James Ashton: Bankers toiling in these dog days will be wagging their tails at bonus time

The whodunnit 'Broadchurch' was praised for its ‘restrained approach’

Time was that lunch with a top City banker in August might involve a trip to St Tropez or St Lucia. Not this week. I found one hunkered down in the office where he plans to be most of the month, plotting an autumn assault on the markets. Recent trading figures from Wall Street banks suggest it’s a case of “financial crisis, what financial crisis?” Unlike the changes in personnel, strategy and capital requirements that British banks have been undergoing, they are powering ahead again as if the credit crunch never happened.

A healthy dose of realism helps. The most successful lenders do not expect anything like the returns on equity they enjoyed in the boom years. Instead, they are planning for little or no top-line growth this year and are scrapping for market share in everything from foreign exchange to merger advice.

Bonus rules from Brussels mean that, to make up the difference, there is a rising tide in basic salaries, as flagged by HSBC last week, which means that middling performers are getting paid more than management would like.

Smartphones mean it is not just the top executives who are never really on holiday any more. The sad truth is that those who don’t even board the plane and instead put the hours in during the dog days of summer will reap the rewards come the winter bonus round.

Global hub London must  help the high-fliers

It has been a useful week to catch up on chief executives who spend only a fraction of their time in London. We talk proudly about the capital as home to global businesses, but rarely consider what that entails.

David Levin, the boss of trade shows organiser UBM, was just back from two weeks in China and preparing to set off for Brazil. He gets to America at least once a month, too. UBM has come a long way from Labour peer Lord Hollick’s empire that straddled all sorts of assets, including the Daily Express and Exchange and Mart. Now Mr Levin’s biggest hub of operations is Shanghai.

There was a similar jet-setting story for Julian Roberts at financial services group Old Mutual, a business whose roots lie in Africa. He has travelled more in the first seven months of this year than in the whole of 2012. Two days after we had lunch, he was preparing for a flight to Kenya.

It is gratifying to hear first-hand how London maintains its role as a handy node from which to run global affairs. But it makes you think how much the Government, whose handling of the economy is gaining business supporters thanks to a string of rosy indicators, needs to crack the south-east’s aviation problem if it is to stay on the right side of leaders who take the world view.

Even superhero Carney should be challenged

People who barely gave central bankers a second glance have been entranced by Mark Carney, even down to his on-trend smart casual look, which had more than a passing resemblance to what David Cameron has been spotted wearing this summer – with less successful results. So for anyone to go against the new superhero Bank of England Governor came as a shock. It caused all the bigger tremor  because the dissent surrounded Mr Carney’s grand plan of issuing forward guidance that will keep interest rates low until unemployment falls.

If the experts in Threadneedle Street don’t all think it’s a good idea, then why should the markets, which are convinced interest rates will rise earlier than the Bank has suggested, buy it? I think a contrary voice on the Monetary Policy Committee in the shape of Martin Weale is a good thing, if it gives the inflation worriers their own pin-up.

This economic feelgood factor is all very well. But feeling good thanks to a great summer of sport, the royal baby and sunny weather is prone to dispel when consumers examine their shrinking pay packets each month. Yes, the jobless count is a better bellwether to follow, but the price of getting Britain back to work seems to be little or no increase in wages, which won’t keep us ticking over for long.

ITV is making dramatic waves across the Pond

Something remarkable happened in the pages of the zeitgeisty New Yorker. Not just a review of an ITV drama, but a positive one. The arts and culture weekly praised the bleak murder whodunnit Broadchurch, airing on BBC America, for its “restrained approach, along the lines of an Agatha Christie novel”.

That the broadcaster is gaining a reputation for its drama at home has been helped by the BBC and Channel 4’s misfiring output. Winning plaudits abroad plays to boss Adam Crozier’s ambition to create exportable hits, which has fired up the share price.

It is worth pointing out that the Beeb’s commercial arm is a useful showcase for programming from across Britain’s production industry. Also that Broadchurch was made by Kudos, ultimately owned by 21st Century Fox, so not the money-spinner for Mr Crozier it would have been if ITV’s production arm was responsible. Still, the broadcaster is making waves in America in a way it didn’t do a few years ago.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Sport
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Marketing Executive - B2B - OTE £25,000

£17000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity to join this new...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £21000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Recruitment Genius: Business Control Manager

£36000 - £44000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Encouraging more businesses to ...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower