Share Prices & Company Research


23 March 2023

50 Years of Women at the London Stock Exchange – Judith’s Story

Opening doors for women in finance

Judith Ullock will attend a lunch this week to mark 50 years of women at the London Stock Exchange. She was one of the first women employed as a stockbroker at Redmayne Bentley, although she was initially interested in being a detective after taking her exams with the Metropolitan Police.

While waiting for an opening with the Force, she was contacted by one of her tutors who thought her studies in Business and Company Law made her an ideal choice for Redmayne Bentley. She never looked back and found she loved working at the firm so much that she later turned down a job offer to be a police officer.

She loves sport and has represented her local hockey and tennis clubs and is an ECB qualified cricket coach. In this article, Judith, who now works as Learning and Development Manager, shares her thoughts on her career journey.

1: When did you first begin working in the stock exchange and where were you based? Did you realise you were a trailblazer and were there any challenges?

I first started working for Redmayne Bentley in September of 1985 and qualified as a stockbroker in 1990 after spending time in various operations departments. When I started at Redmayne Bentley, I was employee number 13, unlucky for some, some would say but, for me, it has led to over a 37-year career with Redmayne Bentley. There were already three females in the Dealing Room at the time. Redmayne Bentley has always been a forward-thinking firm and has always been fully supportive of women in financial services.

The challenges were outside of the firm’s four walls, as I immediately noticed the gender disparities as there were higher numbers of men compared to women. 

2: What role did Redmayne Bentley play? 

They were pivotal in me becoming a stockbroker. They made not only me, but also my fellow female colleagues, strong and capable women, giving us the confidence to succeed resulting in me becoming an Equities, Overseas and Derivatives dealer, which I loved.

3: Do you have any standout memories of those early days?

There were many standout moments at the time. It was good to conquer a field once dominated by men. 
I also remember the Big Bang – October 1986 – the day the stock market was deregulated, and the London Stock Exchange became a private limited company. This resulted in the removal of fixed commission charges and the switch from open outcry to electronic trading.

I was also lucky enough to spend a day on the trading floor of the Stock Exchange, the main location for market transactions. The buzz I got from just walking out onto the floor will stay with me forever. It was certainly male dominated, but they made us feel very welcome. To an outsider it looked all a little chaotic, but it was great to get to know how they executed the deals.

Transactions undertaken in the pit, as it was called, were all undertaken by hand signals and verbal communication. It was great learning all the hand signals. For instance, you would signal with your palms facing outwards, away from the body to indicate to others that you wanted to sell a security.

I still have a black and white photo of the Jobbers Box; we used on the floor of the Exchange. We would ring orders down to our Jobber, who would then get all the prices we needed and report back. 

Electronic trading systems that were introduced reduced costs, eliminating the possibility of manipulation and unscrupulous brokers. It also gave individuals like me the opportunity to conduct our own trades via the electronic trading platforms.

4: If you could pick one thing that has really changed for the better since those days what would it be?

The fact that there are now equal opportunities for female brokers and more openings for women in general today, right across the entire financial services. 

People think differently nowadays, and it is a different, better world.

5: Would you encourage other women to follow you and consider a career in stockbroking? If so, why, and do you have any advice or guidance for women who do? 

I would definitely encourage women to follow me and consider a career in stockbroking. It requires great responsibility, but it is an exciting industry to be in and each day is different and challenging, which adds to the excitement. It is a thriving career for many women and there is no longer anything intimidating about being a female stockbroker. All you need is diligence, a good understanding of the financial markets and to be a people person. 

My advice would be GO FOR IT! When markets rapidly fall or rise, you need to keep focused and confident and have good communication skills, especially when dealing with clients who are panicking in the moment. If you are an individual that is resilient and remains calm under pressure you will succeed.
50 Years of Women at the London Stock Exchange – Judith’s Story
We offer complimentary investment publications produced by our in-house Investment Research team. Please click here to view our range.