AMY BELL 1859 – 1920
Although women weren’t admitted to the London Stock Exchange until 1973, Beatrice Gordon Holmes, (1884-1951), is widely credited with being Britain’s first female stockbroker. Beatrice overcame a poor background and lack of education to head her own finance company and she became a stockbroker in 1921.
Beatrice argued that women had a distinctive contribution to make to business and she dedicated much of her energies to the suffragette movement and to promoting women in business.
However, a woman was working as a stockbroker in the nineteenth century and that woman was Amy Elizabeth Bell.
From her childhood in Bristol, Amy Bell was interested in money and the ways of the money markets.
Interviewed in 1895 for a book of conversations with professional women Amy explained that no-one in her family had been involved in stockbroking, they were surgeons and public servants. Amy had established her own business after an education at University College, Bristol; Goldsmiths’ College London; and Newnham College, Cambridge.
Amy explained that in her opinion the main qualifications for a successful stockbroker was a strong interest in the affairs of the world and sympathy with individuals.
Although she had some male clients, the majority of investors advised by Amy were women.
Amy’s offices were at 1, Russell Chambers, Bury Street, Bloomsbury where she employed a secretary to assist her.