Outside our first office is a large golden grasshopper with the date 1563 and the initials TG. Thomas Gresham was a financier and merchant by royal appointment of King Edward VI, the only son of Henry VIII (in fact Gresham was the merchant to all of the children of Henry VIII). Attributed to 'saving the pound' and more notably founding the Royal Exchange in 1571, Gresham left a legacy for the finance industry. The Royal Exchange is situated on Bank junction; again a stone's throw away from our offices. The Royal Exchange opened in 1666, was originally a purpose built stocks market, however by the time of its official opening in 1671 (by Queen Elizabeth I) it had shifted to solely exchanging goods (Commodities) such as fruits, meats and pelts. The stock brokers, having being ousted for their rowdy behaviour took their business and behaviour elsewhere, to Jonathan's Coffee-House. Jonathan's Coffee-House was almost directly within our old building, it was here that the prices of stocks and commodities were posted and represented the first systematic exchange of shares in England.
On the subject of coffee, directly opposite our Lombard Street office stood the Lloyd's coffee house, opened in 1648 it was a popular congregation point for ship-owners and merchants. Realising the rewards and the need for insurance for their voyages, Lloyds of London insurance firm was formed. Undoubtedly, it was Lloyds who insured the first voyages to China from England, establishing the first trade relationships with the orient. In 1557 the Portuguese established Macau, causing direct maritime trade for the UK to China to flourish, in fact, trade was so good that the British East India Company founded a trading post in Guangzhou. Lloyds moved to the Royal Exchange in 1669 after the building was rebuilt due to its collapse in the Great Fire of London.
In 2017 having outgrown Lombard Street Vibhs walked to the other side of the Royal, Exchange, just behind the Bank of England. We are now proud to call the TokenHouse our home. The name "Token House" arises from its original use as an office established on the site in 1636 issuing tokens. Tokens were small coins given by traders to customers prior to the introduction of low denomination copper coins; in England, the production of copper farthings was permitted by royal license in the first few decades of the 17th century. The token was in effect a pledge redeemable in goods but not necessarily for currency. These tokens never received official sanction from government but were accepted and circulated quite widely. These tokens were most commonly made of copper or brass, but pewter, lead and occasionally leather tokens are also found. Most were not given a specific denomination and were intended to pass as farthings, but there are also a large number of halfpenny and sometimes penny tokens. Thousands of these tokens were issued between 1648 and 1672, when official production of farthings resumed, and private production was suppressed.
Later the building was home to Cazenove Group who were HM the Queen's stockbrokers. The Board room or 'Senior Partners' Room' was once known in the City of London as "the centre of the universe".
Fast forward nearly 400 years, Lloyds coffee house is a supermarket, the Royal Exchange is a shopping mall, the Stocks Market is a road junction and The Token House is our home; although the methods of trading have changed, the fundamentals set by Gresham and his peers are still very much engrained within the city and VIBHS is privileged to now be a part of such a rich history.
By 2018, London had become the hub of the operation allowing Vibhs to service clients in Europe, Mena, Asia, and latterly globally.