Under the agreement reached in 1983 between The Stock Exchange and the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, The Stock Exchange undertook to abandon minimum commissions before the end of 1986. Since then much progress has been made in designing appropriate new trading systems for equities and gilts and in developing the necessary technology to support them. The last major subject to be tackled has been the future constitution of The Stock Exchange. In a poll of members taken following an Extraordinary General Meeting in early June there was a very large majority in favour of allowing non-members to own up to 100% of a member firm. However, a resolution approving arrangements to ensure that ownership of the Exchange would in due course pass from the individual members to member firms narrowly failed to gain the requisite 75% majority. Nevertheless, the way is in principle now clear for the consummation of the various arrangements under which outside institutions have taken minority interests in Stock Exchange member firms with the intention of increasing them, and in most cases of proceeding to full or majority ownership, once the Stock Exchange rules permit. The relevant rule changes are expected to come into effect in March 1986. The period from now until the abolition of minimum commissions and the introduction of the new trading system later in 1986 is likely to be one of increasing tension in The Stock Exchange. The Bank continues to attach considerable importance to an orderly process of change and to the preservation of the standards of regulation, efficiency and liquidity which a good central market can provide.