Simon English: All is gloom as the City is no longer so slick

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The Independent Online

Outlook: It's dicey in the City. Clients don't want to trade, and nearly everyone is worried for their job.

The picture is particularly acute at the small and mid-sized firms that make up the heart of the Square Mile – stockbroking houses with storied pasts that it would be a shame to see disappear. Some of them are surely going to, either by closure or merger.

"Everyone is talking to everyone," is how one broking chief put it to me.

Panmure Gordon was said to be selling itself to Cenkos. They did have talks, I'm told, albeit a while ago.

Expect deals before long.

A trading update from Charles Stanley yesterday wasn't terrible, but it shows how tight things are. Revenues in the third quarter fell by £5m to £27.3m.

The language was gloomy. Downward pressures. Difficult markets. That means no bonuses, sorry chaps.

If you want to think that these City types have got it coming, then that's perfectly understandable. But the lads at Charles Stanley and Panmure Gordon no more caused the financial crisis than did nurses.

s.english@independent.co.uk

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