Willy again

Investment banking is another world. Nor are its denizens interested in creating wealth on the ground in Britain.

That\’s because The City of London is the home of the investment bankers to the world. You know, that international division and specialisation of labour thing?

To promote social mobility, we need to create a more dynamic capitalism so that more firms can grow together with their people. Alongside it, we need a social contract that equips people, especially our young, to make the most of their capabilities. Only then might the gap between the social groups be narrowed to allow more people to move up, and also create a society in which we live more fulfilled lives, surely a broader conception of social wellbeing than just mobility alone.

Err, yes. The City being one of those dynamic industries.

10 thoughts on “Willy again”

  1. Will Hutton used to be an “investment banker” as they are now called. He worked as an equity salesman for a stockbroker for about three years after leaving university before going to INSEAD to study for an MBA. He may (or may not) be commenting on his own attitude as a young man but his claim to be an expert on the thoughts of the current generation of investment bankers more than thirty years after he quit his job is straining credibility.

  2. I have just spent a week selling a corporate bond to the bankers of the City, the Gnomes of Zurich and the Burghers of Frankfurt, after a 2 month preparation period.

    It was an eye opener. The skills and experience available to anyone willing to pay the price is astounding. We walked away with hundreds of millions of dollars, at a very reasonable price, thanks to the help of the much maligned investment bankers. In the process I am sure that they made themselves a good living.

    All of the people I met were out to make money. None were thinking about the good of society. Yet the result was everyone walked away happy, and we have cash to invest in our business.

    Adam Smith described this process sooooo long ago, and twats like Hutton still have not managed to catch up.

    I don’t work for a British company, nor will the money be invested in Britain. But most of it didn’t come from Britain either, and the same service is available to domestic companies as well.

  3. “equip people, especially our young, to make the most of their capabilities”

    That of course would require an education system that taught them useful skills (starting with reading and writing) rather than the Guardian-supported system that we now have.

  4. The City being one of those dynamic industries.

    And also a surprisingly egalitarian one. Yes, there are private banks which can be remarkably snobbish – even private investment banks. But the big players don’t care. They want talent. And they don’t give a shit whether it is Eton & Oxbridge, bog-standard comp and local poly, black, white, hetero or homo etc, etc.

  5. ….And also a surprisingly egalitarian one…..

    Its also one where being different is a bonus. The City has to be the most cosmopolitan place on the face of the earth. It is the perfect melting pot, completely international in outlook, its what the lefties have dreamt of ;). Now its here, they don’t like it.

  6. SE

    The big players’ definition of “talent” is similar to Humpty Dumpty’s definition of “glory”.

  7. @ Frances
    If you can stand my agreement with you …
    Yes
    But I’ve talked to and worked with a number of smaller players where it means being able to design a solution that benefits both parties.

  8. So Much For Subtlety

    There is an issue here but of course Willy misses it completely. The US Top Twenty and Hundred companies are dominated by new start ups. The same is not true of Europe. It is not even true of Britain. Apart from mobile phone companies there are remarkably few new faces in European stock exchanges.

    Young Euroepans are either not starting new companies or they are not succeeding in breaking into the oligarchy. I suspect a little of both. No doubt lending practices has some small part to play in that, but I doubt it is the fault of the City – government regulation is more likely. The faults are more likely to be failed education systems that do not prepare young people for real work and a cultural expectation that others will care for us.

  9. Failed education systems seem an unlikely reason, given that the US education system is at least as failed (according to the measures used by people who like to prove that the sky is falling) as those in Europe.

    I’m also sceptical of the startups-on-equity-markets claim. Of the top 30 US companies as of the March 2012 FT500 by market cap, six could plausibly be classed as startups (Apple, Microsoft, Google, Intel, Qualcomm, Cisco). Which yes, beats Europe’s one (SAP), but it’s still only 20%.

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