The Business on: Nick Anstee, Lord Mayor of London
Tuesday 05 October 2010
I thought that blond bloke with the bikes ran our capital city?
You're talking about Boris Johnson: he's the Mayor of London, not the Lord Mayor, which is the job of our friend Mr Anstee. It's an honorific really, a posh title for the head of the City of London Corporation.
Is he the one who dresses up in that funny gold chain?
If you're referring to the Collar of Esses, have a little more respect – it has been worn by the Lord Mayor since the 14th century. And his job has a little more to it: to promote the businesses and the people of the City of London. These days, that mostly means representing the interests of the financial services sector.
A tougher gig than it might first appear then?
Indeed. There was a time when the Lord Mayor, who serves a one-year term, simply scoffed banquets and hosted the Lord Mayor's Show. Mr Anstee, by contrast, has to keep standing up for the bankers against the tide of public opinion.
What's his strategy?
Well, he keeps making speechesbegging people to go easier on the banks. But not too many peopleoutside of the City are sympathetic, so yesterday he summoned some of London's most senior bankers for a powwow on how to fix their image.
What does he suggest – smaller bonuses and more lending?
Was that a pig I just saw fly past the Lord Mayor's Mansion House home?
But that's why people get so cross about the bankers.
Maybe, but Mr Anstee is a staunch defender of bankers' bonuses and thinks there's a danger of over-regulating the City in response to the financial crisis. Still, he does want the City to work harder at addressing the negative way in which it is perceived.
Is he the man for the job?
It's hard to imagine who could rescue the banks' image just now. But Mr Anstee reeks of the City establishment – he's an accountant who now works as a partner at the law firm SJ Berwin. Don't bet on him restoring the City's reputation overnight.
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