff, and also set up a mechanism by which its constituents could bear the expenses of its work. The first premises were at 16 Bishopsgate where the Committee remained until 1959. Subsequent premises were as follows: 19 Fenchurch Street, 1959-63; St Albans House, Goldsmith Street, 1963-9; 20 Fenchurch Street, 1969-73; Roman Wall House, 1-2 Crutched Friars, 1973-81; and Granite House, 101 Cannon Street, 1981-8.
Scope and content/abstract:
The Accepting Houses Committee did not keep minutes of its meetings until 1920 "owing to the secrecy of many of the matters dealt with" (Ms 29295/1). Business was mainly carried out by the executive committee (Ms 29295), although annual general meetings were held for a short time, from 1939 to 1944 (Ms 29294). A number of standing and sub-committees were set up subsequently. The earliest was the Technical or Experts sub-committee in 1940 (Ms 29298); other committees, concerning such matters as export finance and computers, were established in the 1970s (Mss 29298-305).
Apart from minutes and associated papers, the main series of records of the Committee comprise reports and accounts (Mss 29306-7), circulars (Mss 29308-9) and membership files (Ms 29310). Among the remaining records (Mss 29311-327) there are a number of files relating to the role and future of the Committee at various points in its existence, and discussions about the criteria for membership.
Access to records less than 30 years old should be sought from the London Investment Banking Association (contact details may be obtained from staff).
ACCESS AND USE
Language/scripts of material: English
System of arrangement:
Records arranged by MS number, assigned during cataloguing at the Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section.
Conditions governing access:
Access by appointment only. Please contact staff.
Conditions governing reproduction:
Copyright to this collection rests with the depositor.
Please see online catalogues at: http://search.lma.gov.uk/opac_lma/index.htm
Immediate source of acquisition:
The records were deposited in the Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library by the British Merchant Banking and Securities Houses Association on 16 May 1994. The Association changed its name to the London Investment Banking Association from 1 July 1994. The Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section merged with the London Metropolitan Archives in 2009.
The Association retains its more recent records. No other records are known to exist.
Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.
Date(s) of descriptions: November 2010 to January 2011.